When Canonical canceled its Ubuntu Live conference -- which had been scheduled to coincide with OSCON in Portland, Oregon -- I was deeply disappointed. But in retrospect, here's why canceling Ubuntu Live -- and focusing more resources on August's LinuxWorld Expo -- was a very smart move by Canonical.

At first glance, I was very concerned when Canonical pulled the plug on Ubuntu Live. Initially, company insiders spun some creative stories, assuring me Canonical planned to host multiple regional events to replace Ubuntu Live. Then the reality began to settle in: Spending big bucks on Ubuntu Live -- and preaching to a niche audience of Ubuntu fanatics -- wasn't a great use of Canonical's marketing dollars.

Instead, Canonical hosted a range of education sessions at OSCON. I attended several of those sessions and noticed a key trend: Many attendees were Red Hat Enterprise Linux, SuSE Linux and Windows Server administrators, who were seeking more information about Ubuntu. In other words, Canonical was preaching to new listeners rather than the same-old Ubuntu crowd. Smart move, Canonical.

That trend continued -- in a much bigger way -- during LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco last week. Canonical's booth was big and business-focused. Demo stations featured a range of third-party applications -- such as Alfresco content management and Zimbra email -- running on Canonical.

Back in July our sister site -- The VAR Guy -- reported that Canonical would launch a server application blitz at LinuxWorld Expo. That report was right on the mark. Canonical spent all of LinuxWorld Expo talking about its business strategy and ISV (independent software vendor) support. Although foot traffic at LinuxWorld Expo seemed light, Canonical's booth was standing-room-only, even as the show wrapped up on August 7.

Several years from now -- if Canonical manages to convert thousands of small, midsize and large organizations to Ubuntu -- then it may make sense to revive the Ubuntu Live conference. In the meantime, Canonical spent its money far more wisely preaching to new converts at LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco.