IBM, Canonical and Partners Launch Cloud- and Linux-based Netbook Software in Africa

Yesterday, IBM and Canonical introduced a new personal computing software package for netbooks and other thin client devices. Part of IBM's Smart Work Initiative, the new package targets the rising popularity of low-cost netbooks to make IBM's industrial-strength software affordable to new audiences in Africa. This is the first cloud- and premise-based Linux netbook software package offered by IBM and Canonical.

"This is a particularly exciting time in technology because we are seeing the emerging phenomenon of cloud computing which builds on the global connected nature of the internet and allows organizations to re-architect their computer infrastructure, with the internet at the heart of it, tapping into services wherever they may be in the cloud and delivering services directly to end users, directly to businesses in a more lightweight kind of fashion," says Mark Shuttleworth, founder, Canonical. "That is why LotusLive running on the IBM Smart Client, powered by Ubuntu is such an interesting solution because it really represents collaborative cloud computing in LotusLive built on an open source platform in Ubuntu, taking advantage of cloud services and architecture for the next generation." From a pricing point of view and from a services point of view, notes Shuttleworth, "this is something this is very interesting to emerging markets and conversely something that emerging markets will help to influence the shape and design and future of."

The IBM Client for Smart Work is now available across Africa and is being piloted for other emerging and growth markets worldwide. The solution includes open standards-based email, word processing, spreadsheets, unified communication, social networking and other software for any laptop, netbook, or a variety of mobile devices. It runs on Canonical's Ubuntu Linux operating system, and provides the option to deliver collaboration through the web in a cloud service model. This software bundle can also be extended to virtualized workspaces using VERDE from Virtual Bridges, which is available locally through business partners and voice-based collaboration pilots through IBM Research. IBM estimates that it delivers up to 50% savings per seat versus a Microsoft-based desktop.

With this new package, businesses can cultivate new suppliers and partners over the web through IBM's, which will allow them to expand service to new customers beyond their local area. Through virtualization of this collaboration software, they can exponentially increase their computing and collaboration power without additional infrastructure costs. A network of local service providers is expected to extend the IBM Client locally throughout Africa to government, educational institutions and businesses.

For more information about Canonical, go here.
For more on IBM's Smart Work Mandate, go here.