Ulteo Adds Open Virtual Desktop to Browser App Repertoire
Ulteo is an interesting company. Started by former MandrakeSoft developer Gael Duval, the company aims to make using your computer easier, regardless of whether you're using your computer. The company focuses on the development and delivery of open source web applications and storage.
They offer applications such as the Virtual Desktop Beta, which runs a Linux environment over a Windows installation, allowing users to switch easily between the two, the Ulteo Online Desktop, which allows users access to a remote desktop and applications such as OpenOffice 3, and its full distribution the Ulteo Application System. Having used a few of these products, some are hits (the Windows Virtual Desktop is really sleek) and others (the Application System) still need significant work.
Today Ulteo announced another application, the Open Virtual Desktop.
In terms of name and usage, the Open Virtual Desktop would appear pretty similar to the Ulteo Online Desktop, which delivers a number of open source applications through a browser. The twist with the Open Virtual Desktop release is that instead of existing in Ulteo's server environment and under Ulteo's control, this software can be installed on a company's server, customized to the company's needs, and integrated with Active Directory/LDAP so that employees can access their online desktops from anywhere. There isn't any client software required.
Ulteo is very subtle when it says in the Open Virtual Desktop FAQ that the product is a migration tool. It's a great option for companies wanting to try out open source software, those that require a mixed operating system environment, or want to take their existing open source system and make it a little more mobile. The server requirements seem reasonable (two computers are required, one for session management and one for application delivery -- and though Ubuntu is recommended, there are installation instructions available for other distributions).
Ulteo might have found its bit of open source heaven here. The company offers support and training, as well as collaboration with customers and contributors on developing new features. If it can make the most of the "migration tool" angle, it may very well be positioned to be the first real point of open source vendor contact for businesses looking to make the change. Being first to the market isn't everything -- delivering services well is always key -- but Ulteo's developers have some impressive credentials.