Linux Gets Boost From PeopleSoft

The software vendor is releasing Linux versions of its full portfolio of 170 applications
NEW YORK (AP) -- In the largest release yet of commercial software for the free Linux operating system, PeopleSoft Inc. will offer Linux versions of its entire portfolio of 170 enterprise software programs.

Pleasanton, Calif.-based PeopleSoft, which makes programs that manage large companies' personnel, customers and supply chains, was expected to make the announcement Tuesday at a company conference in Las Vegas.

The development is yet another step toward the mainstream for Linux, which was once the domain of idealistic programmers who scorned proprietary software from Microsoft Corp. and other big vendors.

Linux is distributed free as an open-source platform, which allows tinkerers to improve and test it for bugs.

"Linux is ready for prime time," said Rick Bergquist, PeopleSoft's chief technology officer. "It's not just a plaything that techies use."

Bergquist said several PeopleSoft customers among Wall Street banks persuaded the software maker to release Linux versions of its financial services programs.

"The early Linux adopters are on Wall Street," he said. Bergquist said most were driven by cost savings in Linux hardware and software.

PeopleSoft's plans follow other high-profile Linux releases for large and mid-sized businesses, from Veritas Software, Oracle Corp., SAP, Sun Microsystems and IBM Corp.

Linux systems now manage customer databases, human resources and supply chain for some of the world's largest businesses, said Stacey Quandt, an analyst with Forrester Research.

Quandt said PeopleSoft's move would put pressure on Siebel Systems, a top competitor, to release its software for Linux. Microsoft, too, will soon feel compelled to change its tactics toward Linux's increasing share of the server market, Quandt said.

PeopleSoft said its Linux-based Web server software is available immediately. The company's entire catalog will be available for Linux by the end of 2003 at the same price as its other versions, Bergquist said.

PeopleSoft is developing and marketing the Linux-friendly software with the help of IBM. PeopleSoft configured Linux versions of its software to run on IBM's Linux-based servers, which also run IBM software that handles Internet transactions and databases.

PeopleSoft programs will also run on competing Linux platforms, such as those sold by Hewlett-Packard or Sun, but the co-marketing effort makes it likely that customers will buy IBM servers and ancillary programs, Quandt said.

Bergquist said customers with non-IBM Linux computers will be "just as happy" as those running PeopleSoft on IBM.