Linux will be flavour of this week as vendors gather at Linuxworld in San Jose, California to show their support for the increasingly trendy version of the Unix operating system.
Oracle is rumoured to be revealing an equity stake in Linux software vendor and support provider, Red Hat. Intel has already taken a small stake in VA Research, another Linux vendor.
Hewlett-Packard will announce later today expanded support for Linux across all its products and services, forming an Open Source Solutions group to focus on Linux developments.
At the end of January, HP joined with Red Hat to market the product on its Intel server line, Netserver. It is also working with Canadian software company Puffin Group on porting the OS to its PA-Risc processors, that run all its high end Unix servers and have a compatibility roadmap to Intel's IA-64 processor architecture.
At that time Silicon Graphics said it would port the Red Hat version of Linux to its hardware platform and Compaq has also given its backing.
Dell is doing a deal with San Francisco based Linuxcare to provide support for any variant of Linux running on its workstations and servers.
Last week IBM said it was fully supportive of the operating system and was considering supporting Linux on its RS/6000 and Netfinity machines, but warned of the software's limitations. (see Newswire 28 January, 1999).
Irving Wladawsky-Berger, general manager of IBM's Internet division and former head of the RS/6000 unit, claimed last week: "Users are scared of open software. A customer doesn't want to phone us up and say: "my system is down," and have us say: "Well, I'm sorry, its open software, call Mr Torvalds.""
He added: "The most interesting thing about Linux is the whole open software model. We are all learning about that model, but we need to work out how to support it."
All the Linux supportive vendors say support for the operating system does not threaten their own Unix flavours, universally claiming that it is simply not high end enough, without the scaleability required by companies for critical applications.
Most are carefully building an upgrade path from Linux to their respective versions of Unix to try to grab users' hearts as they grow and look for more developed and supported operating systems.
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