The infatuation with Linux is spreading like wildfire from Internet service providers to deep into the enterprise, as evidenced by the parade at last week's LinuxWorld Expo of corporate vendors deploying their wares for the open-source operating system.
New Linux systems are giving businesses the ability to cobble together low-cost Intel-based servers for Internet needs and perform application hosting with a proven level of reliability - all with a newly available supply of service and support.
Two database vendors preparing to answer the call for Linux are Sybase and Oracle. Sybase announced at LinuxWorld that it is extending Linux support beyond its SQL Anywhere and Adaptive Server databases to its Adaptive Server Enterprise 11.92, Sybase Enterprise Application Server 3.0, and Replication Server 4.0 products.
Oracle announced that its WebDB tool will be extended to Linux, allowing Oracle8i and Oracle Application Server users a full package in which to build and deploy Web applications entirely on Linux.
IBM, in addition to its new line of Linux, Intel-based Netfinity servers, will push to become a leading chip supplier for Linux thin servers with a 450MHz IBM PowerPC 750 copper processor. Big Blue is also providing an open platform reference design for OEMs to build PowerPC-based motherboards for Linux.
IBM will also deliver some versions of WebSphere and DB2 on Linux, as well as demonstrate SAP's R/3 application on Linux, which is a joint project between IBM and SAP due to arrive by year's end.
TurboLinux has unveiled a Linux clustering solution for Web servers on both Intel and Alpha architectures. TurboLinux officials view this as a big step toward increasing the availability and cost-effectiveness of Linux-based solutions, which are essential for enterprise deployment.
In the enterprise Linux got another boost from Hewlett-Packard, which unveiled Linux support for its OpenMail 6.0 enterprise messaging and collaboration software. Due in September, OpenMail will include support for full wide-area calendar and schedule access for Microsoft Outlook and OpenMail 6.0's Web client.
Also at LinuxWorld, it was announced Inprise will begin shipping its VisiBroker object request broker for Linux.
The drive to port to Linux from such enterprise vendors shows that the operating system is advancing from print-and-file servers and Web servers to the more strategic mid-tier of networked corporate systems.
"The enterprise is still trying to figure out open source as a concept, but the vendors are defining Linux as a reasonable alternative," said Sandra Potter, director of Linux services at the Aberdeen Group. "Linux is being embraced by the global 2000 enterprises."