First, to be clear: Unison's unified communications software is not open source. But Unison will offer a free, advertising-driven version of its unified communications software to customers running Ubuntu Server Edition.
The big question: Will ad-driven unified communications software take off? Nobody will know for sure until Unison for Ubuntu Server Edition ships shortly.
Countering MicrosoftStill, it's clear that Canonical and Unison are determined to compete with Microsoft's Unified Communications efforts. In fact, Canonical has signed on to be a sponsor/advertiser on the free unified communications software for Ubuntu.
The early word on Unison's software seems promising. A recent eWeek review of the software concluded:
"Unison Server and Desktop unified communications software offers a good, basic UC experience, but lacks too many features to be useful to enterprises with advanced UC needs."Still, "free" is a compelling price tag -- especially for small VARs and small businesses that are looking for cost-effective technologies amid the recession.
The Bigger PictureOverall, I think Unison for Ubuntu Server Edition represents a small but significant step in Canonical's ongoing server initiative. The Unison for Ubuntu release just as:
- HP has committed to certifying its servers for Ubuntu.
- Canonical prepares an upgraded version of Landscape -- a remote management tool and SaaS (software as a service) platform for Ubuntu servers and desktops.
- Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth starts discussing Ubuntu Server Edition shifting to the cloud with the anticipated release of Ubuntu 9.10 in October 2009.
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