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8/11/2005
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In Case You've Been In Outer Space, LinuxWorld Was This Week

Another LinuxWorld show has come to pass. It's been a long time since LinuxWorld was dominated by technical folk who used it as a forum for exchanging ideas and an opportunity to attach a face with a screen identity. LinuxWorld is now about how open-source can be "sold" to address the overarching issues facing IT managers today: boosting security and cutting costs. The IT world's biggest vendors were once again out in full force, this time linking arms in a show of unity and trying to convince t

Another LinuxWorld show has come to pass. It's been a long time since LinuxWorld was dominated by technical folk who used it as a forum for exchanging ideas and an opportunity to attach a face with a screen identity. LinuxWorld is now about how open-source can be "sold" to address the overarching issues facing IT managers today: boosting security and cutting costs. The IT world's biggest vendors were once again out in full force, this time linking arms in a show of unity and trying to convince the world (not just the people who attend these shows for the free stuff) that operators are standing by if you just give them a chance. Here's the rundown of how LinuxWorld this week changed, or promised to change, anyway, the face of IT:The dozens of startups looking to cash in on open-source software hold up Red Hat as a poster child representing how it can be done. But even Red Hat knows that if it wants to continue to grow, it's got to do more than sell support around its Linux operating system. The company used this week's LinuxWorld as an opportunity to step up its profile as a provider of Linux-based security with its Security in a Networked World initiative to deliver security technologies and policies as well as identity-management and systems-monitoring software and security upgrades. The newly available Red Hat Certificate System is a major part of the initiative, as is the company's work with the Mozilla Foundation, and the availability of systems monitoring as part of the Red Hat Network.

Hewlett-Packard has identified Linux as critical to selling its BladeSystem server technology and this week revealed partnerships with both Red Hat and Novell. HP and Red Hat plan to make the latter's Global File System cluster-management software available with HP Serviceguard for Linux, a move expected to help users keep systems up to date with the latest security patches and updates. HP also introduced its Virus Throttle for Linux, a security technology designed to work against viruses, even new viruses that aren't well known to the software.

Partnerships abounded this week at the show, with all of the expected back slapping and handshaking. Rather than list them all (not sure if I could anyway), here are some of the highlights:

The latest Novell Validated Configuration Program, which debuted Monday at LinuxWorld, includes SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and HP BladeSystem servers running a variety of relevant, high-performance computing applications, including Scali's Manage/MPI Connect for infrastructure and ongoing management, Altair Engineering's PBS Professional for workload management and job scheduling, and PolyServe's Matrix Server and Cluster Volume Manager for NFS file serving. "Companies need to know pieces work together and who will help them," Efrain Rovira, worldwide director of HP's Open-Source and Linux Group, told me. "They want to know that component A will work with component B without breaking."

Dell said it will sell and support both MySQL databases and the JBoss application server. That means the Round Rock, Texas, computer maker is now supporting two more layers of the Lamp (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Perl) stack. This software stack, pieces of which are furnished by various vendor and open-source groups, is taking on the Microsoft Windows behemoth on servers. Novell also pledged that the company and its partners will sell MySQL support.

IBM said at LinuxWorld that it plans to add support for the open-source Firefox Web browser to its light Domino Web Access client.

Black Duck Software, a provider of compliance-management software, and Olliance Group, an open-source management consulting firm, this week revealed an alliance (why couldn't they just use the word "partner" like everyone else?) to help clients develop and implement strategies to deal with the business, technical, and risk-management issues posed by open-source software. This news came as the Open Source Development Labs said it's creating a central repository of patents to benefit Linux users.

Coming soon ... the great desktop Linux controversy ...

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