Feeds

Shuttleworth's Ubuntu makes like Space Shuttle

I'm a Rocketman. Again

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Seven Steps to Software Security

It looks like astronaut and tech magnate Mark Shuttleworth's investment in the Ubuntu commercial Linux distribution is about to pay off. Ubuntu is taking off like a rocket, and the sale of Novell to Attachmate plus the higher prices Red Hat is charging for its Enterprise Linux 6 are probably going to fuel Ubuntu's adoption even more in the data centers of the world.

The third Long Term Support release, Ubuntu 10.04, came out in April and seems to have been a turning point for the Ubuntu distribution. With that release, Canonical demonstrated that it could tame the Debian variant of Linux and put together a polished desktop and server operating system with commercial-grade support options like those available through Red Hat and Novell. On the server front, the server variant of the 10.04 LTS release had all of the new or impending x64 processors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices baked into it as well as a fully integrated variant of the Eucalyptus cloud framework for creating cloudy infrastructure for applications to romp around.

Neil Levine, vice president of corporate services at Canonical, said that the initial LTS release, 6.06, put a stake in the ground, establishing the five-year support guarantee for servers and three-year term for desktops. LTS 8.04 saw a healthy uptake among corporations looking for alternatives to Solaris, RHEL, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and even Windows sometimes and proved the quality of the distro that Canonical could bring to market. With the 10.04 LTS release, Canonical proved to companies that the two-year cadence for new LTS releases was real and that Ubuntu could be trusted to run with the big boys.

So how is Canonical doing money-wise now that 10.04 LTS has been out for seven months? Stellar, apparently.

"We see a great, great year financially for my division," Levine told El Reg in an interview. The prior two LTS releases as well as the interim releases are being deployed by programmers and system administrators as companies build out applications - the same way that proprietary minicomputers, Unix machines, and Windows boxes all made their way into the data center in their successive waves over the past three decades. "When people realize they have a hundred servers running Ubuntu, they realize they need a commercial relationship with Canonical."

And thus, for the past three calendar quarters, the number of support contracts for Ubuntu's desktop and server distributions collectively have been doubling each quarter. Levine is projecting a three-fold increase in support revenues at Canonical in the company's current fiscal year, which ends in March 2011. Interestingly, the server revenue stream is growing a lot faster these days than the overall support contract revenue growth, says Levine, and is approaching a 50-50 split.

Server support contracts cost a lot more and are therefore driving that revenue growth. This was the long-term plan that Shuttleworth always had, of course. Step One: Build a Windows alternative for desktops, seed the market with Ubuntu enthusiasts. Step Two: Build a Unix and Windows alternative for servers, seed the market with more enthusiasts. Step Three: Profits!

As you know, Canonical does not put call-home programs in its Ubuntu Server editions, so it actually is clueless how many people are using Ubuntu Server. And being a private company, it is certainly not going to share the revenue numbers and customer counts it has for companies that have bought Ubuntu Server support contracts. But Levine did provide El Reg with some outside data from Netcraft, the Web server counters, to show how Ubuntu is doing at least as well as El Reg's world-famous PARIS Vulture 1 paper spaceplane.

Mobile application security vulnerability report

Next page: The numbers

More from The Register

next story
Apple fanbois SCREAM as update BRICKS their Macbook Airs
Ragegasm spills over as firmware upgrade kills machines
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Captain Kirk sets phaser to SLAUGHTER after trying new Facebook app
William Shatner less-than-impressed by Zuck's celebrity-only app
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
EU dons gloves, pokes Google's deals with Android mobe makers
El Reg cops a squint at investigatory letters
Chrome browser has been DRAINING PC batteries for YEARS
Google is only now fixing ancient, energy-sapping bug
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Reducing security risks from open source software
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Consolidation: the foundation for IT and business transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.