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Why doesn’t IBM just take our advice and support Ubuntu?

Just asking. Its a matter of time in my opinion. Lotus, which currently has a Nitix-based appliance style offering, would be a good trial balloon platform. Lots of community interest in Ubuntu. People choose SLES or RHEL because they have to. Ubuntu because they want to.

disclosure: IBM is a client. Stephen O’Grady is a mad Ubuntu fan.

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7 Responses

  1. Many people choose SLES or RHEL b/c the want to. I think it was in the first quarter that RH reported 10,000 new (and paying) customers – that’s a lot.

    On the desktop/client side, I think RHEL slipped behind for a while (they’ve done better w/RHEL5) and SLES 10 SP1 is possibly ahead of Ubuntu in some respects. I think Novell gets “enterprise desktop” more than most.

    You have to think about IBM’s customer set – the reality is that home/individual/enthusiast users won’t buy IBM at all (there’s no 1 person Domino/Notes bundle I’m aware of) and small business users don’t tend to buy IBM so what would IBM+Ubuntu really change? Most of the enterprise and medium business IBM attracts are perfectly happy with RHEL/SLES as is because they want to pay for a support contract, they want supported updates, they don’t mind writing a check for it… Support would create noise for a few weeks and then what…? There are some potential angles to play, but it’s not so easy to just say “support it and they will come”… has Sun announced any customers using Ubuntu on Niagara after they announced support?

  2. I see. No surprises to see this answer, Mike, but its still disappointing. You seem to be saying the status quo is the status quo, and lets stick with it. That is the thinking that concentrates IBM’s profits in the Fortune 2000.

    “the reality is that home/individual/enthusiast users won’t buy IBM at all”. Well no they won’t – not if you don’t offer them something. Markets are made, not just born. IBM needs to commit if it wants to win. RedMonk pays Google for mail- are you really saying you don’t want our money? We have tried to find options to use Lotus before, and IBM has always failed to deliver. Its not the customers failing…

    small business users dont *tend* to buy IBM. Again-isn’t that something IBM is supposed to be trying to change. I just read IBM is reshaping its sales operations to sell more effectively to smaller businesses….

    Its self-fulfilling. Of course if IBM thinks it can’t change or succeed in new markets, then it won’t.

    On Sun Ubuntu and Niagara that is a great question (i will follow up) but perhaps a different one will point to the reality of use vs payment vs adoption… which is that so many enterprises are now running Open Solaris on HP gear… build it.. .and they sometimes *will* come. Don’t build it and they certainly won’t.

    IBM has done the work in the labs to package in this way – why not offer a limited download/alpha. that’s how to judge demand- not telling the market it doesn’t need something that many of your partners are ASKING for.

    Lotus ignored customer demand for SmartSuite on Linux for the longest time. Sure you have a strategy for the desktop again now, but I do think some of the recalcitrance here is the IBM’s not the markets.

    jgovernorJuly 26, 2007 @ 9:48 amReply
  3. I should also point out that both Zimbra and Open Xchange now support Ubuntu. What do those small organisations know about support costs that IBM doesn’t?

    jgovernorJuly 26, 2007 @ 9:50 amReply
  4. One thing I don’t understand, is why DB2 is certified for Ubuntu, but, as far as I’m aware, is the only product from IBM lucky enough?

    The vast majority of the search referrals to my blog include the words “ubuntu” and “lotus”. I’m interested, and I know there are plenty of others out there too.

    Thanks for the post!

  5. simon – that is a bloody good point. not sure why IBM didn’t point that out. i had forgotten. i assume its because the DB2 viper folks have a clue about developers, after years of not appealing directly to them.

    jgovernorJuly 31, 2007 @ 9:06 amReply



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Continuing the Discussion

  1. [...] is the small matter of DB2 support, as Simon Scullion reminded me this morning. Doh! I assume DB2 supports Ubuntu as part of its ambitions to foster better developer penetration. [...]

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