Canonical to offer Ubuntu desktop support

Do you want to save desktop support money? Do you have Windows and Mac-using friends or co-workers who want to try desktop Linux? Well, in either case, you're going to want to check out Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company, latest desktop support offerings: Starter, Advanced and Professional.

Canonical will be announcing these new support services for the Ubuntu desktop for individuals and small businesses tomorrow, July 31st, in London. These services are particularly designed for small business owners who are looking for cost effective alternatives to Windows and Apple Mac.

You may not have know it, but Canonical has long been in the Linux support business. With this new offering, though, Canonical is making a special effort to reach individual users and SMBs (small-to-medium businesses) users.

Steve George, director of Canonical's Corporate Services division, said, "Canonical's Desktop Support Services provides an easy, inexpensive way to get Ubuntu up and running in the home, home office and small business - reaching the vast majority of computer users. With our team supporting them, Ubuntu is ideal for people who just want their computer to work, where the goal is to get up and running with no fuss, focusing on the things they want to accomplish." George added, "So, if you have an old computer, or you're just stuck with Vista, you can install Ubuntu and experience peace."

To be exact, here's what Canonical is offering with its new Desktop Support Services. First, you get both phone and e-mail support with all these plans. You also, of course, Ubuntu updates and upgrades.

The Starter Desktop Service supports installation, set-up and basic functionality. To Canonical that means helping you to use the Internet, creating documents play music and videos and so on. For a year's support, it will cost you 54.99. A three-year plan will run you $140.22. I see this as a home-user plan.

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 personnel accounting. According to the Ubuntu store's description, "The Advanced support service for Ubuntu Desktop Edition is for experienced users who use a wide range of features and applications. Ubuntu Desktop Edition is a computer operating system made available free of charge every six months for use with PCs. This service enables an Ubuntu user to perform an advanced installation, use a wide range of applications and manage their system, with access to Canonical's expert team if there are any problems.' This plan costs $ 114.98 per year or $293.23 for three-years. This is the plan that would be appropriate for a business Ubuntu desktop user.

Finally, there's The Professional Desktop Service. This comes with installation support that ensures the Ubuntu machine is set up on the corporate network and integrated into existing IT services. And, yes, that includes help integrating your Linux desktop into a Windows networks. It also comes with support for desktop virtualization and guarantees you quicker access to support personnel. This plan, which is what I'd give to your office network or system administrator, starts at $ 218.54 per year or 558.42 for three-years.

Sounds high to you? If it does, you haven't priced Windows or Mac support lately.

While I would have liked to have seen group pricing-a five-user Advanced Desktop Service package for example-this is still an attractive deal. If you've been thinking about saving money by switching to desktop Linux, but the lack of an individual or SMB support plan was stopping you, you can take your foot off the brake now. Canonical is ready to get your Ubuntu desktop Linux rolling.

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