I'm not pressing the panic button. I think millions of people remain committed to Ubuntu Linux. But recent events -- involving Google Chrome OS, Google Android and Moblin -- make me wonder if Ubuntu faces far more competition than Canonical anticipated.

Consider the following developments:

Google Chrome OS

But the real news today involves Google Chrome OS. As a universal brand, Google is in the unique position to garner instant attention from PC makers, retailers and netbook buyers.

Consider this:
  • Does the typical consumer or small business owner know about Ubuntu and Canonical? In most cases, no.
  • Would the typical consumer or small business owner be comfortable buying a low-cost netbook that was branded with Google software? In many cases, I suspect the answer is yes.
Again, I don't want to press the panic button. Canonical and Ubuntu have serious momentum. And Dell insiders recently told me they remain committed to Ubuntu netbooks, notebooks and PCs.

But now Canonical finds itself competing against established technology titans (Microsoft, Apple and soon Google) plus entrenched Linux providers (Red Hat and Novell).

Nobody ever said making Canonical a profitable business was going to be easy. And perhaps that's why Canonical has wisely been launching additional services and products involving storage (Ubuntu One), remote management (Landscape) and managed private cloud services.

Updated: July 9, 12:15pm eastern

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