In the last “Ask Mark” section that occurred on 2001/11/23 our supreme dictator for life showed up for questions (log can be found here) Mr. Shuttleworth mentions “we’re going to do a business desktop remix, because lots of people want a remix without the social bits…” And I wonder just who wants this business remix? Are there customers who are actively looking to replace Windows w/ Ubuntu but are just looking for the “social” to be removed? I would argue we don’t need a new remix of Ubuntu, we need 3rd party support of Ubuntu instead.
Let me explain….
w/ businesses every day ranging from 300 client devices to 100K+ client devices and none of them are even thinking about switching to Ubuntu. In fact there is only 1 customer I’ve talked to all year that is using Ubuntu. That customer isn’t looking for a remix of Ubuntu, he/she is looking to better manage the devices. The only Endpoint Management Tool that supports Ubuntu is Canonical’s own Landscape, none of the vendors (HP, IBM, Microsoft, Symantec, Kace) provide support for the product and until that happens I doubt we will see many Enterprises adopt Ubuntu as their desktop of choice.
What do I mean by an Endpoint Management Tool? I want a product that allows me to deliver software, patches, and images to my device along w/ providing a comprehensive inventory (software and hardware) of all of my devices. Management won’t let me buy yet another tool to manage the devices or perhaps even migrate to this new operating system so it needs to work w/ what I currently have. Also I want a company to stand behind the product and offer me support. Bonus points for it being completely administrated from a web page.
Let’s take a quick look at what Linux support is out there w/ the top Endpoint Management Vendors I run into contact w/
||Name of Product
||Supported Linux Distributions
||Altiris Client Management Suite
||Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (6 before EOY), SUSE Linux 11
||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
||System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM)
||SCCM 2012 will support Red Hat, SUSE, and Solaris
||HP IT Management Software (NOTE: Had hard time finding exact information
about HP’s product as they have a lot of names
Note: This is not a complete list of solutions/vendors/etc. What is listed is based on information from the website from what I could, it might be wrong
So what does that table demonstrate? We need vendor support before we need a “remix.” We need one of the other vendors beside Canonical to start supporting Ubuntu in order to grow into the enterprise desktop arena.