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  1. Technology
July 21, 1998


By CBR Staff Writer

In a move that has been interpreted as the turning point in mainstream acceptance of open source software, Oracle Corp and Netscape Communications Corp have said they will port key enterprise applications to free operating system Linux. Oracle’s announcement is particularly significant. By the end of the year, its industrial strength relational database Oracle8 will be available for Linux on Intel. Presumably somebody inside Oracle is thinking about an Alpha port as well, if this first venture turns out to be a success. Oracle promises free 90 day downloads of the database, and an Oracle Applications port to boot. Never one to be left out, Netscape has joined the fray by promising ports of Netscape Messaging Server and Netscape Directory Server. Corel Corp and Computer Associates Inc have already declared their support for the platform once derisively described as Hacker OS. So why Linux and why now? Why not Linux? said Netscape’s chief technology officer, server products division, Tim Howes. He believes the ports are coming all at once because the companies are acting on the same market data, it’s in response to market demand, because we see a market there and we believe Linux will be a major OS player in the future. It’s got a lot of mindshare in the developer community. Linux has also been hailed by some as the only feasible means of challenging Microsoft Corp’s stranglehold on desktop software. Could that perhaps have been a factor in Netscape’s decision? We certainly want there to be competition in the server operating system marketplace. Linux is instrumental to that, Howes concedes. But the game isn’t over yet. All our server products also run on NT, he points out, NT is our friend.

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