Most people, who like Linux, love Ubuntu. Oh they may object to Ubuntu's new Unity desktop, but at day's end, they still use Ubuntu. Technology businesses though have a more jaundiced view of Canonical, Ubuntu's parent company. Canonical, though, is now taking steps now to make its potential hardware and software partners happier.
The name of the game, according to Canonical, is to "provide enterprise customers with access to the tools and support they need to get maximum return from their Ubuntu infrastructure including round the clock support, Ubuntu Landscape management and monitoring tool, knowledge base and legal cover. Ubuntu Advantage helps to minimize any impact on mission-critical services and reduce the cost of system downtime. The Ubuntu Advantage partner program extends the availability of these services beyond Canonical and, for customers, adds local resources and responsiveness to the expertise that Canonical continues to provide."
What resellers will get out of this is the usual additional revenue streams from new services. In addition, Canonical promises that they'll get "marketing, technical, commercial and pre-sales support and an assigned account manager as part of the UA program."
After years of covering the reseller and enterprise market, I can safely tell you that neither resellers nor business customers like constant change from a company. They want, they need, a constant, steady channel program and product line. As a Linux lover, you probably find constant change and small improvements exciting. Businesses much prefer stability.
In addition, Canonical is simplifying its hardware certification program. In the past manufacturers had a choice of two levels of endorsement for systems: "Ubuntu Certified" and "Ubuntu Ready." Canonical recognized that this was confusing so starting with October's Ubuntu 11.10 release there will only be one Canonical-endorsed hardware certification program: Ubuntu Certified.
Just like resellers and corporate customers, original equipment manufacturers (OEM)s and original design manufacturer (ODM)s much prefer simple and stable over constant small changes and tweaks.
If Canonical is successful in doing all this, and in stabilizing it own management structure, then Canonical, and Ubuntu, will have a much better chance of moving from Linux lovers' desktops to corporate offices and server rooms. That's easier said than done though. We'll see how they do this time around.