IBM has added support for Linux to its Thinkpad range of notebook computers as part of its effort to push the open source operating system further into the enterprise.
Big Blue will offer Caldera OpenLinux eDesktop 2.4 operating system pre-configured on its Thinkpad A20m and T20 models. The package will be aimed at software developers and IT professionals, and IBM claims that it will dramatically cut the time needed to set up and tune the systems.
The company will also begin certifying multiple Linux distributors including SuSE, Red Hat, TurboLinux and Caldera.
In February, Dell Computer became one of the first notebook suppliers to include Linux in its hardware when it began offering Red Hat Linux 6.1 pre-installed on its Latitude CPx and Inspiron 7500 systems.
The availability of Linux on IBM's notebooks is the latest move by the company to install Linux across its platforms. This week it also announced that SuSE Linux has been tested and certified for its RS/6000 B50 and 43P Model 150 servers and workstations, and its F-50 deskside systems for departments and small businesses.
IBM said Linux support for other RS/6000 products will be added later as well as to its AS/400 systems.
Janet Waxman, an analyst at research firm IDC, said: "Tangible, programmatic support from major vendors is the key to success for Linux, and the concrete steps IBM is taking will help transform Linux from an upstart operating system into a platform of choice for developers and solution providers."
However, Gartner analyst George Weiss said that Linux has yet to prove itself in large enterprise deployments. He warned that fledging software developer enthusiasm, the availability of global service, support and disaster recovery are significant weaknesses that need to be overcome before Linux can further penetrate corporate installations.
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