Rewind to 1996. Windows NT gained momentum around that time because Microsoft had clear marketing messages for both NT Server 4.0 and NT Workstation 4.0. Now, Canonical is embracing a similar strategy with the launch of Ubuntu 8.10 Server Edition and 8.10 Desktop Edition.

For starters, Canonical issued separate press releases for the server and desktop editions. That's a subtle but important move by Canonical. The world knows Ubuntu has 8 million or so desktop users. But Canonical needs to show focus and momentum on the server.

Good News, Bad News

The vast majority of Ubuntu users participating in our Works With U 1000 Survey -- which tracks worldwide Ubuntu deployments -- run Ubuntu Server Edition. But the mainstream media and many open source advocates continue to ignore Canonical's growing server presence.

Also, each press releases includes a quote from Canonical Chief Operating Officer Jane Silber -- a wise move to shift the spotlight away from Mark Shuttleworth. The world needs to know that Canonical and Ubuntu are driven by more than one personality.

Hopefully, as Ubuntu 8.10 gains momentum we'll hear about more PC and server OEM relationships with Canonical. Although more and more netbooks include Ubuntu preloaded (Even Dell is advertising Ubuntu Netbooks), I haven't heard about any new momentum for Ubuntu server preloads.

I haven't had a chance to test Ubuntu 8.10, and would welcome reader comments about the new desktop and server editions.

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