IBM Fights Microsoft With Virtual Linux Desktop

IBM on Thursday said it is working with Virtual Bridges and Canonical to develop a Ubuntu Linux-based solution with Lotus collaboration software to drive significant savings compared to Microsoft's desktop software.

Virtual Bridges, Austin, Texas, is the developer of the VERDE Linux-only virtual desktop infrastructure solution with an integrated connection broker, KVM-based virtual machine technology, multimedia and sound support, local printing support and other typical Windows-based solution features.

IBM said the new solution lets customers log into a Linux-based server to run open-standards-based e-mail, word processing, spreadsheets, unified communications, social networking and other software on any device, including laptop and desktop PCs, browser-based devices, or mobile devices.

The solution includes Virtual Bridges' VERDU, Canonical's Ubuntu Linux desktop operating system and IBM's Open Collaboration Client Solution software, based on IBM Lotus Symphony, IBM Lotus Notes and Lotus applications.

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Thursday's news builds on announcements throughout 2008 around delivering Microsoft-alternative desktops in conjunction with partners. This solution is now a key component of IBM's financial services front office transformation offering as well as part of the IBM public sector industry solution framework.

"The financial pressures on organizations are staggering and the management of PCs is unwieldy," said Inna Kuznetsova, director, IBM Linux Strategy, in a statement. "Today's virtual desktop is delivering superior collaborative software, an innovative delivery method, and an open-source operating system that is demanding clients' consideration."

IBM claims the solution gives companies significant cost savings over Microsoft-based desktops.

These include an average software cost avoidance of $500 to $800 per user for Microsoft Office, Windows and related products; an average hardware cost avoidance of about $258 per user by eliminating the need to upgrade hardware to support Windows Vista and Office 2007; an average cut in power consumption because of lower hardware and air conditioning requirements of $60 to $218; and significant savings in IT administration and support costs.

The new virtual PC solution is currently available. Pricing for a 1,000-user VERDE deployment is $49 per user.