IBM Snuggles up to Ubuntu (Again)

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The announcement last week of a “Microsoft-free” desktop solution from IBM has naturally been garnering headlines, in part because it's a re-invention of the IBM's favourite, the palaeolithic dumb terminal, recast as a trendy virtual desktop:

IBM, Virtual Bridges and Canonical today announced general availability of a Linux-desktop solution designed to drive significant savings compared with Microsoft-desktop software by amplifying Lotus collaboration software and Ubuntu to a larger user base through virtualization.

This solution runs open standards-based email, word processing, spreadsheets, unified communication, social networking and other software to any laptop, browser, or mobile device from a virtual desktop login on a Linux-based server configuration.

A virtual desktop looks like a traditional desktop but is not limited to a single physical computer. Instead, many virtual Linux desktops are hosted on a server. The combined solution includes:

Virtual desktop provided by Virtual Bridges called Virtual Enterprise Remote Desktop Environment (VERDE);
Ubuntu, the worldwide leading Linux desktop operating system, from Canonical; and
IBM Open Collaboration Client Solution software (OCCS) based on IBM Lotus Symphony, IBM Lotus Notes and Lotus applications. IBM Lotus Symphony is built on the Open Document Format (ODF).

But what struck me was that once again IBM had chosen to work closely with Ubuntu. It's a good match: plucky GNU/Linux distro, with lots of street-cred but not much welly in the enterprise, and massive old Big Blue, still looking for way to win back some of the influence it once had on the desktop with the original, open-architecture PC (and which it blew with the closed PS/2 that followed it.)

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