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IBM gets hip with 'cool' Ubuntu PC deal

Canonical offers Office 'alternative'

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LinuxWorld IBM is today expected to announce expanded backing for Ubuntu in a desktop and collaboration software deal to challenge Microsoft's Windows and Office.

Canonical, Ubuntu's commercial sponsor, has agreed to re-distribute IBM's Lotus Symphony productivity suite with its public Linux repositories. More details are expected later today.

The news follows IBM's decision earlier this year to offer a version of its Open Collaboration Client Solution (OCCS) for Ubuntu.

Ubuntu is, according to the suits at IBM, "a Linux operating system that scores high marks on usability and 'the cool factor.'"

The deal is expected to be announced by IBM at the same time it announces agreements with Ubuntu, Red Hat and SuSE to work with local hardware partners to build and distribute "Microsoft-free" PCs. Systems will feature the Linux distros running IBM's OCCS and other open-source applications.

IBM said products would be tailored to vertical sectors and be branded by the local IT partners.

IBM added that shifting market forces, slow adoption of Windows Vista, and growing demand for alternatives to "costly" Windows and Office-based machines: "Offer a glimpse of the ripe market opportunity for Linux-based desktops to proliferate."

The company will also announce Novell's Linux Enterprise Server 10 as the first Linux distro to be shipped with a new line of self-managing server appliances targeting small businesses. The appliances, Linux Foundations, are designed to promote uptake of IBM's Domino email and collaboration software in SMBs.

Accompanying the news, IBM announced the Lotus Foundations ISV Developer Toolkit, which it said would simplify packaging of Domino applications for appliances.®

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