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8/15/2006
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Opinion: LinuxWorld A Land Of Opportunity For Vendors, VARs

The Linuxworld Expo is invading San Francisco this week, and a host of A-list IT vendors are proving that the big money has, indeed, arrived at the Open Source party.

The Linuxworld Expo is invading San Francisco this week, and announcements from some big-name vendors and a newly released study show just how far open source has come.

On Tuesday, the Institute of Partner Education and Development (IPED, a sister company to VARBusiness) released a report called "Linux in the Channel" that says established Linux resellers are garnering "sustainable and profitable" revenue from open-source technologies, and that merely "dabbling" in Linux may be causing them to miss out on greater opportunities.

The study polled more than 400 solution providers and was co-sponsored by AMD, Hewlett-Packard, Levanta and Novell. Among the more fruitful open-source areas for solution providers are application services, Web hosting and databases. Those who are investing in the technology are doing so primarily for reasons of cost, security, reliability and performance. VARs are getting in on Linux with the help of well-established vendors. Among the companies that are making open-source announcements this week are IBM/Lenovo and Novell, which have announced Linux-based ThinkPad mobile workstations that run on Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 operating system and are based on Intel Centrino Duo mobile technology. The machines are targeted primarily at advanced design engineers and are available now for $3,099 for the 14-inch model and $3,199 for the 15-inch model.

IBM also used Linuxworld to roll out its open-source road map, unveiling eight open-source initiatives beyond Linux. Big Blue officials also announced its participation in new open-source projects designed to improve Linux kernel functionality and to expand its Linux focus around virtualization, cell-processor technologies and security. Looking beyond Linux, IBM's software, hardware and services organizations are using open-source business models to target opportunities in client-side middleware, development tools, Web application servers, data servers, systems management, open hardware architectures, grid computing, and IBM Research, business consulting and technology services. IBM now has more than 15,000 Linux customer engagements worldwide. Novell also has announced an integrated marketing campaign for SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 called "Your Linux is Ready." The campaign, which Intel is participating in with its virtualization technologies, focuses on how Novell is bringing open-source innovation to the enterprise. Novell shipped SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 last month.

On Tuesday, Novell also announced new additions to its Market Start program, which helps open-source start-up companies by giving them access to Novell's global sales and marketing channels. Novell partner Novacoast was on hand to talk about an integrated open-source solution that combines Alfresco's document management, SugarCRM's technology and Novell's GroupWise collaboration tools with Novacoast's VoiceRD VoIP application. The midmarket solution enables customers to share information, collaborate and communicate with customers in a more cost-effective way.

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