Remixing Ubuntu for the Enterprise Desktop

Friday, February 10th, 2012

We’re publishing an initial version of the Ubuntu Business Desktop Remix today, based on Ubuntu 11.10.

Deployment teams have long been modifying their Ubuntu installs to remove features like music players or games and add components that are a standard part of their business workflow.

This remix takes the most common changes we’ve observed among institutional users and bundles them into one CD which can be installed directly or used as a basis for further customization. Before anyone gets all worked up and conspiratorial: everything in the remix is available from the standard Software Centre.  Packages out, packages in. No secret sauce for customers only; we’re not creating a RHEL, we already have an enterprise-quality release cadence called LTS and we like it just the way it is. This is a convenience for anyone who wants it. Having a common starting point, or booting straight into a business-oriented image makes it easier for institutional users to evaluate Ubuntu Desktop for their specific needs.

This work was first discussed at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in October. We consulted with the Ubuntu Technical Board and Ubuntu Release Team, to ensure that the finished product met the standards of the Ubuntu project.  Doing so resulted in a commitment to enable community participation in the packaging of some of the pieces that are important to enterprise users.

Ubuntu makes a point of openness to heterogeneous environments. We celebrate the point that the Ubuntu desktop can be highly useful, beautiful, functional and complete without any proprietary applications at all, while recognising that some people need to work with proprietary software on occasion, making sure that software is available and certified for Ubuntu, and making it easy to install. Remixes can include non-free software and still retain the Ubuntu name, as long as they can be brought back to the standard Ubuntu experience with straightforward package management tools and no risk of divergence on the hardware and security front.

Since we established the system of remixes, the Technical Board has defined guidelines for additional package archives which are exposed to Ubuntu users through the Software Centre. We’ve clarified with the Technical Board that remixes can draw from any such archives.

<blink>Registration required</blink> 😉 Some applications like VMWare View are included in this release under a proprietary license so download is covered by an EULA, and this image can’t be mirrored unless you make prior arrangements with the relevant ISVs. Boring, but better to do it once than for every individual app. We will ask users who download it to provide feedback on how we might improve the product, and provide them with details of Canonical’s deployment services and management solutions.

Get it here.

52 Responses to “Remixing Ubuntu for the Enterprise Desktop”

  1. Canonical tailors Ubuntu for enterprises | Install Ubuntu Says:

    […] a separate post, Canonical chief Mark Shuttleworth insisted that his company was not creating a “secret […]

  2. Trond Says:

    I think this is great. The first thoughts that comes to mind is:
    Can it run 100% fluently in a Windows environment – Exchange servers, Active Directory , Roaming profiles and so on.
    (I can hear someone screaming Samba in the background, but it must be easily configurable / installable).

    I don’t think businesses mind paying for a Business Remix, as long as they know that the software they are getting can run other business applications and/or using their Excel sheets like they do now.

    I do fear – how ever – that Unity / Gnome 3 might be a bit drastic / new for business users.

    Keep up the good work with Ubuntu!