IBM and Canonical Launch Linux- and Cloud-based Desktop Software in the U.S.

Open Standards-based Alternative to Microsoft Windows 7 Offers 50 Percent Savings, Runs on Existing Hardware

ARMONK, N.Y. – 20 Oct 2009: Today IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Canonical are introducing a cloud- and Linux-based desktop package in the U.S. designed for use on a company’s existing fleet of personal computers (PCs) or even low-cost netbooks.

The new IBM package can be embedded in business processes. It is compatible with SOA-based IT environments and gives people a complete, open, and secure alternative to closed and costly Microsoft desktop software.

Independent market estimates range up to $2,000 for the cost of migrating to the Windows 7 operating system for many PC users. New PC hardware requirements account for a significant portion of the added expense.

The IBM Client for Smart Work package, launched September 24 in Africa, was initially designed for emerging markets but sparked calls for the solution in the U.S. The U.S. version is arriving in time to help companies avoid the higher licensing, hardware upgrades and migration costs associated with Microsoft Windows 7.

“If a company is a ‘Windows shop,’ at some point it will need to evaluate the significant costs of migrating its base to Microsoft’s next desktop,” said Bob Picciano, General Manager, IBM Lotus Software. “American businesses have asked for a compelling alternative that can help them free up PC expenses to use for more strategic collaboration and business transformation projects.”

IBM and Canonical expect to enlist hundreds of partners to offer the IBM Client for Smart Work in the U.S. in 2010. The current partner ecosystem includes regional systems integrators, ZSL and CSS Corp; virtual desktop provider, Virtual Bridges, and its distributors, Midas Networks and KalariSys; and several online, vertical industry businesses. IBM is also targeting the education market by collaborating with university faculty through the IBM Academic Initiative.

The U.S. solution includes several open standards-based components:

  • Word processing, spreadsheets and presentations from IBM Lotus Symphony, which is a free-of-charge download on the Web;
  • Email from IBM Lotus Notes or the cloud-based LotusLive iNotes launched earlier this month, which starts at $3 per user, per month;
  • Cloud-based, social networking and collaboration tools from from $10 per user, per month; and
  • Ubuntu, an open platform for netbooks, laptops, desktops, and servers.

Since the IBM Client for Smart Work is based on Eclipse, Linux and open Web standards, it can integrate with any third-party software. This gives companies the freedom to use technologies of their choice, extend their functions and preserve existing investments.

“Canonical is proud to partner with IBM to help open up the American corporate  desktop through Ubuntu,” said Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and CEO of Canonical. “IBM’s smart client package running on Ubuntu will allow U.S. organizations the financial freedom to redistribute the costs of expensive software licenses into IT projects that will innovate and drive critical growth.”

The IBM Smart Work Initiative

The IBM Client for Smart Work enables you to deploy a desktop strategy that allows you to reduce costs of ownership up to 50% and at the same time increase organizational productivity. It is an optimized workspace with built in productivity and collaboration capabilities that can be embedded in business processes. It is compatible with, and complimentary to SOA-based IT environments and empowers users with a complete, open, easy to use, and security rich alternative to closed and costly Microsoft desktop software.

The IBM Smart Work initiative is designed to help companies become more efficient by better connecting their workers and business processes. The IBM Client for Smart Work helps achieve these objectives by cost-efficiently connecting the workforce through locally-based collaboration software and across firewalls through the cloud. The solution can be installed and tailored by IBM Global Technology Services and IBM Business Partners for specific job roles by mapping business services to human networking patterns. Essentially, the way people and organizations work can be improved through a combination of collaboration and business process modeling.

For example, the IBM Client for Smart Work can equip the members of a company’s marketing, sales and research departments with the means to quickly and efficiently collaborate. Business process modeling (BPM) can show workflows between sales and marketing, but very little between sales and research or marketing and research. Based on expertise residing in those functions and informal networks discovered through modeling, a company could find powerful insights from research playing an important role in sales and marketing efforts. It may turn out that an expert in R&D might be a company’s greatest resource for marketing content, but this expertise has to be identified and shared in order to provide the highest value to the organization. Through online communities on, this kind of insight can be tapped as needed for the benefit of an entire organization.

Companies can use the IBM BPM suite components such as WebSphere Dynamic Process Edition as required. Business leaders and business analysts can discover and explore business-relevant content to help them understand, experience, and accelerate business process management using IBM BPM BlueWorks.

IBM is targeting the IBM Client for Smart Work for a number of markets, including:

  • Large enterprises that have segments of employees for whom the PC on their desk is primarily a tool for collaboration, email, browser-based applications, and straightforward office productivity tasks.
  • Small- and medium-sized businesses that have discovered initial savings of free or low-cost Web-based email services but have grown frustrated with service outages, advertisements or security concerns.
  • Government organizations that want to leverage the Open Document Format for open standards-based office tools and industry-leading collaboration software to lower costs and self-fund mission critical initiatives. For this, IBM offers the package running on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.
  • Education customers that want to rapidly deploy netbooks for smarter classroom initiatives. For more information on how IBM Academic Initiative faculty can access the IBM Client for Smart Work, visit
  • Commuters who want to travel light can bootup their netbooks using a USB stick and then login to a virtual Linux desktop on the cloud using Virtual Bridges’s VERDE solution.

U.S.-based customers can purchase the IBM Client for Smart Work from business partners such as Canonical, CSS Corp., Compariv, Mainline, Midas Networks, Red Hat, Virtual Bridges and ZSL. The IBM Lotus client-side package runs on Canonical’s Ubuntu operating system, and provides the option to deliver collaboration through the Web in a cloud service model. Also available are alternate delivery models including an appliance using Lotus Foundations and in-premise using Lotus Domino and related collaboration software.

Price varies depending on the configuration and support requirements.

For more information, please visit: and

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