Ubuntu and take your device to work

This week I attended through work a presentation about Endpoint Management with a focus around the whole “bring your device to work” megatrend the experts are talking about.  In case you haven’t heard this discussion is all about allowing an end user to purchase or use their own device instead of a corporate device.  Examples given in this presentation are large New York City based banks encouraging people to use their own devices (usually a Mac) as a recruiting tool to help attract top talent.  The presentation focused on how will IT manage these devices (patch, deliver software, track inventory, etc) on a non-corporate device.  In the past someone in IT decided what version of desktop/laptop (either a Dell or an HP) and then decided on an operating system (Microsoft and still for a lot of shops XP).  Now we are seeing a growth of whatever type of device the end user wants (anyone have this at their work?).

The interesting part about the discussion was the focus on Mac and how companies are managing them.  Macs in the corporate environment are growing and growing (heck I moved to one) and companies have to figure out what to do w/ them.  Thankfully the product I consult around (Altiris Client Management Suite) has perhaps the best Mac management outside of Apple. When asked about where the expers see Linux in the corporate world the expert replied it still exists within the walls of the datacenter (whether on premises or off premises in some form of cloud) and it really doesn’t exist in the corporate desktop (at least in the US).
This is a large frustration I have with Ubuntu is that it could focus on the corporate environment and potentially increase market share but instead chooses to focus on TVs and potentially mobile devices.  Canonical could partner with the various Endpoint Management software vendors (Microsoft, IBM, CA, Symantec, Dell, etc.) to support Ubuntu.
When I show up w/ my own laptop running Ubuntu there are certain things I’m required to have or report on including up to date with patches, has up to date antivirus and definitions and is able to be managed by the corporate management solution.  So Canonical, fire up those partnership agreements or whatever is needed and get your operating system supported by more vendors so the corporate desktop market share can grow

Focus on working w/ Partners, not inventing your own product

On a recent post to Planet Ubuntu, Dustin Kirkland announced he is moving on from the Server Team to the Systems Integration Team with Canonical and also talks about a new product called “Ubuntu Orchestra” a new product that is “a collection of the best free software services useful in provisioning, deploying, hosting, managing and orchestrating enterprise data center infrastructure services…”  He then goes on to talking about “the brave new world of Management and System Integration."  Will this new product work with Landscape or is it just another product?

I’m trying to understand why Canonical is spending time and money on Yet Another Product and Not Invented Here so it must not be good instead of working with the existing System Management providers to help move Ubuntu further and further into the enterprise.

Landscape is already defined as an easy-to-use management service how is this different from Orchestra? 

Here’s my frustration, with Canonical we have a company that is investing in two products for Systems Management, when there are companies that do this for a living they could partner with and get support. 

Can someone please explain both the difference in the projects and why Canonical is not working with other vendors for systems management?

Fun with VirtualBox – Kubuntu Natty and Windows 7

My main computer is my work laptop which run Windows 7 however I try to help out as much as I can with Kubuntu and the Kubuntu project.  I have ran into various problems with things I need to do for running Kubuntu naitively and have posted here several times about applications I miss when I’m running Kubuntu.  (If someone knows how to connect Kontact w/ Exchange 2010 please comment here)

I recently asked on Quora wondering if VirtualBox had a mode like VMWare Fusion on Mac with Unity Mode.  I discovered Seamless Mode in VirtualBox and running my Kubuntu Natty VM.  So here is the screenshot



Official Ubuntu Book version 5.0

As my friend Matthew Helmke as has already posted on planet.ubuntu.com about the official Ubuntu book, but what stands out to me is how cool the cover now looks.

Previous versions of the book focused on the circle theme with friends holding hands.  Now the book reflects the great new theme.

As normal I have written the chapter on Kubuntu

Feel free to pre-order the book, slated to come out on Kindle and Paperback according to Amazon

Configure Evolution to to access MS Exchange 2007

I have been trying to use my Netbook running Ubuntu 10.04 Netbook edition more and more. One of the things I wanted to try and figure was if I could configure Evolution to connect to Exchange. I was never able to get Kontact to work successfully, but was interested to find something called evolution-mapi with a description of "Evolution extension for MS Exchange 2007 Servers." So I fired up apt, ran an apt-get install, and started walking thru the wizard the first time Evolution runs.

However I ran into several problems and this blog will help me remember the next time I do this.

1. Create an empty mail account using the mail wizard

2. Naviagate to Edit -> Preferences and start creating a new account

3. Under Accounts select Add

4. Provide the email address you are going to use

5. Under the server type, select Exchange MAPI

6. In the server configuration section, specify the IP Address of the server you are going to connect to. I tried server name several times but couldnt get it to authenticate correctly. Dont know if this is a bug, or just something setup with my Exchange server.

7. Finish the wizard and you will be connecting to your Exchange server

Hope it works for you

What is missing from Ubuntu?: Manageability

A recent blog post on planet.ubuntu.com, argues the one thing that is missing is manageability of the Ubuntu system.  I couldn’t agree more with this post.  In the post the author argues the problem with Ubuntu adoption in business is not how shinny things look, or how well the software works in the cloud, the problem is management of systems.

A little background here:  For the last 4 years or so I have been an endpoint management consultant (laptops/desktops/severs).  I have clients that manage anywhere between 50 desktops and 150,000 desktops.  For Windows desktops there are numerous companies that allow you to manage those machines and reduce full time equivalencies (FTE’s).  Some examples are:  Altiris, Landesk, Kace, etc.  Canonical has created its own solution Landscape instead of working with the existing companies to get their product (Ubuntu) supported.

What really stands out from this entry is this section:

And so, Microsoft continues to win on the desktop. Not because an individual PC running Windows is easier for most people to use, but because its easier to set up Active Directory to work with Outlook and Exchange than it is to roll your own directory service with the tools available out of the box on Ubuntu. Bug #1 will never be solved until directory services and authentication are integrated into every aspect of Ubuntu.

And he couldn’t be more correct.  Until there is a true competitor to Active Directory, Exchange, Outlook, and the MANAGEMENT of the machines Ubuntu will not succeed in the Enterprise.

Take a look at the blog and all the blueprints that have withered without focus in regards to the issue:  (List taken from the blog)

Jaunty Release Schedule Announced

Another release is now out the door and the new release schedule has been announced for Ubuntu 9.04 will ship on April 23rd of 2009.  Hard to believe how quickly April will come up and we will then have another release out the door yet again.

A couple of key dates for myself:

  • December 11th is the Ubuntu Developer Summit at Mountain View, if I haven’t met you before in person we should meet at UDS
  • February 16th is feature freeze and time to finalize the documentation
  • March 26th is Documentation String Freeze where the docs are finalized and ready for translation and l10n.

Getting excited about another release.  Hope this time work doesn’t get in the way of spending time working on Kubuntu and Kubuntu docs like what happened last release schedule.


Intrepid and VMWare

Been running into problems running Intrepid under VMWare workstation and posted a couple of times to the kubuntu-devel mailing list and also last night had a chat on #kubuntu-devel as to what is going on.

Finally found a fix after practicing my google skills, must have been lacking last time I tried but found this post “Installing Ubuntu Intrepid Alpha 3 in VMWare

Don’t know if others are having hte problem also don’t know if the post made it to planet.ubuntu.com so adding this there and also for my own reference.

Great post

UDS In December — UDS Mountain View Again

It’s nice to be able to plan ahead for something like UDS.  Jono recently announced the next developers conference for Ubuntu the week of Monday the 8th of December.

The last UDS Mountain View I was just starting a new job, my current job,  and didn’t have any vacation time or the ability to take time off.  The last summit, UDS Prague I missed due to my wife’s pregnancy and the fact it was so close to her due date.

Now I’m looking forward to attending and have already marked my calendar.

Excited for Ubuntu Netbook Remix

There has been quite the discussion on ubuntu-devel-discuss  in regards to the announcement of Ubuntu Remix and its support for various media codecs including a license for Windows Media.  Most of this discussion comes from this point…that Canonical is now supporting and paying Microsoft.  Of course most rants about this always included the M$ which makes the argument sound much more intelligent.

Anyway, I’m glad to see Canonical and Intel working together to deliver yet another avenue for people to use Linux.  I’m especially glad that on these netbooks people will not be limited by the types of videos they can watch.

I wonder if the amount of people who now have the ASUS Eee PC runing Ubuntu is helping out with this?

Part of the goal of this project is “This interface is optimised for a retail sales environment” which means there were be more and more average users running this device who want and need WMV format.  Should we cripple their experience or should we allow them to have the best possible experience?  I vote for the best format.  Including out of the box MP3 support.

Here are the technical specifications of the Ubuntu Netbook.

Technical specifications
Minimum hardware requirements:
  • Processor: Intel Atom processor
  • RAM: 512 MB
  • Storage: 4 GB Flash disk (SSD) or hard disk
Major open source applications included:
  • Web browser – Firefox 3 
  • E-mail client – Thunderbird
  • Instant messenger – Pidgin
  • Media player – Rhythmbox
  • eBook reader – FBReader
  • RSS reader – Lifrea
  • Photo viewer – F-Spot
  • Office suite – OpenOffice.org
Market leading applications included:
  • Adobe Flash
  • Adobe Reader
  • Real Player for MID
  • Java JVM
Licensed audio and video decoders:
  • MPEG4 (H.263)
  • MP3
  • AAC
  • Windows Media 
  • Real Media*

† Choice of one media player
* Only available with Real Player



—– Updated —-

Check out http://thegabfather.wordpress.com/2008/06/05/ubuntu-netbook-remix/ for more information