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8/3/2004
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Red Hat Readies New Open-Source Products

It's expected to launch a Java application server packaged with its enterprise edition of Linux.

Red Hat Inc. is expected to expand its open-source offerings at LinuxWorld on Tuesday with the launch of a Java application server packaged with its enterprise edition of the Linux operating system, InformationWeek has learned.

The Red Hat application server is expected to be one packaged from the French project, Jonas, sponsored by French industry consortium ObjectWeb. Red Hat joined ObjectWeb last year with the stated goal of contributing to the development of Jonas and then announced a beta test of the Jonas application server to its customers last December. Company spokesmen declined to confirm the launch of a Jonas application server.

"I'm not shaking in my boots," said Marc Fleury, CEO of rival JBoss Inc., maker of an open-source Java application server that's beginning to show up as a commercial competitor.

BEA Systems Inc. will cite a recent IDC report that says its WebLogic application server has a "two-to-one lead over IBM and Oracle in terms of software revenue" in the "all-important Unix-based application server software platform" market in North America, although its lead has been slipping. Linux is the "hottest segment of the market" and BEA outgrew IBM and Oracle there to keep its first-place ranking. IBM's WebSphere leads the application server platform market in Europe. IDC analyst Dennis Byron issued the report last month.

For the first time, JBoss is showing up in IDC's application server report with 1.2% of the market based on revenue. JBoss users don't buy a license the way commercial application-server customers do. They just pay for maintenance, so JBoss implementations are increasing rapidly for the open-source product to show up at all, the report notes. JBoss' revenue grew by 185.7% between 2002 and 2003, Byron says.

Hewlett-Packard is expanding its support for Linux by guaranteeing the JBoss application server and the MySQL open-source database will work together on its ProLiant blade servers running Linux. JBoss recently passed certification as Java 2 Enterprise Edition compliant, as commercial application servers have done, a $500,000 testing expense. Hewlett-Packard already certified the Apache Web server and OpenLDAP directory server to run on its servers and calls the complete open-source software set its Linux reference architecture.

HP has expanded its ranks of Linux technicians from 5,000 to 6,500 over the last 18 months. The company derived $2.5 billion in revenue from Linux sales and service in 2003 and is looking to boost that total this year, Jeffrey Wade, manager of Linux marketing communications, said in an interview on the eve of LinuxWorld last week. HP is one of the few vendors to indemnify customers against the Linux patent-infringement suits.

"Linux has matured, with more and more applications available," Wade said. "It's reaching further into line-of-business operations."

Wade noted that the Weather Channel has switched from high-end, 12-processor Unix machines to Linux on four- and eight-way Intel servers. Kevin Gungiah, director of system administration at the Weather Channel, says the conversion is 78% complete and will be 100% complete by the end of 2005. His firm expects to save $200,000 a year for each of the next three years, on hardware and software expenses as a result, he said.

Red Hat chairman and CEO Matthew Szulik will deliver the keynote of the conference Tuesday on "Freedom of Choice."

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