Canonical is preparing an Ubuntu Server blitz at LinuxWorld Expo in August. Alfresco, IBM, Openbravo, Zimbra and others are expected to rally around Ubuntu Server at the conference, The VAR Guy learned during meetings at OSCON. Here's the scoop, and the implications for Ubuntu partners.

Canonical knows it Ubuntu Server's success hinges on broad ISV (independent software vendor) support and a strong channel of integrators and solutions providers. The company will attempt to address both of those major realities at LinuxWorld. Plus, there are strong indications that Canonical will expand its online software store as part of the Ubuntu Server push.

ISVs Backing Ubuntu Server

For starters, Canonical will communicate that Ubuntu Server is more than a file server and Web server. The following open source application providers are expected to endorse Ubuntu Server at LinuxWorld:
  • Alfresco: The open source content management system is wildly popular on Ubuntu. But Alfresco will more directly target the Ubuntu Server market place, starting at LinuxWorld.
  • IBM: It sounds like IBM is confirmed to participate in the Ubuntu Server push at LinuxWorld, but The VAR Guy is still digging for details about Big Blue's potential involvement. The IBM DB2 and Lotus desktop teams already support Ubuntu. But so far, it sounds like IBM's Lotus server and Websphere teams are taking a "wait and see" approach to Ubuntu server.
  • Openbravo: The company specializes in ERP (enterprise resource planning) and POS (point of sale) software, giving Ubuntu Server a lift in fast-growing market segments.
  • Zimbra: The open source email provider is now owned by Yahoo. And Zimbra has a fanatical following.
  • Several more Ubuntu Server ISVs are expected to be announced at LinuxWorld.

Canonical Online Software Store

Canonical's online software store already offers versions of Parallels Workstation and IBM DB2 Express. But Canonical has been keeping a close eye on another online software store -- Red Hat Exchange (RHX).

Will Canonical go head-to-head against RHX? Perhaps not. But there are strong indications that Canonical will expand its online store to offer third-party applications like Alfresco and Zimbra, among others.

Where's the Canonical Reseller Channel?

Meanwhile, Canonical is taking a close look at its reseller channel for Ubuntu Server.

"To build a channel, you need to bring business to your channel. We have not done a good job of that so far," conceded Gerry Carr, a Canonical marketing manager. "We have to do a better job showing opportunities to our partners. Over next year, we'll bring the opportunity to the channel. We’re not interested in getting in the deployment business. That's an opportunity for our partners."

How will Canonical bolster its IT channel? One way to attract resellers is through ISVs. For instance: Once Zimbra jumps on the Ubuntu Server bandwagon at LinuxWorld, it's natural to expect some Zimbra solutions providers to embrace Canonical's partner program.

Also, Canonical's online store could become an ideal place for Canonical to funnel project leads to integrators and solutions providers that specialize in specific applications.