Talk about a busy few days for Linux channel partners. Oracle is making Linux partner specialization claims; Canonical is preparing the Ubuntu 11.04 release; Red Hat Summit kicks off within days; and the Attachmate-Novell business combination was approved earlier today while Novell continues to launch new cloud offerings. The upshot for channel partners: It's time to push beyond the basic Linux wars and decide which Linux platform offers the best cloud and virtualization story. Here's the update.

The VAR Guy's inbox is flooded with Linux-related news and tips. Among them:

1. Oracle Linux: The software giant claims that nearly 60 Oracle partners, including resellers, hosting companies, system integrators and education providers, have completed specialization in Oracle Linux, with thousands of partners currently in the process of becoming certified Oracle Linux specialists. Also of note: Watch for Oracle to more clearly connect the dots between Oracle Linux and Oracle VM, the company's virtualization technology.

2. Canonical Ubuntu 11.04: Set for release April 28, the latest Ubuntu release features the Unity desktop interface and plenty of additional polish. But perhaps the bigger story involves Canonical's growing Ubuntu Enterprise Cloud relationships with Dell, Eucalyptus and OpenStack.

3. Red Hat Summit: A few hundred Red Hat partners are set to attend Red Hat Summit and JBoss World (May 3-6, Boston). Red Hat also appears to be planning a dedicated channel partner event for October 2011. At both events it's safe to expect lots of chatter about Red Hat Enterprise Virtualization (RHEV) and the Red Hat Cloud Foundations effort.

4. Novell-Attachmate: Sure, Novell is best known for its SUSE Linux platform. And the Attachmate-Novell business combo finally earned regulatory approval earlier today. But Novell has also been pushing into some cloud markets -- launching the Vibe social media platform for enterprises, and the Novell Cloud Security Service for MSPs.

Linux Partner Moves

The bottom line for VARs that resell Linux solutions: If you're not mastering cloud- and virtualization bolt-ons, you're behind the times. The VAR Guy suspects Linux runs on about one-third of corporate servers. But we all know the real action for Linux channel partners has always involved specific applications. Increasingly, those Linux applications leverage virtualization or cloud platforms. Time for VARs to get moving on both fronts -- regardless of the Linux distribution you embrace.

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