At a tradeshow traditionally dominated by Microsoft, Linux vendors behind the UnitedLinux effort this week released the first production version of their combined Linux server distribution for enterprises at Comdex.
UnitedLinux 1.0 is the product of a combined development effort from Linux vendors SuSE Linux, TurboLinux, The SCO Group (formerly Caldera International), and Conectiva.
The unified Linux distribution is aimed at giving users a standard enterprise Linux distribution, which could help simplify Linux purchasing and rollout decisions, UnitedLinux backers say. A unified Linux flavour could also make Linux more appealing to independent software vendors by allowing developers to write one set of code that is compatible with multiple Linux versions.
Each of the four UnitedLinux companies also announced their own branded Linux server products based on the UnitedLinux 1.0 distribution.
UnitedLinux is based on the Linux Standards Base, a similar Linux standardisation effort, and includes enterprise server features such as enhanced symmetric multiprocessing, hot-pluggable PCI support, and "asynchronous I/O" support for handling large-scale server transactions. Both 32-bit and 64-bit Intel platforms are also supported on UnitedLinux 1.0, as well as 32-bit and 64-bit AMD and IBM PowerPC processors.
Security features in UnitedLinux 1.0 include support for Kerberos, integrated firewall capabilities, and system security enhancements from Bastille Linux technology.
Some observers say UnitedLinux is an attempt by a handful of Linux vendors to gang up on market leader Red Hat, which is dominant in enterprise Linux server deployments. UnitedLinux will also go up against Sun Linux, which was introduced in August by Sun as an alternative to Sun's Solaris server operating system for low-end Intel boxes. Software and hardware vendors that have announced support for UnitedLinux 1.0 include IBM, Fujitsu, NEC, Computer Associates, Toshiba and Network Appliance.