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Taming Ubuntu sprawl

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Canonical - the money bags behind Ubuntu - hopes to attract more corporate buyers toward the Linux light with the release of a systems management package dubbed Landscape.

The Landscape software has moved out of beta and into the wild becoming available for customers with commercial support agreements as well as those seeking a standalone service. Canonical sees the software as an answer for companies trying to manage large amounts of servers and desktops.

"We are committed to making Ubuntu the right choice for business,” said Mark Shuttleworth, the Canonical chief. “I am delighted that the feedback from the beta program indicates that Landscape meets that commitment. We challenged the development team to build a tool that was simple to use but powerful for support customers and they delivered. I expect Landscape to drive many more large-scale Ubuntu deployments.”

Customers reach Landscape via a portal that lets them keep track of all registered computers. From this spot, they can send out new software packages and security updates to the various machines via the fabled one-click-of-a-button.

Administrators can, of course, split up all of their machines into various groups and apply updates to those groups or to the whole network as needed. In addition, Landscape lets you burrow down into individual systems, seeing what packages are on the boxes.

Beyond software upgrades and patches, Landscape returns data on system usage and hardware health. You can also tap into the hardware to pull up logs that outline the actions of administrators and users.

To us, the software sounds like a less advanced version of, say, Hyperic, but please feel free to write in about just how wrong that impression is.

You can trial the software for free over 60 days so long as you register for at least five machines. Otherwise, the software costs $150 per system as a standalone service. ®

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