The Linux juggernaut set its course straight for the heart of the enterprise last week with major initiatives from Intel, Oracle, Computer Associates, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM, among others.
Intel announced at LinuxWorld that it has tapped VA Research, a US-based Linux hardware and software OEM, to take the lead in developing a standard Linux operating system kernel for its IA-64 processors. It is expected the kernel will be compliant with the Linux Standards Base (LSB).
The LSB is a group of organisations that oversees the standardisation of technologies such as kernels, libraries, and directory services.
According to Dan Kusnetzky, an IDC analyst, major OEM support for Linux could play a key role in encouraging more widespread acceptance of the operating system.
"At this point, Linux appeals to small ISPs, the technical community, and some ISVs and VARs who serve small businesses," Kusnetzky said. "Support offered by HP and other suppliers, IBM in particular, could be a catalyst. Larger organisations might feel comfortable enough that they just might take another look at Linux."
Although the Linux OS is highly praised for its stability, even Linux vendors admit it will take more for the upstart OS to scale beyond its use as a file-and-print server.
"It is capable of being a much larger server, but it is missing the networking management tools," said Robert Young, CEO of Red Hat Software.
"Without the calibre of Computer Associates' Unicenter, Tivoli network management tools, [and] database server technologies, people will find it better to manage a bunch of Sun boxes instead of Linux boxes."
Young may be more than just prescient. CA announced Red Hat Linux support for its Unicenter TNG enterprise management platform last week, and sources say Oracle is set to announce Oracle8i support for both Red Hat and Caldera versions of the Linux OS.
HP also plans to announce wider Linux support in its systems, software, and services.