When LinuxWorld Expo kicks off August 4 in San Francisco, The VAR Guy will be watching the event closely. In fact, he expects four key trends -- related to Canonical and Ubuntu Linux -- to emerge at the conference. Here's the scoop.

First, Canonical is expected to announce a series of server-oriented application relationships. Alfresco (content management, IBM, Openbravo (enterprise resource planning) and Zimbra are among the software developers expected to jump on the Ubuntu Server bandwagon.

Second, rumors are swirling that Canonical will launch an appliance initiative tied to Ubuntu Server. (Of course, The VAR Guy's sources are the ones who started the rumor.) So far, Canonical says "no comment" about the appliance speculation.

Third, watch for Canonical to subtly evangelize Ubuntu Netbooks as a higher priority than Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs). What's the difference between a Netbook and MIDs? Here are some hints. Netbooks and MIDs are both important to Canonical, but company insiders say getting Netbooks into retail stores is a much bigger opportunity -- since consumers already understand the sub-notebook market that Netbooks target.

Finally, watch for Ubuntu to emerge as the de facto platform for digital inclusion. Untangle, an open source security company, is hosting an Installfest at LinuxWorld Expo. The event could position Ubuntu to land on thousands of PCs that are donated to area schools.