Openbravo CEO Manel SarasaUbuntu Linux isn't just for desktop users anymore. That will be the key message when Canonical and Openbravo demonstrate open source ERP software on Ubuntu servers at Linuxworld in August, The VAR Guy has learned. Here's the scoop, directly from Openbravo CEO Manel Sarasa (pictured).

First, a little about Openbravo. Based in Spain, Openbravo is an open source company that focuses on enterprise resource planning (ERP) and point-of-sale (POS) software. Yes, open source ERP and POS -- a killer combination for a market that needs disrupting, The VAR Guy believes.

Manel Sarasa, CEO of Openbravo, believes Microsoft has about 15 percent market share in the ERP midmarket. The other 85 percent of the industry is highly fragmented between dozens of software companies.

With an assist from partners, Openbravo hopes to disrupt the industry and grab market share fast. The company recently secured $12 million in new financing. And roughly 75 Openbravo partners and integrators recently attended the company's first U.S. event, held in Miami. And Openbravo now has about 100 partners worldwide, notes Josep Mitjà, Openbravo's COO.

The Ubuntu Connection

Next up, Openbravo plans to work more closely with Canonical -- the company behind Ubuntu Linux.

This has been a year of transition for Canonical. Ubuntu's popularity on desktops continues to grow by leaps and bounds (shameless plug: Check out our sister site, Works With U, the independent guide to Ubuntu). However, Canonical had also hoped to push Ubuntu onto more servers this year.

So far, those efforts have yielded mixed results. Sun Microsystems supports Ubuntu on its servers but other major vendors -- including Dell -- have stated that they are taking a "wait and see" approach to Ubuntu servers.

Ultimately, Canonical's server push will be a multi-year effort, much in the way that it took NT three to four years to take off on servers. Ironically, Canonical needs to steal a page from Microsoft's playbook. In the 1990s, Windows NT Server took off because of killer applications (Exchange Server, SQL Server, Oracle and Lotus Notes, among others).

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, and plans to demonstrate ERP software for Ubuntu at Linuxworld Expo in August, according to Mitjà.

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.