Ubuntu on a partnering spree
Canonical, commercial sponsor of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, has expanded its partner program with an the aim of expanding into the enterprise market. An announcement with IBM will have Canonical distributing IBM's collaboration software through the Ubuntu "partner" repositories, but IBM isn't the only new partner.
Alfresco Software, developer of the Alfresco content management platform who recently announced Alfresco Labs 3, has partnered with Ubuntu to put a prebuilt version of Alfresco Labs 3 into the Ubuntu partner repository. This will allow users with a few clicks, or a simple
apt-get command, to install a full installation of the system, with all dependencies and drivers automatically installed. "Ubuntu is fast becoming the new star of Linux", said Alfresco's VP Alliances, Martin Musierowicz, "We’re delighted to be driving the growing trend towards easy to install and easy to manage open source products." Ubuntu plans to deliver a pre-packaged enterprise version of Alfresco later in the year.
Ubuntu also announced a partnership with Unison, maker of a proprietary platform which combines telephony, email, instant messaging and PBX functions in a single server. To date, the Unison client only ran on Windows, but Unison also announced that a beta version of its Linux client has just been made available. Unlike Alfresco, Unison is made with open source code, but isn't open source itself. The partnership in this case will place Unison's client and server offerings in the Ubuntu Online store where it is expected to retail for $50 per user and $36,000 for a unlimited user server licence.
Heise online UK talked to Gerry Carr, marketing manager at Canonical, and asked if the longer term aim was to orient the partner programme specifically towards the enterprise. "No, the idea and increasingly the reality is that Ubuntu is a platform across desktop and server. And on top of that platform we will continue to add products and make partnerships with organisations that serve differing parts of the user base." Carr went on to give an example, "So, today we will announce Zimbra Desktop for example and we intend to add the server product in the future. The reason we have both server and desktop products is so that we can deliver full, I hate to use the word but I will, 'solutions' to users as individuals and businesses. An open platform needs to be pervasive."