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LinuxWorld 2004: Same Show, New Linux Directions

By Todd R. Weiss
January 19, 2004 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - As thousands of enterprise IT users head to the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in New York this week, there's more on their minds than using Linux for established tasks such as consolidating servers, improving security and lowering costs.
Lt. Fred Wissing, application development services supervisor for the New Jersey State Police in West Trenton, said he's sending several members of his IT team to the show, which begins tomorrow at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, so they can find new ways of using Linux within the IT systems of the state police.
"I've been wanting for a long time to pull the trigger on the desktop" and use Linux for all workers to do their jobs, Wissing said. The problem, he said, is that some software vendors are still using old programming languages and haven't made the changes needed to port their applications to Linux. Specifically, document management systems and case-tracking applications used by the state police aren't yet ready for the open-source operating system, according to Wissing.
"My people are going to be there with a mind-set of finding additional ways to leverage Linux here," he said, explaining that they would be looking for applications to help make their Linux infrastructure even more robust and finding others to replace legacy programs.
Most back-end server infrastructure in the department is already running Linux operating systems from SUSE Linux AG or Red Hat Inc., he said, including database and application server software.
Tim Kuchlein, information services director at Clarity Payment Solutions Inc., an electronic payment systems processing company in New York, is in the midst of a project to move from an existing system of Red Hat 7.3 on Intel hardware to the new 64-bit SUSE Linux OS on IBM's PowerPC hardware. Clarity is first installing the hardware and software into its disaster recovery site to do testing and configuring. It will later move its production debit-card processing systems over to the new equipment, he said.
"We're aiming to have the test stuff in by March or so and replacing all systems by 2005," Kuchlein said. "The deal is pretty much done."
No one from Clarity will attend LinuxWorld because the company has gotten the information it needs through its established relationships with Linux vendors, Kuchlein said. "They'd be preaching to the choir," he said. "We've been very happy with Linux. For us at this particular time, we know what we want to do."

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