Government // Mobile & Wireless
Commentary
7/31/2009
01:00 PM
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New Ubuntu Support Plans Built For Small-Biz Users

Ubuntu wants to win over more small-business Linux users with a new set of targeted, low-cost desktop tech support packages.

Ubuntu wants to win over more small-business Linux users with a new set of targeted, low-cost desktop tech support packages.Canonical, the company that created and currently maintains Ubuntu Linux, is taking a somewhat different approach to how it sells desktop technical support. From today's Canonical press release: "Canonical's Desktop Support Services includes three offerings: Starter, Advanced and Professional:

- The Starter Desktop Service provides support for installation, set-up and basic functionality - such as Internet, creating documents and playing music and videos.

- The Advanced Desktop Service is for more experienced users who need help migrating files and settings from a previously used operating system or assistance with desktop publishing and personal accounting.

- The Professional Desktop Service is for the business user who uses Ubuntu as their main environment. Installation support ensures the Ubuntu machine is set up on the corporate network and integrated into existing IT services. The Professional Desktop Service also helps set up desktop virtualization and ongoing support provides professional users with quicker access to support personnel." A one-year starter plan subscription will cost around $55, while the advanced and professional plans are priced at $115 and $220 a year, respectively. Three-year subscriptions are also available at a discount.

From where I'm sitting, the advanced and professional plans are probably the most interesting to small-business Linux users. While the former focuses on support issues relevant to everyday business desktop users, the latter is designed to solve problems that a small-business IT staffer is likely to face. That makes the two packages a very nice fit, although they also work well as stand-alone purchases.

Businesses who can get by without technical support are still free, of course, to download and work with Ubuntu free of charge. For small businesses, however, looking for an alternative to Windows without assuming the risk of performing without a net, these support plans look like a pretty good value.

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