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March 1, 1999

MAJOR VENDORS ANNOUNCE LINUX SUPPORT, INVESTMENTS

By CBR Staff Writer

The Linux OS and open source software movement received its biggest endorsement yesterday when industry heavyweights including IBM Corp, Hewlett-Packard Co, Oracle Corp, Intel Corp and Computer Associates Inc lined up at the LinuxWorld trade show to lend their support and announce investments in the platform. Both IBM and HP are expected to flesh out details of their Linux work leaked to the press last week (CI No 3,605). Specifically, HP will discuss its partnership with the Canadian firm, Puffin Group to adapt Linux for HP’s main line of business computers. IBM, on the other hand will give more details about its tie-up with Linux vendor RedHat Software. Under the alliance, IBM will distribute the free OS with its Netfinity Servers, PC300 commercial desktops, IntelliStations and ThinkPads. And today Big Blue is also expected to make an announcement with rival supplier, Caldera Systems. Speaking to ComputerWire Monday, Caldera’s CEO Ransom Love, said the two companies would announce a partnership through which they will work together to integrate many of IBM’s applications, services and its directory with the free OS. Love said that all the services and applications that make up Linux will be accessible through IBM’s directory and sold as part of a server hardware package, through IBM. Although there’s no up-front investment from IBM on the cards at the moment, Love didn’t rule out that one might be forthcoming in the future. He drew parallels between Caldera’s relationship with IBM and its alliance with MTI Technology Corp. He said MTI and Caldera first started off with a solutions-based partnership, similar to today’s announcement with IBM, but that MTI was about to extend that partnership by announcing a substantial investment in the Linux distributor. Love added that Caldera would also use the conference to release version 2.2 of its Linux OS, which he said would begin shipping in April. The software is the first to provide a fully graphical install of Linux, Love said, enabling users to load the OS more easily than before. Hitherto, users have criticized the software for being difficult to load compared with rival Windows-based OSes. With our latest version, customers can be up and running within five to ten minutes, Love said. Following the news of its investment in RedHat back in September last year (CI No 3506), chip giant Intel also used the first day of the show to announce an unspecified investment in VA Research, a Linux hardware and software vendor, to begin developing the standard Linux OS kernel for its IA-64 processors. The investment is one of the first endorsements of Linux Standards Base (LSB); an initiative by the major Linux distributors (Caldera, RedHat and Suse and Co) to standardize on a single version of the Linux kernel and OS libraries. Oracle Corp is another vendor due to be making to be making a series of announcements at the show. As well as offering 8i support for both RedHat and Caldera’s versions of Linux, the database vendor is rumored to be making an investment in RedHat, although neither company would give any details as we went to press. Meanwhile, Computer Associates Inc said that it plans to port its Unicenter TNG network and systems management software to RedHat Linux, enabling the free OS to be managed and monitored through the software. RedHat investor (CI No 3,506), Netscape Communications Corp, extended its commitment to the platform with the news that it now supports the open source OS in its Netscape Directory Server, Netscape Messaging Server and Netscape Delegated Administrator software. The company also said it is working with several Linux systems vendors including Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and VA Research Linux Systems, as well as vendors Caldera and Red Hat Software, to ensure comprehensive Linux support is available for Linux-based server software, operating systems, and hardware platforms. Addressing the Linux scalability market, Oakland, California-based Pacific HiTech, said it plans to unveil a high- availability Linux clustering solution, called TurboLinux Cluster Web Server, for the Intel platform at LinuxWorld. Due to ship in May, the web application server and OS bundle will scale from two to as many as 30 to 40 servers, and includes functions for automatic load balancing and fault tolerance, according to Pacific HiTech officials. There were also a slew of service announcements, including one from Dell Computer Corp, which plans to collaborate with LinuxCare Inc, the San Francisco based company that offers technical support for Linux-based systems, to offer service agreements for its servers.

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