LinuxWorld: Vendors to tout new servers, releases

LinuxWorld: Vendors to tout new servers, releases

IBM, Corel and SuSE are among the horde of IT firms expected to use this week's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo to launch or demonstrate new products based on the popular open-source operating system, including new servers and Linux releases.

More than 12,000 developers, businesspeople and other enthusiasts attended the first LinuxWorld show in March, and organisers hope to top that figure this week. The show runs from Monday to Thursday in San Jose, California.

"Linux is hot," said Madeline Schnapp, a product marketing manager for O'Reilly & Associates, which publishes books on open source. "If you're anybody who is anybody in Linux, you have to show up at this show."

Linus Torvalds, creator of Linux, will deliver a keynote on Tuesday evening, and Sean Maloney, a senior vice president of Intel, will address the conference earlier that day. To prove that businesses really are using Linux, an executive from the Burlington Coat Factory will talk on Wednesday about how Linux fits into that company's operations.

Following are some of the highlights from vendors expected at the show:

IBM is expected to announce a new Netfinity 3500 server certified to run Linux distributions from SuSE, Red Hat Software, Caldera Systems, and Turbolinux, formerly known as Pacific HiTech. Priced starting at $US1800, IBM hopes to ship the 3500 M10 in mid-August, targeting retail stores and small businesses, according to Michael Riegel, IBM's global executive for e-business and Linux with IBM's Netfinity Division.

IBM will also announce plans to work with Germany's SAP AG to certify Linux versions of its enterprise resource planning applications for IBM Netfinity servers. IBM is helping SAP port its R/3 software to Linux; the port is due to be completed by the end of the year.

Big Blue will also highlight two of its customers using IBM Linux systems: British insurance firm Hill House Hammond, which plans to roll out 290 Netfinity servers running Linux throughout its offices; and Warehouse Music Stores, which is using Linux-based Netfinity servers to power customer listening booths in 12 of its stores, Riegel said.

Corel on Tuesday will provide the first peek at a beta version of its Linux release that it hopes to release commercially by the end of the year. Corel's Linux release is based on the Debian Linux distribution and the K Desktop Environment GUI (graphical user interface), and targets less technical users who want an easy-to-use and install version of Linux to run on their desktop. Corel has said its Linux release will be available on PCs priced under $US500.

SuSE announced last week that it is shipping version 6.2 of its Linux distribution, and will give the first public demonstration of that product at the show. New features include support for the 2.2.10 Linux kernel, an upgrade to version 5.1 of StarOffice, and support for pluggable authentication modules (PAMs) for added security, said Marc Torres, president of SuSE. The distribution has also increased in size, from five CDs to six.

Magic Software Enterprises will launch a Linux version of eMerchant, its business-to-business e-commerce product. As well as transaction processing and order entry capabilities, eMerchant offers a back-end system designed to tie in easily with databases from Oracle and Informix. The product is geared toward companies with large inventories that do a lot of business with the same customers.

British software firm Omnis Software will demonstrate a Linux version of Omnis Studio, a cross-platform Rapid Applications Development tool currently available for the Windows and Macintosh platforms. The first public beta of the Linux version will be released at the show, with the final product scheduled to ship in September, company officials said.

Linux PPC will demonstrate the "Q3" upgrade to its Linux distribution for computers running on Power PC processors. The Q3 upgrade is scheduled for release soon after the show, company officials said.

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