Mainframe Ubuntu Linux?

Sources close to Canonical and IBM are telling me that Ubuntu may soon be certified on IBM's System p mini-computers and blades and System z mainframes.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

When you think of "Ubuntu Linux," you probably think of the community Linux distribution and the Linux desktop. That's great, but Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company, also wants you to think of Ubuntu as a server and cloud operating system platform. To that end, Canonical has been working with IBM to get Ubuntu certified on IBM's high-end System P Power hardware line and System z mainframes.

Yes, that's right little Ubuntu Linux may soon be certified and running on top-of-the-line IBM enterprise hardware. Before this, Canonical worked successfully with IBM on bringing Ubuntu certifications for IBM's x86-powered System x and BladeCenter lines.

Officially, all Canonical has to say is "Our company policy is that we don't comment on any rumours that might be circulating. We'll of course keep you well informed of any news that comes out of Canonical." Away from public relations though I'm hearing that Canonical and IBM have working hard on expanding Ubuntu's reach on IBM hardware.

If all goes well, Ubuntu will be officially supported on System p within the month and it will be certified on the Z mainframes by year's end. This is happening because Canonical is working hard on increasing its business market share. While Ubuntu is arguably the single most popular Linux distribution with individuals, it's always lagged behind most Red Hat and SUSE, formerly Novell, in business. Canonical wants to change that.

In order to do that, Canonical has been improving its partnerships with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs); major server companies such as Dell, and its enterprise customers. This next step into high-end business computing with IBM makes perfect sense in pursuing this strategy.

As for IBM? Linux has been very, very good for IBM over the last decade and they're getting to like Ubuntu. Historically, IBM has allied with Red Hat and Novell/SUSE. But, as IBM's VP of Open Systems Development, Dan Frye told me recently, IBM is operating system and Linux agnostic. IBM will support what its customers want, and so, it appears to me, that IBM's customers must now be asking for Ubuntu. Sometime soon it looks like they'll be getting it.

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