Sidebar: Top Vendors Plan Product Rollouts at LinuxWorld

Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM will vie for the spotlight with the top two Linux distributors, Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc., at this week's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in Boston.

Red Hat is expected to showcase its new Enterprise Linux 4.0 release, which features support for the Linux 2.6 kernel -- bringing Red Hat's Linux distribution to parity with the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 software that Novell shipped last August. Novell has since issued the first Service Pack update for its product.

Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat previously had incorporated some features from the 2.6 kernel into its Enterprise Linux 3 release for use in conjunction with the Linux 2.4 kernel. Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik has dismissed Novell's head start in offering support for the latest Linux kernel. "Our customers are not in that race to be first," he said during an interview last month.

Novell this week is expected to spotlight its new Open Enterprise Server technology, which combines the NetWare and Linux 2.6 kernels with the file, print and network-management services in NetWare 6.5. All of the services in SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 are also included, along with an integrated set of management tools.

Meanwhile, tomorrow HP will announce enhancements to its Linux Reference Architectures (LRA). The company is adding its blade servers to the Integrity and ProLiant hardware options that customers can already choose. As part of the LRA program, HP tests sets of software running under Linux on its hardware. The tests include a commercial software stack consisting of BEA Systems Inc.'s WebLogic application server and Oracle Corp.'s database, plus an open-source stack with JBoss Inc.'s application server and MySQL AB's database.

HP said another LRA enhancement is the addition of a prepackaged set of Express Services, similar to a fixed-price menu at a restaurant, that gives customers installation, configuration and integration choices at a fixed cost and in a predetermined time frame.

In addition, HP is adding "smart plug-ins" to HP OpenView for MySQL, JBoss and Tomcat, so that users can manage the open-source software using its management tools. "Our commitment to open-source is up and down the solutions stack," said Efrain Rovira, worldwide director of Linux marketing at HP. "It's not limited to the operating system."

Server rival IBM also plans to make several Linux-related announcements, including added switch and cluster interconnect options for users of its eServer Cluster 1350 system. Bob Leonard, worldwide brand manager for Linux clusters, said IBM also will now preload Red Hat Linux on the 1350. Leonard said he hopes to offer a similar preloaded option for Novell's SUSE Linux by the end of June.

In other news, San Jose-based Emic Networks Inc. will announce that it is adding support for J2EE-based application servers and Java Server Pages to its application clustering software.

Copyright © 2005 IDG Communications, Inc.

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