Canonical Ubuntu 9.04 channel partnersUbuntu 9.04 -- the latest Linux distribution release from Canonical -- arrives this week with great fanfare. Server, desktop, notebook and netbook makers are jumping on the Ubuntu 9.04 bandwagon. But where are the channel partners -- resellers, VARs and solutions providers? Right now, Canonical doesn't have many answers.

During an Ubuntu 9.04 phone briefing that ended a few minutes ago, I asked Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth about the company's channel strategy and progress. Shuttleworth politely said the question would be best directed off-line to Canonical's channel partner team.

Missed Opportunity

In my mind, that means Canonical is still struggling to develop, articulate and promote its partner program. When Red Hat, Novell, Microsoft and other major system software providers announce landmark product updates, they always include channel partners in their messaging.

Also of note: Major open source and closed source ISVs (independent software vendors) aren't really making any major announcements around the Ubuntu 9.04 release. Here again, Canonical needs to learn from Microsoft and Red Hat in particular, which tout their ISV relations during every major system software launch.

And just last week, Red Hat and Synnex announced the Open Source Channel Alliance to drive Red Hat Enterprise Linux and open source applications through Synnex resellers -- though the jury is still out on that effort.

Back to the story at hand: Ubuntu has considerable market momentum. And it seems to be accelerating with Ubuntu 9.04's launch. Shuttleworth hinted that more Ubuntu server relationships and another major netbook OEM deal are just around the corner. But the Ubuntu party won't be compete without solutions providers and ISVs riding the bandwagon, too.

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