The Linux computing crowd smells blood and wants to make a run at Microsoft's Vista operating system.
Coinciding with LinuxWorld, IBM, Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, Novell and Red Hat issued a joint statement promising "Microsoft free" desktops across the globe.
I doubt it will put a significant dent in Microsoft's market share tally, but the dogpile will be interesting to watch. IBM's Linux gang says it will deliver Lotus Notes and Symphony worldwide by 2009. The goal: Sprinkle the globe with Linux-based desktops in a year.
In a statement touting the partnership, the companies said the time is right to upend Windows and Office-based PCs. Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president for IBM's Lotus Software unit was a bit more blunt in a statement.
"The slow adoption of Vista among businesses and budget-conscious CIOs, coupled with the proven success of a new type of Microsoft-free PC in every region, provides an extraordinary window of opportunity for Linux. We'll work to unlock the desktop to save our customers money and give freedom of choice by offering this industry-leading solution."
The companies said they will work with hardware manufacturers to distribute a preloaded PC that includes "Lotus Notes, Lotus Symphony and Lotus Sametime; the Linux operating system of each distributor; and software applications and installation services from the local partners in each market."
Also see: CIOs: Storage, virtualization, IT staffing in; Consultants, Vista out
Mozilla: Threat to Windows or boilerplate risk factor?
Forrester: Vista is ‘New Coke’ in the enterprise; Firefox, Apple gain a little
Survey: Corporations hold out on VistaOther odds and ends worth noting:
The effort appears to be focused on emerging markets where the Linux message may resonate more. Austrian IT vendor VDEL was cited in the statement.
Note this statement plug:
The popularity of IBM OCCS (Open Collaboration Client Solution) on each Linux variant has grown dramatically in the past year. Thousands of people are working today on OCCS-powered Linux PCs across North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia. In North America, public school systems, local governments and IT firms such as the Government of Quebec Ministry of Service, CSS Corp. and IBM itself rely on OCCS. In Europe, customers include Radbound University in Netherlands; Constructora San Jose of Spain; and Dotriver in France, among others. In the eastern hemisphere, Safran Aerospace of India, SMB Outsourcing Park of China and Kennards Hire (manufacturing) of Australia are among the growing legions of MS-free advocates.
Ubuntu will re-distribute Lotus software in its repositories.
And the timing may be right for the desktop Linux effort--if not now when would it work. But it is telling that the effort is focused more on markets where folks may be more hostile to Microsoft than in the U.S.