Four Linux development companies, banding together under the rubric of UnitedLinux, hope that streamlining development and certification of a standards-based Linux distribution tailored to enterprise needs can get Linux up to speed in a market where it still lags. But Red Hat shouldn't worry just yet.
The companies -- Caldera, Connectiva, SuSE, and TurboLinux -- plan to collaborate on a single common core Linux operating system certified to work across a number of hardware and software platforms. Each partner will be able to market the UnitedLinux environment under its own brand and include its own valued-added products and services. In addition, the companies will work together on research and development A number of enterprise hardware and software vendors are supporting the effort, among them are AMD, Borland Software, Computer Associates, Fujitsu, Siemens, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, NEC, Progress Software, and SAP. Part of the appeal, no doubt, is the idea of a somewhat consolidated market, which means fewer distributions for vendors to certify.
"We began discussions on a unified Linux for business over a year ago," says Peter Beckman, vice president of engineering at TurboLinux Inc., Brisbane, CA. "The whole world is switching over to Linux. Our enterprise customers are replacing their legacy computing environments with massive rollouts of Linux. Enterprise customers don't want the latest experimental Linux features crammed into a distribution that changes critical software interfaces every couple months."
As a standards-based distribution, UnitedLinux will support LSB, Li18nux, and GB18030 standards. It will provide one unified Linux code base for the IBM eServer product line, AMD's Athlon-and Opteron-based platforms (both the current 32-bit and forthcoming 64-bit), and Intel's x86 32-bit and Itanium processor platforms. UnitedLinux will be available for installation in English, German, French, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, and Simplified and Traditional Chinese.
So far, so good -- if UnitedLinux lives up to its pre-release promise. The four companies plan to have UnitedLinux-based server products on offer by the end of this year.