Canonical seeks profit from free Ubuntu (ZDNet)
Posted Oct 7, 2006 9:30 UTC (Sat) by drag
In reply to: Canonical seeks profit from free Ubuntu (ZDNet)
Parent article: Canonical seeks profit from free Ubuntu (ZDNet)
What I would do if I was Shuttleworth is concentrate on Free-as-Beer Linux desktop and support elements.
I think that if he can get a desktop setup similar to Microsoft's small business server setup then that would be great.
Say it has two parts. Ubuntu SMB server and Ubuntu SMB client.
* Imap email
* Groupdav/Caldav calendering.
* Webdav document management.
* Secure SSL/TSL LDAP (either self-cert, or install option for working with a CA. Also provide documentation on how a company can setup it's own CA) For authentication, user accounts, address books, machine configurations, etc. Maybe with Kerberos if that makes sense, I am not sure if it does.
* File sharing.
* Web-based management console.
Options for Filtering web proxy. Anti-virus, Anti-spam, Windows client integration.
Also maybe support for 'roaming profiles' Linux-style with network'd home directories.. maybe secure it with NFS over OpenVPN? Since you're doing the CA stuff already...
Then with apt-proxy or a local caching deb mirror would be nice. So administrators can drop in custom software packages for large scale deployment and have a chance to test out new security fixes or package updates before they let them on their local mirror.
* Just a default standard nice Ubuntu install, but with user accounts and stuff preconfigured to work with the SMB server.
* Tie into the shared desktops.
Options for creating a default sample install and have that configuration uploaded to the server. Sort of like how you can do that with Cisco routers. Just a nice 'which additional packages' selection file and /etc/ configuration options.
Also be able to create defaults for adding new users and updating older accounts. Stuff like 'I would like a SMB share on their desktop by default' type stuff.
And maybe other stuff would be cool.
The idea being that if I can just waltz into a room with 30 desktop machines and 1 server machine I should be able to pop in a cdrom into the server press enter.. enter.. hostname.. timezone... yes.. yes.. enter.. and have that done. Then go and pop install cdrom in the desktops and press enter... hostname... etc etc. And have it 'Just Work'.
The most I may have to know is what a 'CA', unless I wanted to use the default for 'self cert' is and what a 'user account' is. And that would be about it. No having to edit /etc/nsswitch.conf or any of that sort of thing.
I think that is something that Ubuntu could do that they are in a unique position to do. The real great thing that Ubuntu does over something like Debian is have a great and easy to use Default Install.
If they can translate it to that 'workgroup' style install then that would be GREAT.
I don't expect anybody to follow what I say exactly.. But I am sure there is a default setup that is sane that would make sense for a small to medium workgroup of computers. It doesn't have to be perfect or do everything that everybody wants done, it just has to give a good base for people to work with.
Now stuff like this is perfectly possible to setup using Debian, or current Ubuntu, or Slackware or whatnot.. It's just that it's very difficult to setup, there is little documentation, everything is in little packages and there are dozens of configuration files and many little things that can go very wrong. Like not having DNS setup correctly can cause mysterious problems that will send people screaming. Having the entries in the wrong order in /etc/nsswitch.conf can cause machines to hang while booting up.
But if you can get a default install going.. Then it's actually pretty easy to use. Then people can look at it, see how it works, and all of a sudden they know how it works, how it is setup, and how to use it. It's much much much easier to learn things like LDAP if you have something that works first.
Otherwise you end up having to learn how to use it before you can even begin or even have anything to tinker with.
There are nice groupware projects. Web front ends for managing ldap. Samba file sharing and Windows support. Just nothing aviable to 'bring it all together'.
So this way people wanting to setup a 'Linux server' at home to go with their Linux or Windows desktop can end up having something that is very powerfull and works right out of the box. It'll help convince people how powerfull Linux can be and it can work fine for small businesses and large businesses and isnt' going to give them big increase in administration costs that Microsoft FUD says it will.
I don't think that this is something that Redhat could do. They don't understand the desktop if it walked right up and slapped them in the face. Novell could do it, and DOES do it, but it costs and they want support for their propriatory stuff. Debian couldn't do it, they have everything and it works and it doesn't require any patches or any special hacks and they have sample configs and everything.. but they simply are very focused on creating a do-all system. Slackware can't do it, it's just one guy. All those 'other' smaller distros lack the man power and budget to be able to get people in one place and setup a room full of computers and get it working. Mandriva? I doubt it. Linspire/Freespire? I don't think they are smart enough.
But Ubuntu? I think that they can do it and do a very good job of it.
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