Hewlett-Packard and IBM have both pledged to support Linux applications on additional variants of Unix, so that Linux binaries could become an almost universal format for deploying applications. That will give users more applications to choose from - while sticking with their trusted, data-centre-ready Unix environments.
However, it could also spell danger for the vendors that are offering the support, facilitating a wholesale migration away from proprietary Unix versions toward Linux, observers said.
HP pledged support for Linux binaries in the IA-64 version of HP-UX and IBM in Dynix/ptx. Earlier this month, IBM promised Linux support in the upcoming AIX 5L as well. Most Linux applications can also now be recompiled relatively easily to run on other processor architectures - including IBM's S/390 mainframes.
E-commerce- and Internet-related applications will increasingly be developed for Linux first, analysts have said. Analyst George Weiss at Gartner, said support for Linux binaries on proprietary Unix environments gives customers a good way to start experimenting with Linux apps.