Everybody knows that Ubuntu is the most popular GNU/Linux distro for the desktop. Everybody knows that it has achieved that distinction be concentrating on that sector, unlike Red Hat, say, which is aiming at the corporate market. Everybody knows these things, and everybody is wrong. Because, very cunningly, Ubuntu is trying a tricky strategy: to insinuate itself into the highly-profitable corporate sector without losing its cachet as the user-friendly distro for newbies.
Here's its latest move, described in a posting on Canonical's blog:
HP are partnering with us to move towards full certification of Ubuntu on Proliant servers - more about this over the next few months. This will give another layer of assurance to users and customers - particularly in the enterprise - with market leader HP recognizing the growing importance of Ubuntu to enterprise and SMB customers. The certification means HP will list Ubuntu as a supported operating system and verify the work undertaken by Canonical to ensure full certified compatibility. Furthermore both companies are fully co-operating at the engineering level to provide full underlying confidence for HP customers using the certified servers.
The same post fills in a little background to Ubuntu's enterprise activity:
Moving Ubuntu into the enterprise, especially on the server, has been a significant undertaking. While the Ubuntu Server Edition has been around since late 2005, it really came into its own in mid 2006 with Ubuntu 6.06LTS — the first Long Term Supported version. The LTS versions are released every two years and supported for a full five years on the server.
Since then the product has been enhanced significantly, shipping with the best open source tools. For those wishing to take advantage of the latest kernel builds and utilities the Server version tracks the regular Ubuntu’s six-month cadence. It is proving to be a very popular platform with hundreds of thousands of corporate and SMB users globally.
It's quite clear that this is part of a long-term strategy to make Ubuntu fully enterprise ready. That can only be good for enterprises – given Canonical's success on the desktop - and for Ubuntu.