[sf-lug] IBM selling Linux computers

Jesse Zbikowski embeddedlinuxguy at gmail.com
Tue Dec 9 18:30:54 PST 2008

On Mon, Dec 8, 2008 at 12:53 PM, Rick Moen <rick at linuxmafia.com> wrote:
> You _did_ get that implication
> of the "virtualization layer" of VERDE, right?  (Again, the
> Canonical/IBM/Virtual Bridges bundle includes both local and SaaS code,
> but I'm talking about the latter.)  We're not talking about Win4Lin,
> VMware, etc.  We're talking -hosted- applications:  Both the code and
> _your_ data live on a centralised server -- somebody else's centralised
> server -- and you pay by the month/year for access to both.

Rick, I fear you may be laboring under a misapprehension about this
product. By my reading, VERDE is selling proprietary virtual desktop
software that you deploy on your own server.  Neither IBM, VERDE, nor
Canonical is offering to host anything.

The Information Week article is, I believe, misleading on the point of
hosting. It says "The system is designed to run in a virtual
configuration, with the software stored both locally and on remote
servers".  That would seem to suggest they want their customers to
connect to their data center over the Internet, which would host the
virtual desktop images.  However I believe "remote servers" here
refers to your own servers in your own data center, providing desktops
within your own LAN and/or VPN.

VERDE's product overview says you deploy their software on "Linux 2.6
(e.g. RedHat, Novell/SuSE, Ubuntu, etc.) or Solaris 10/OpenSolaris
(KVM-capable Linux 2.6.24 or newer kernel recommended)".


>From what I understand in the product overview, you (the
administrator) use the proprietary "VERDE Workstation" software to
customize a Linux system image, meaning you run it in their image
player and set up whatever software and configuration you want  for
your users.  It doesn't have to be Ubuntu; it says the guest OS can be
"most x86 Windows or Linux" (although some of the press information
says the guest OS must be Linux).  Then you use some more proprietary
VERDE software to serve the image.

So much for the main proprietary bits.  The client protocol appears to
be mostly open.  According to a quote in The Register, the client can
be "any device, wired or wireless, that talks X11, VNC, RDP, or runs
x86 Linux or Windows and can run our rich client application. This
covers most every type of popular client out there, including PCs,
laptops, workstations, thin clients, as well as today's subnotebook,
wireless, and mobile PCs."


I.e., you get some lowest common denominator service over regular VNC,
but for the true desktop experience, you have to run the "rich client
application".  I don't know if that client is open source but the
product overview says at least the protocol is:

"The VERDE Clients Protocol utilizes the Virtual Bridges VDI remote
client protocol, an open source implementation combining the standard
RFB (VNC) protocol with remote device access functions. This mechanism
allows clients to remotely display server sessions even over
low-bandwidth connections, as well as perform local device functions
such as printing and audio playback... Given the open source
architecture of the VERDE Client Protocol, the mechanism is completely
extensible and can easily be amended to support new devices and

It seems to me that this is basically about VERDE and their Virtual
Desktop Infrastructure (VDI), with IBM and Canonical just along for
the ride: Canonical and their $10/user/month support plan and IBM
chipping in their Lotus software (oh boy, I guess you don't have to
use it though).


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