System76, one of the best-known providers of Ubuntu systems, recently introduced new servers certified to run the operating system. Works With U caught up with System76 President Carl Richell to discuss his views on the Ubuntu server market. The following interview -- more of a quick chat -- occurred over email:

Works With U: Is this the first time System76 has offered Ubuntu Servers?

Richell: System76 has offered Ubuntu pre-loaded servers since the release of Ubuntu 6.06 LTS in June of 2006. Early success encouraged us to expand and deepen our offering with Ubuntu Certification and Canonical support.

Works With U: What types of customers do you expect to purchase your latest Ubuntu servers?

Richell: We are already providing servers to small businesses, schools, governments, and enterprises. The broad utility of Ubuntu as an operating system and the expanding capabilities of x86 hardware opens Ubuntu server products to a large and diverse market.

Works With U: What types of applications are customers deploying on the Ubuntu servers?
Richell: We are experiencing a broad and creative spectrum of Ubuntu Server usage. Business customers are deploying web applications, email, telephony, and thin clients. Higher education customers utilize Ubuntu servers for research and complex calculations. Scientists and students will soon be using System76 servers for plant genome sequencing. The potential Ubuntu applications are far greater than my own imagination; we are learning more from our customers in this respect.

Works With U: What other key Ubuntu server trends are you tracking?

Richell: Ubuntu's early focus on delivering a stellar desktop operating system has proven extremely valuable to the server side. Many System76 business customers started with System76 laptops and desktops--their first Linux computers--and are now deploying Ubuntu servers. That focus and success has changed what we think of as the traditional Linux customer. We're moving from those requiring the customization capabilities offered by Open Source to those requiring simple deployment and management of common network services.

(Editor's note: For more info on System76, check out their web site)