ZaReason Preparing Ubuntu ServersZaReason, one of the best-known companies developing Ubuntu desktops and notebooks, plans to introduce Ubuntu server products soon. I welcome the news, but the Ubuntu server market still faces tall challenges.

ZaReason CEO Cathy Malmrose mentioned the server news to WorksWithU a few months ago. Details about ZaReason's server strategy remain sketchy. But ZaReason briefly mentions its server plans in an online FAQ, which states simply:
Q  Do you build servers?

A  Yes, but so far they have all been custom servers built on request. We will be launching our servers on the site in Q4 2008.
Time is running out in Q4. I suspect ZaReason has its hands fulfilling holiday orders for desktops and laptops. But as you may know, I also have high respect for ZaReason's management team. Malmrose was kind enough to grant us an interview when WorksWithU was a stealth beta site called All About Ubuntu. And we recently reviewed the ZaReason Breeze desktop.

Back to the Server

In some ways, ZaReason and Ubuntu are going into uncharted waters together. So far, Canonical's Ubuntu Server Edition initiative has yielded mixed results. Our WorksWithU 1000 survey -- which tracks Ubuntu deployments worldwide -- confirms that companies are embracing Ubuntu Server Edition faster than the mainstream media realizes. And disruptive software companies like Unison are porting their server applications to Ubuntu.

However, Ubuntu is a work in progress on the server. Sun Microsystems is the only major server maker to endorse Ubuntu Server Edition. So far, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell (one of Ubuntu's most vocal desktop supporters) are taking a wait-and-see approach to Ubuntu Server Edition.

Plus, application providers have been slow to embrace Ubuntu Server Edition.

Still, there are pockets of success. System76, another vocal Ubuntu proponent, sells Ubuntu certified servers. And ZaReason's anticipated entry into the Ubuntu server market should provide another moderate step forward for Canonical's server strategy.

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