Come this October, Windows 7 will go on sale, and this release, I strongly believe will be one of the greatest challenges Linux will ever face. Ubuntu Linux will also make a release within that same time and given the generally positive reviews that Windows 7 has received, it is going to be a very difficult time for Canonical to market Ubuntu. This is because every review of the new Ubuntu release is going to be relative to Windows 7 which has so far received positive reviews from a large section of the public . It is in this regard that I believe the following five points, when strategically marketed by Canonical, can help it to stem the tide of the gigantic Windows 7..
Ubuntu Server / Virtualization
First on the list is that Canonical must focus more on promoting the server aspect of the Ubuntu OS. Yes Ubuntu is widely known an excellent desktop OS, but very few know that Ubuntu also has a server OS that has been certified to run on several server configurations including HP’s Proliant range of servers and others from Dell, IBM, Lenovo among others. ISVs like Alfresco and Openbravo also have enterprise products built on Ubuntu server edition. There is also the Canonical-IBM Virtual Bridges partnerships that aims at virtualizing Ubuntu desktops on Linux servers. These are very important components of the Ubuntu OS that Canonical must publicize to help it stand up to the new Windows 7.
More and more OEMs are now shipping their systems with Ubuntu Linux preinstalled, notable amongst them being Dell (who now ship their systems with Ubuntu 9.04) and more niche manufacturers like Zareason and System76. Canonical must make this kind of partnerships more known to the masses since people tend to have confidence in an OS when OEMs choose to preinstall it and also gives the OS a more professional appeal.
Cloud is the future of computing and Canonical must tell the world Ubuntu’s readiness for the cloud. The Enterprise cloud service from Canonical must be highly publicized to inform people of its existence.
Given the fact that more and more people are now carrying out their tasks on the go, Ubuntu must be placed in such a strategic position as to be an option for people when it comes to mobile computing. The UNR must be more aggressively marketed to this end.
Training / Support
The traditional norm used to be that users of Ubuntu had to turn to the Ubuntu Forums for support. This really did not do a lot of good to the OS in the enterprise market. However, Canonical now offers a variety of support services that have been tailored to meet the needs of its users. This must be made know to all users and prospective ones as well. There is also now formal training from Canonical for both corporate and individual Ubuntu users. This is a very good move which when properly developed over time, can grow to rival Microsoft’s MSCE. This is a strong advantage that must be marketed as well.
The list can go on, but these are what I strongly feel should be very well publicized by Canonical if Ubuntu stands a chance of sustaining the success it has chalked over the years especially at the expense of the unprecedented disappointment of Windows Vista.
What do you think can be done to sustain the growth of Ubuntu in the face of the relatively positive reviews Windows 7 has received? Please share your thoughts.