Toward A United Linux

Four Linux distribution companies agree to create a unified Linux distribution geared toward business.


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In January, at LinuxWorld Conference and Expo, Linux distribution firms Caldera International Inc. and Turbolinux Inc. were busy preaching a new strategy: businesses operating in the Linux space need to carve out markets in the proprietary space above the open Linux kernel in order to survive.

The two firms, together with Conectiva SA and SuSE Linux AG, took that idea one step further Thursday when they announced that the four would move away from development of their own respective Linux distributions and instead create a global, uniform distribution of Linux designed for business. The move also means that each of the firms can reallocate some of their resources, currently dedicated to extending their Linux distributions, to other projects.

The initiative, dubbed UnitedLinux, is intended to streamline Linux development and certification around the new distribution.

"UnitedLinux addresses enterprise customers' need for a standard, business-focused Linux distribution that is certified to work across hardware and software platforms, accelerating the adoption of Linux in the enterprise," the firms said.

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The four partners said they will each bundle value added products and services with the UnitedLinux operating system, and each of the four partners will market and sell the resulting offering under their own brands. The four also said they each plan to offer their own server products based on UnitedLinux by the end of 2002.

A host of leading enterprise system and software vendors immediately announced their support for the initiative, including AMD, Borland, Computer Associates, Fujitsu Siemens, Fujitsu Japan, HP, IBM, Intel, and NEC.

"IBM fully supports this new, UnitedLinux, which will make it easier than ever before to create a wide variety of Linux-based solutions for any size e-business," said Steve Mills, senior vice president and group executive, IBM Software Group. "UnitedLinux brings together the best technologies and capabilities of these four companies, delivering a single international Linux distribution that will make it simpler for solution providers to utilize and customers to deploy. Our support for UnitedLinux spans our entire Linux software, hardware, and services portfolio -- already the broadest in the industry -- giving our customers and business partners what they need to move more business workloads onto Linux."

The UnitedLinux alliance is missing one rather large player in the space: Red Hat Inc. Red Hat is the Linux distribution company that has had the most success penetrating the enterprise market, with key customers like IBM. Big Blue said it will continue to support Red Hat Linux across its key hardware, software and services offerings.

In any case, the members of the UnitedLinux initiative appear to have left the door open for Red Hat, and other Linux players, to join them. They said the initiative is open to allow additional Linux companies to participate.

This article was first published on InternetNews, an internet.com site.

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