Impi Linux 7.05 released

By   |  May 7, 2007

Impi Linux 7.05, a South Africa-developed version of the popular [1]Ubuntu[/1] Linux operating system was released today.

Impi Linux, which is majority-owned by Mark Shuttleworth’s HBD venture capital business, has been primarily active to date in the South African public sector with it’s version of [2]Linux[/2].

With this release Impi Linux is undoubtedly looking to extend its commercial foothold and has included a number of features targeted at the enterprise user market including file and email encryption, groupware-enabled email, NTFS support and directory (LDAP) authentication.

And in between the team has been working on a couple of nice-to-haves such as better iPod support.

Tectonic put some questions to Impi Linux MD, Gary Fortuin, on the latest release and ongoing plans for the operating system.

Tectonic: Why Impi? Why not just resell Ubuntu Linux?
Gary Fortuin: Firstly, Ubuntu, is and always will be free. Ubuntu is the best Linux desktop OS in the world as per Distrowatch and a number of other sites. The platform is as stable as it gets and a great place for us to start.

We however, take this platform and customise it to suit the exact requirements of our customers. We also have the ability to add or remove applications as the customers see fit. We find that in most other environments, our customers are forced to change the way they do business to suit the technology rather than the other way round. This is something we plan on changing.

We have engaged with a number of departments and we are in the process of building our South African Government Distro. By this we mean, we will very shortly have a distro that will work in most government departments with 80 percent functionality. We would only then need to do 20 percent customisation during the installation process. We are very focused on delivering this within the next few months.

Tectonic What is the target market for Impi Linux?
GF: Impi is a commercial organisation and whilst our current focus is on the public sector, we have engaged with the private sector as well. We are one of the three technologies chosen to deliver on the Sita tender 428.

Our target market is really any organisation who would like to move off their proprietary software stack to an OSS platform while being ensured by the fact that their environment will be supported both on the desktop and the server without having to employ extensive additional resources.

Tectonic: Can you give us an idea of some of the features and capabilities that make up this release of Impi?
GF: It is based on Ubuntu 7.04, which is modern, user-friendly and “just works”.

Secondly it is focused on business. File and email encryption, desktop search, groupware-enabled email and directory (LDAP) authentication work out of the box.

We have enhanced support for iPods as well as support for NTFS. It also has support for all 11 official languages. Thanks to Translate.org.za for this.

We are currently the only vendor to cater for a complete OSS business ready solution. As we have experienced with our customers, a natural progression after a OSS desktop rollout is to reconsider all the proprietary server side solutions. We now have a complete OSS groupware replacement that compliments our desktop offering thereby allowing customers to migrate entirely away from proprietary software.

Tectonic: Now that version 7.05 of Impi has been released what next? What will your development team be working on for the next release?
GF: You can expect a service release for the desktop to add more bundled applications (Java, we hope flash, skype, etc). Also expect desktop management capabilities for enterprises (monitoring, provisioning).

We are hard at work on our server offering as well. Our release (ImpiLinux 7.05) is designed to work with our Impi Enterprise Server which is based on Kolab and Samba. Due to customer demand we are building a platform designed to interoperate well between the client and server and provide a turnkey solution.

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