Linux community gathers for 10th anniversary

As the Linux community gathers this week in San Francisco to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Linux, a host of vendors led by IBM will roll out a range of products intended to boost the fortunes of the open operating system in corporate accounts.

At Linuxworld IBM will unwrap what company officials believe is the first e-commerce suite for Linux on mainframes. Version 5.1 of the Websphere Commerce Suite is intended to increase the global reach of corporate customers by making it easier to conduct e-business around the world as well as offering better customer support.

"Given that users are increasingly moving workloads to the zSeries [mainframe] platform, we see this as a significant offering. It will also help establish it as a platform ready to host mission-critical applications," said Dan Powers, IBM's director of Internet Technologies in Somers, N.Y.

Big Blue will also debut two new Intel-based xSeries servers aimed at the telecommunications industry. The models 300 DC and 330 DC are single-processor servers that can be rack mounted, up to 72 servers per rack. The servers are equipped with self-managing, self-healing hardware and software products born from the company's Project eLiza initiative.

Continuing its attempt to buy mind share for its Linux-based products among college students, IBM will also announce a partnership with Colorado State University, in Fort Collins, Colo. Under the deal, IBM is setting up the university with a Linux-based zSeries mainframe that will be used as a National Technology Hub for both faculty and students.

"They will use it to set up virtual Linux machines for all their students, but also for 20 other universities connected with this project," Powers said.

IBM will also announce a contest, called the Linux Scholar Challenge, which will encourage them to make contributions to the open-source community. The 25 students who do the best work, as judged by a panel, will win an IBM ThinkPad. There will also be a team prize for the best work, with the winning university getting to choose a new zSeries system or a Linux cluster.

Turbolinux Inc. will underscore IBM's mainframe-flavored offering with one of its own. The company will introduce Version 6.5 z/Linux 6.5 for IBM's zSeries eServers, which will be aimed at helping corporations to re-host mid-tier applications under IBM's z/VM operating system.

"By leveraging z/VM, mainframes can be partitioned into hundreds of virtual servers each running an application independently. That way we think users can exploit an architecture designed for high availability that also allows them to reduce costs," said Ly-Huong Pham, CEO of Turbolinux.

Turbolinux will also show off EnFuzion 7.0, clustering software that ties together corporate users' existing network of Linux, Unix, and Windows servers and workstations and allows them to function as a single supercomputer.

Borrowing from the concept behind grid computing, EnFuzion links systems together and emulates a supercomputer by drawing on the idle processing power of those linked desktop and server systems.

Trying to build momentum for its recently released E-Commerce Suite of applications for small and medium-size companies, Red Hat Inc. will announce partnering agreements with Compaq Computer Corp. and Pioneer-Standard to piece together a range of solutions around the suite.

Pioneer-Standard offers system integration engineering by installing and configuring Red Hat's product on Intel-based systems such as Compaq's ProliantTM line of servers, as well as consulting services for Web application development, site design, and legacy system integration.

Intel Corp. will underscore its commitment to Linux by announcing this week a series of programming tools to help developers create applications that better run on its chips.

The company's new compilers translate Linux programs written in C++ or Fortran into commands an Intel Pentium 4 can understand. Like Intel's compilers for Windows, the Linux compilers include support for the OpenMP standard for multiprocessor systems, according to an Intel spokesman.

Remaining committed to better rooting Linux on corporate desktops, where so far it has had little success against Windows, Ximian Inc. will roll out Ximian Desktop. The new product contains the Gnome graphical interface, several versions of Linux for top-tier vendors, and a range of third-party applications.

The Standard Edition of Ximian Desktop includes Red Carpet, a systems management application, and a preview version of Ximian Evolution, a suite of groupware applications for managing personal information. The Desktop Professional Edition contains Sun's StarOffice suite along with 90 days of Web-based technical support for users.

SuSE Linux AG will show off its Linux Firewall, a live system that enables the operating system to be booted directly from a read-only CD-ROM. Company officials believe that because the product's code is on fixed media, it will be impossible for outsiders to manipulate the firewall software.

Hewlett-Packard Co. will debut its HP Secure OS Software For Linux, expected to be priced at US$3,000. It will include the 2.4 version of the Linux kernel, a variety of HP-developed open-source enhancements, and the Apache Web Server.

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