Ubuntu Remix stirring Linux netbooks

I’ve written quite a bit recently about netbooks, MIDs, UMPCs and the general category of sub-notebook/greater-than smartphone, and while I had planned on taking a break from the subject, it keeps coming up. The latest splash in this new form factor pond, where Linux enjoys greater deployment and significant cost and technical advantages, comes from none other than Linux desktop leader Ubuntu and Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth. Despite the development of an Ubuntu version for netbooks, I had held off on including Ubuntu in most previous blogs on the topic. However, based on Shuttleworth’s disclosure of the Ubuntu ‘netbook remix’ in response to OEM interest, it’s clearly time to talk about how Canonical and Ubuntu fit into the netbook screen.

We have joined others in wondering about Ubuntu on the server. Canonical highlighted broad OEM support with its release of 8.04 Hardy Heron, but has failed to translate its desktop deal with Dell into a server-side arrangement and has yet to announce any major OEM server deal. However, Ubuntu continues to dominate Linux desktop use, positioning it with the kind of popularity required in broader, consumer markets. The Linux server market is still growing, and Canonical will no-doubt look to leverage corporate and consumer desktop use to continue its push into servers. However, it may have an even greater opportunity at present to with its OS and custom development and services for this hot market.

One of the best things about Ubuntu Remix is that it is clearly following the same successful recipe that has fueled Ubuntu on the desktop: open, transparent development, GPL licensing (GPLv3 for a new netbook launcher and other software) and inclusive of feedback from developers as well as users. Shuttleworth would not give names of OEMs, some of which are working on ‘more radical user interface innovation,’ or dates for when we can expect certified Ubuntu netbooks. However, based on the comments and consumer reaction to these devices, it seems clear this is a big opportunity for Linux and Canonical will be among the players involved.

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#1 Ubuntu Remix stirring Linux netbooks on 06.09.08 at 6:03 pm

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