Look For New, Ubuntu-Focused Moves From Canonical
Especially since Matt Asay, one of the better open source bloggers out there, took over as COO of Canonical, overseeing Ubuntu, it's been interesting to see what kinds of directions he might steer Ubuntu in. In recent versions, Ubuntu has become much more graphical, comatible and easy-to-use, priming the pump for it to spread out to new usage models. This week, there are a number of interesting reports coming out about where Canonical may go next, including taking Ubuntu to tablets (potentiall putting it in direct competition with Apple's iPad), and adopting a Red Hat-like support model.
Through Ubuntu Advantage and other new support options for enterprises, Canonical does seem to be taking a page from the Red Hat playback. Red Hat, of course, is legendary for its success in offering free support for open source software. Ubuntu Advantage consists of numerous types of support. In addition to the traditioal technical support that Canonical has offered. Ubuntu Advantage provides access to online and offline applications and legal assurances.
Ubuntu Advantage starts at $320 per year per server, which qualifies it as low-priced, but even though the strategy seems to bear some similarity to Red Hat's, I'm not so sure that Canonical intends to mimic Red Hat completely. As ZDNet notes, there may never be another Red Hat.
Canonical may very well take Ubuntu in new directions that don't hover around the traditional desktop and server computing models. Reports from this past week make clear that Canonical is very interested in tablet computing, with multi-touch tablets based on Ubuntu apparently slated to arrive by early next year. It seems logical that these could come in at very low price points, and Apple has already demonstrated that tablets are finding their way with consumers. In fact, Canonical officials have been expressing interest in the broad device landscape in general.
Ubuntu has come a long way in recent years, and the smart people at Canonical helped Google craft the upcoming Chrome OS, which shares components with Ubuntu. It won't be a surprise to see Ubuntu head in new directions in the coming months.