Ubuntu looks to open-source applications to boost its server business

Ubuntu wants to build its server business with open-source applications. Could Red Hat and Novell also benefit?

The VAR Guy has the scoop on some upcoming Ubuntu news: Ubuntu and Openbravo are teaming up to help push Ubuntu into the enterprise.

Now, Canonical is seeking killer server applications for Ubuntu. MySQL, the open-source database now owned by Sun, has backed Ubuntu quite a bit. And now Openbravo is joining the party...Smart move by Canonical and Openbravo. CIOs, midmarket IT managers, and solutions providers don't care much about server operating systems. It's all about the applications.

I agree, and so do Red Hat and Novell, which built their formidable server businesses by focusing on applications.

It's interesting, however, where Canonical/Ubuntu is focused. It started with some select, big-name partnerships with IBM and others, and is now focused on shoring up that story with open-source applications. Openbravo is the first to leak, but there are others in the works.

For those of us on the open-source application side of the market, we're looking for good foundations upon which to build our businesses. Red Hat was first with RHX, but Novell has also been friendly with open-source applications. But both of these vendors make most of their money from integration with proprietary applications that they certify.

Could a sustained, concerted effort from Ubuntu displace these two in the affections of the open-source ecosystem? Definitely maybe. Does it matter? I'm not sure. Not in the short term, but in the long run?

What is clear is that Ubuntu has room to grow on the server, and even relatively small sell-through with open-source applications is a step in the right direction.


Disclosure: I'm an adviser to Openbravo, but The VAR Guy still beat me to the information...again. :-)

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About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.

     

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