HP stresses Linux backing

Not to be outdone by other major vendors that have hopped on the Linux bandwagon such as Oracle Corp., IBM Corp., and Sun Microsystems Inc., a Hewlett-Packard Co. official during the OracleWorld show on Thursday stressed that HP has been backing the open-source platform.

HP looks at the Linux market as it pertains to infrastructure servers, business application servers, and data and content servers, said Martin Fink, HP CTO for business critical systems.

"Where we actually see most of Linux deployed today is at the edge of the network, with firewall, DNS servers," and other components, Fink said. However, some users are pushing the envelope and deploying it in datacenters, he said.

"What HP is pushing is standards," Fink said. "We need to have them and there's some real traction coming around the Linux standards base."

The Itanium 2 processor from Intel Corp. gives HP a high-volume 64-bit platform for Linux and other operating environments, Fink said. According to the company's Web site, HP supports Linux on its Intel-based servers and Alpha servers and offers a porting kit to move Linux applications to its HP-UX Unix platform on PA-RISC chips.

Inhibitors to Linux growth include security, scalability, and applications maturity, according to HP. The company plans to partner with the open-source community to make sure work gets done on Linux and will work on new features, Fink said.

The exact adoption levels of Linux remain muddled, according to Fink. "One of the things you look at [with] this is how do you measure the adoption of Linux in the industry and it's really a tough thing to do because of the open source nature of Linux," which makes it harder to track, Fink said. He cited industry figures stating there were about 3 million copies of Linux purchased in 1999, with the figure expected to grow to about 20 million in 2006.

There were 2 million free copies of Linux for servers shipped in 1999 and there will be 17.5 million copies shipped in 2006, according to HP's industry figures. Only about 2 percent of desktops run Linux, according to HP.

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