SAP plans to ship its first R/3 business suite running on the Linux operating system to customers in the third quarter of this year, the company said at the Cebit show in Hannover this week.
The German software house got a raft of companies to back its Linux initiative, including Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM and Siemens.
?[Pilot customers] are absolutely surprised by the quality of Linux. I4m receiving mail from all over the world? It's one of the easiest versions of Unix to support. The porting will be done in very short period of time,? said Hasso Plattner, chief executive of SAP in a telecast to Cebit from the US.
He added that it was waiting for version 2.0 of Linux which SAP would be able to integrate more tightly with R/3 and be ready to sell Linux-R/3 systems by the third quarter.
Karl-Heinz Hess, vice president of systems technology at SAP, said the move was, ?In view of the market interest for Linux, its stable technological foundation and our commitment to platform independence?Our customers that select Linux will enjoy a level of support and reliability equal to our currently supported platforms.?
Siemens was demonstrating SAP running on R/3 at the show and said it would train around 10 per cent of its services group as part of its commitment to provide implementation, professional services and support for the operating system. It already has two pilot customers and expects to sign up to 30 more in the next few weeks.
Bernd Puschendorf, head of computer systems marketing at Siemens, said it would provide Linux on PCs, thin client systems, workstations and Intel servers, but he denied it would affect Siemens? existing backing for Sun?s Solaris operating system on the Intel platform, claiming Linux was too low end to damage its Solaris or even its NT market positions.
The company announced a deal with German Linux specialist Suse, which will help provide Linux software and technical support to Siemens' customers.
According to preliminary figures for 1999, Linux has 17 per cent share of the server operating system market, behind NT with 37 per cent, Netware with 24 per cent and is level with other Unix flavours.
?There?s enough revenue in this market to make it worth being number three in Europe, otherwise we wouldn?t be entering it,? said a spokesperson.
Meanwhile Linux software company Caldera announced version 1.3 of its Openlinux product, with an updated Linux kernel, bundled Web server and browser, and Java runtime environment.
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