From the ‘Desktop/Server Support Parity‘ files:
One of the strange things about Canonical’s Long Term Support (LTS) releases has always been the disparity between the length of support on the desktop vs. the server. LTS releases today provide 5 yrs of support on the server and 3 on the desktop, but that’s going to change with the 12.04 release.
It’s a long time coming, in my view and I’m shocked that it has taken Canonical this long to figure this out.
In contrast with other enterprise Linux vendors though, Canonical still lags far behind in terms of support length. Both Red Hat and SUSE offer as much as 10 years of support for their enterprise releases. While 10 years is likely not necessary for desktop support, it is for mission critical infrastructure, where hardware refreshes are less frequent.
While Canonical is now extending desktop support to meet enterprise needs, they’re also re-aligning their business as well. Chris Kenyon is set to be the new leader of a combined Sales and Business Development team, that brings together sales support teams of OEM and Corporate Services.
In addition to sales, Canonical is now also creating a unified Professional and Engineering Services team, which is also something that is long overdue.
“The synergy that can be harnessed through the shared learning and execution within these support and engineering teams will make Canonical more efficient and adroit in resolving the knotty issues our partners and customers face from the desktop to the cloud,” Canonical CEO Jane Silver wrote in a blog post.
All told, what all these changes mean to me is that Canonical is recognizing that it needs to get even more serious about how it handles enterprise customers. Re-alignments only happen because there is a driving factor behind them. In this case, I suspect that factor is pure economics. Having a more streamlined operation for sales and support is both more efficient and likely more profitable.
What’s also interesting to me is that I don’t see the title of CTO, which had been held by Matt Zimmerman as having been directly replaced. That said, Shuttleworth is still leading technical strategy and Rick Spencer leads the engineering team (but he doesn’t officially hold the CTO title AFAIK).
I suspect that there will be even more changes within the ranks of Canonical before the 12.04 release. Building an enterprise OS platform company is no easy task.