When visitors walk into Sanjay Kumar's office, they're greeted by a 4-foot stuffed penguin. "Tux" is perched beside the chief executive's desk to make sure Linux is always on the minds of those at Computer Associates International, says the head of CA's newly formed Linux Technology Group.
"When a brand executive comes in, he's not only got to show his plans to Sanjay, he's got to show them to Tux," said Sam Greenblatt, CA's senior vice president and chief architect of the Linux Technology Group.
CA officially formed the unit in late 2002, just before the holidays. Greenblatt jokingly refers to its creation as his Christmas present. CA has some 60 products supporting Linux, but only lately has the Linux movement gained the critical mass to prompt an internal reorganization, Greenblatt said.
The new group brings together staff from each of CA's six brand-unit product groupings. Greenblatt also said he plans worldwide hiring for the group, though he declined to discuss specifics.
When CA executives talk about Linux, their comments sound like IBM's two years ago, when the company made its headline-grabbing US$1 billion pledge to Linux development.
"We want CA to be synonymous with Linux," Greenblatt said.
CA has primarily been identified with Linux on the mainframe. In a white paper published last year, Aberdeen Group analyst Bill Claybrook identified CA as the leading vendor of mainframe-based Linux management software.
But Greenblatt says one of the Linux Technology Group's top priorities will be evangelizing, spreading the word that Linux at CA is "way beyond the S/390" and ready to run on an array of hardware.
CA brought out a dozen new Linux products at the show, including new versions of Unicenter Management for WebSphere, Unicenter Management Portal, eTrust Web Access Control and CleverPath Aion Business Rules Expert. From its storage products line, it also released BrightStor ARCserve Backup agents for Apache and MySQL.
CA's goal is to make Linux more pervasive and easier for customers to deploy, Greenblatt said. That means making sure customers have access to a complete portfolio of Linux-ready enterprise management software.
It also means taking a hands-on approach as core Linux technologies develop. Greenblatt is keeping a close eye on contributions to the in-progress Linux kernel 2.5, and plans to take advantage of networking and storage features being added.
"We are going to innovate in ways that people would never expect," Greenblatt said.