Another look at Ubuntu and the Enterprise

This post has been hanging out in a draft for a while and decided to post it.

Every 6 months a Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) comes around to help plan the next release of Ubuntu and each time I look forward to seeing some blueprint or meeting geared around Ubuntu and this past UDS I was greeted with this: Ubuntu Desktop in an Enterprise Setup.  This is not the first blueprint in Launchpad that has been created around Ubuntu I’ve seen and not the first post I’ve made about management and Ubuntu.

What Ubuntu needs is not a Business Remix removing social bits and pieces (social is used more and more in business these days) but integration within the various systems management tools that already exist.  The most exciting thing about this new blueprint is the line: “Ubuntu-only solutions (e.g., a tight coupling to Landscape) are not an option.”  To whoever made that point I salute and applaud you.  People don’t want to be locked into yet another tool from yet another vendor.  If they are a CA shop, or a Symantec shop for Endpoint Management then Ubuntu should just work on that platform.
The challenge is this is not something that is going to be handled by a community member or by a member of the desktop engineering team, it is something that is going to be have to be done by Canonical’s business development or OEM team.  They are going to have to work w/ getting support from the companies that do Enterprise Endpoint Management.  Take a look at this table I’ve done in another blog post that shows how Ubuntu is supported:
Vendor Name of Product Supported Linux Distributions
Symantec Altiris Client Management Suite Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (6 before EOY), SUSE Linux 11
Dell (KACE) Kace Systems Management Appliance Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, 4, and 5
IBM (Tivoli, Big Fix) Configuration Manager (?) Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4, 5, and 6, SUSE Linux 9, 10, 11
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) SCCM 2012 will support Red Hat, SUSE, and Solaris
Canonical Landscape Ubuntu
HP HP IT Management Software (NOTE: Had hard time finding exact information
about HP’s product as they have a lot of names
So let’s get going and get Ubuntu supported by Enterprise Endpoint Management….
UPDATE: I started working on this draft shortly after it was posted (5/7) and unfortunately haven’t seen any movement on this blueprint, not even an approve… Hopefully someone, somewhere within Canonical is working on it
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6 thoughts on “Another look at Ubuntu and the Enterprise

  1. Pingback: Ubuntu developers: Jonathan Jesse: Another look at Ubuntu and the Enterprise | Linux-Support.com

  2. The underlying problem here is that the interest of Ubuntu as a community project and the interests of Canonical as a for-profit business entity or not well delineated. A lot of core Ubuntu project infrastructure configuration was chosen in part to bolster Canonical’s original business plan to centralize services around Canonical controlled infrastructure like launchpad and landscape. The lack of clear separation is a very difficult thing to untangle over time. And untangling that is absolutely in the best interest of both the larger project and Canonical as a business. Canonical’s high level of centralized infrastructure investment to build up the Ubuntu process is now a significant amount of technical debt which prevents both Ubuntu as a project and Canonical as a business from pivoting more nimbly in highly competitive service areas to protect Canonical’s value-add business model. Cloud stuff is currently a bright spot only because its effectively a greenfield management area. Over time however the same problems will arise here as other solution providers start building competing management stacks for cloud.

    Canonical’s entirely optional for-pay service business strategy while making it easier for gratis user adoption and increasing ubuntu usage quickly… makes it difficult for Canonical to work with other value-add service providers in a mutually beneficial partnership…because those other service providers are essentially directly competing with Canonical for system management dollars and Canonical is counting on that business to fund ubuntu development itself. It’s a bit of a catch-22 for Ubuntu. Canonical’s business model stresses that the value is in the management and services layer..but doesn’t make it easy for multiple management and service vendors to directly impact the Ubuntu project roadmap and featureset without coming to a business agreement with Canonical. Canonical is deliberately placed as a gatekeeper for other business interests. It’s a long term problem Ubuntu as a project is going to need to solve.

    -jef

    • Jeff

      I agree but think it is time for Canonical to make the move and try to get into the enterprise. Instead of focusing on Ubuntu on the phone or tv they might to have faster adoption in the enterprise if they work with existing management tools and companies and move from Landscape and a it wasn’t created here philosophy.
      Working on an additional post on what is needed from a management point of view

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