Unison Technologies Unified Communications on Ubuntu Server EditionUnison Technologies is fulfilling its promise to offer free unified communications software on Ubuntu Server Edition. An announcement could emerge as soon as this week. I met Unison Chief Marketing Officer Rurik Bradbury a few weeks ago to learn about the company's Ubuntu strategy. Here's a recap.

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 Microsoft

Still, 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 Picture

Overall, 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:
It's safe to say Canonical will continue the server assault by holding discussions with Dell, IBM and numerous server application providers through the rest of 2009. In the meantime, watch for Unison on Ubuntu Server Edition to debut really soon.

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