February 26, 2010, 1:10 PM — Canonical's Ubuntu has become third Linux operating system approved by the General Services Administration for use by federal purchasers. It joins Linux distributions from Red Hat and Novell, already available through the GSA Advantage purchasing program.
"This gives government purchasers the option of using Canonical's Ubuntu as well as its Landscape systems management and monitoring tool," said Cole Crawford, CTO of Autonomic Resources, an IT and service integration company approved to offer the products to federal customers.
Landscape will be offered as part of Autonomic's cloud computing platform for government customers. The infrastructure-as-a-service platform provides government customers with simplified computing power, storage and supporting infrastructure that can be acquired and utilized on-demand all from FISMA certified data centers with standard multi-factor authentication access.
"As adoption of the Cloud continues and the need for simplified infrastructure management grows, organizations will be looking for tools that work for physical and virtual assets," Crawford said. "Landscape offers a simple, fast and secure solution enabling IT departments throughout the federal government to quickly patch and update systems."
Ubuntu is currently the most popular operating system base for developers building cloud-based computing solutions, Crawford said. The open source operating system is already used in some government agencies, including NASA, but has not been widely available as it lacked GSA schedule pricing and support.
The addition of Ubuntu isn't expected to drastically alter the U.S. government's use of open-source operating systems and tools, but does give the public sector an additional option that private industry has long enjoyed.
Crawford said he could not estimate the potential value of Ubuntu sales to the federal government. His company is also a partner with Novell and Red Hat in supporting public sector customers.