Linux-Based virtual desktop from IBM and co.

IBM, Virtual Bridges and Canonical announced general availability of a Linux-desktop solution designed to drive significant savings compared with Microsoft-desktop software by amplifying Lotus collaboration software and Ubuntu to a larger user base through virtualization. This solution runs open standards-based email, word processing, spreadsheets, unified communication, social networking and other software to any laptop, browser, or mobile device from a virtual desktop login on a Linux-based server configuration.

A virtual desktop looks like a traditional desktop but is not limited to a single physical computer. Instead, many virtual Linux desktops are hosted on a server. The combined solution includes:

  • Virtual desktop provided by Virtual Bridges called Virtual Enterprise Remote Desktop Environment (VERDE);
  • Ubuntu, the worldwide leading Linux desktop operating system, from Canonical; and
  • IBM Open Collaboration Client Solution software (OCCS) based on IBM Lotus Symphony, IBM Lotus Notes and Lotus applications. IBM Lotus Symphony is built on the Open Document Format (ODF).

Today’s news builds on announcements throughout 2008 around delivering Microsoft-alternative desktops in conjunction with our partners. This solution is now a key component of IBM’s financial services front office transformation offering as well as part of the IBM public sector industry solution framework.

Two Views of the Virtual Desktop

From the end user’s point of view, the virtual desktop combining solution from IBM, Virtual Bridges and Canonical looks like a traditional desktop but is not limited to a single physical computer. Instead of the software and data being saved on a user’s desktop, the hosted applications permit the user to access the screen data. That means users can access their computers on any network-connected device anywhere they happen to be. Software fixes are automatically inherited to the user sessions without anyone having to visit the decentralized access point. All the applications that a user might need — such as email, calendaring, word processing and team collaboration — are available.

From the IT department’s view, the difference between virtual and physical desktop is significant. For this virtual system, all administrative intervention is done on consolidated virtual machines in the data center through deployment of standard images. When there is a software update required, the IT manager can do it centrally. The IT manager can run concurrent Linux desktop sessions from any x86 Linux server, such as a blade server. Users can access their Linux desktop sessions from not only endpoints running Linux, but Windows and Mac as well, which is critical as users seek standard application environments across heterogeneous physical desktops. The solution includes a seamless remote printing capability without the need to maintain drivers.

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