HP To Certify Ubuntu On Proliant Servers

In a blog post earlier this week, Mark Murphy, alliances manager for Canonical, said the goal of the partnership is for HP to list Ubuntu as a supported operating system, thus validating Canonical's efforts to achieve full compatibility with HP servers.

"Furthermore, both companies are fully cooperating at the engineering level to provide full underlying confidence for HP customers using the certified servers," Murphy wrote in the blog post.

Ubuntu has recently been making great strides on the desktop. Last October, Canonical's release of Ubuntu 8.10 Desktop Edition, nicknamed "Intrepid Ibex," was praised by many testers -- including CRN's Test Center -- for its robust functionality and ease of use.

But Ubuntu on the server hasn't had the same prominence, which is why Stephen O'Grady, industry analyst for Redmonk, a Seattle-based open-source research firm, sees the HP-Canonical partnership as a major step forward for Ubuntu Server.

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"The fact that you'll be able to obtain Ubuntu pre-installed on HP servers is a big deal, and it's something that will help Ubuntu gain further traction in the market," O'Grady said.

One key strength of Ubuntu Server Edition is that it's based on the Debian Linux distribution, and there are "thousands and thousands" of application packages available for the platform, according to O'Grady. "The big question has been how many third-party developers are writing to Ubuntu on the server, and that has been sort of a chicken-and-egg situation," he said.

Frank Basanta, director of technology for Systems Solutions, a New York-based integrator, says certification from HP would move Ubuntu into the realm of leading Linux players like Red Hat and Novell. But Ubuntu also will have to show it's committed to supporting customers in order to continue gaining market share, he added.

"Canonical is trying to make sure Ubuntu gets market share and is supported by partners. That's important because anyone thinking of switching over to Ubuntu will look for the kind of strong support that Red Hat and Novell already have," Basanta said.