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Linux moving into the household moving business

By Todd Weiss
April 10, 2003 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - The software development division of household moving company All-American Moving Group LLC is building a SuSE Linux-based moving and storage application that it will sell later this year to bring open-source choices to the industry.
Assimilation Technologies, the Norfolk, Va.-based software division of All-American, is creating the application and other Linux-based software for internal use and to market to moving companies in response to changes in the IT marketplace, said Dave Pekol, a general partner at Assimilation.
All-American, which is the largest moving agent under the Mayflower Transit LLC banner, settled on Linux last year as it sought cheaper alternatives to rising licensing costs for Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 server operating system, Pekol said. The company was also worried about security issues with Windows NT and 2000. "Windows NT servers are constantly being hacked, so we were very concerned about customer data," Pekol said.
In addition to the complete software application it's building for the moving industry, Assimilation is also at work on an internal portal application for All-American that will allow clients to log in for billing and other information, he said. The portal is expected to be ready by the end of the month.
"We were looking for a secure, reliable way to go paperless," Pekol said. "With SuSE Linux and the applications that work in it, we're very close to accomplishing that." All-American is running SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 on a second partition on an IBM iSeries server (formerly called the AS/400), alongside the main OS/400 partition. The configuration allows Assimilation to develop applications under SuSE and then transfer them to other systems, using a virtual LAN pipeline in the network.
"It gave us a nice, friendly and easy environment to work in," while maintaining the high 99.9% reliability of the OS/400 environment, he said. SuSE was installed into the network in January after an earlier experiment with Red Hat 7.1, which had problems dealing with large outputs, Pekol said.
The OS/400 and SuSE systems work seamlessly with All-American's mainframe in the company's Memphis-based headquarters by sending the data to the OS/400 side and moving it into the Linux side using the virtual LAN.
The new moving and storage application will be built for customers using the same combination of platforms, so they can plug it in and move to Linux, Pekol said. "We're offering a Microsoft-free solution [where] they can take our product or develop it further if they wish" in open-source projects, he said.

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