It's far too early to press the panic button. But anecdotal evidence is mounting that Canonical's server push hasn't gained much momentum.
Admittedly, the press (myself included) was guilty of hyping Ubuntu on the server. Throughout 2007, many observers speculated that Dell would announce server systems certified with Ubuntu. And by early 2008, as Canonical prepped Ubuntu 8.04, there were rumblings about other server vendors climbing on board.
But so far, Sun Microsystems is the only big server vendor to endorse Ubuntu in a big way. Dell has taken a wait-and-see approach, and Hewlett-Packard and IBM seem happy enough with Red Hat Linux and Novell SuSE Linux.
I had hoped that we'd hear some server news at Ubuntu Live -- a conference that had been scheduled for July 2008 in Portland, Oregon. But Canonical canceled the event in order to focus on smaller, regional conferences.
Still, there's a piece of me that suspects Ubuntu Live was canceled because Canonical couldn't line up enough sponsors. Canonical has a lot on its plate -- mobile, desktop, server and other Ubuntu editions would keep any small company busy. I wonder if true server momentum was too much to expect this year.
Also, keep this in mind: Microsoft initially released Windows NT Advanced Server 3.1 in 1993. But it wasn't until the release of NT Server 4.0 around 1996 that the operating system began to gain some traction.
Microsoft had deep pockets, and it still took four years to have an impact on the server. I wonder if the open source model will allow Canonical to gain traction even faster.