LinuxWorld 2001

The news everyone is talking about is Linux 2.4, but while there will be demos a-plenty at LinuxWorld in New York City this coming week, only SuSE is rolling out the commercial version Linux 2.4 within a few days of the show.

The news everyone is talking about is Linux 2.4, but while there will be demos a-plenty at LinuxWorld in New York City this coming week, only SuSE is rolling out the commercial version Linux 2.4 within a few days of the show.

The real news from the show is Linux's continuing journey into the mainstream of server computing. All the major server players who have already committed to Linux - Compaq, Dell and IBM - will be there with a flurry of new small deals to show that they're serious about Linux.

They'll be joined by Hewlett-Packard, which is making its first strong move into Linux. Working with Linuxcare, HP will be offering 24 by 7 support for enterprise level computing. To get their new Linux lines and service out to the customers, CEO Carly Fiorina will be relying heavily on top HP VAR, MSC Software.

Don't think for a moment that Linux hardware vendors aren't playing for keeps as well. VA Linux is releasing a new series of 1.75 inches (1U) thick rack-mountable servers for customers, such as ISPs or server farms, that need many inexpensive servers in tight spaces.

Product news is light from Penguin Computing, but there are big changes in the company's management. In an attempt to play with the big boys of server computing, Penguin has brought on experienced high-level administrators to take the company to the next level, starting with the new, CEO, Martin Seyer.

On Monday, Penguin also announced that Scott Weinbrandt, a server sales and marketing professional with more than a decade of experience at ST and Dell, joined as vice president of marketing.

Perhaps the most important news of LinuxWorld will also be the quietest: the emergence of top-notch network administrator tools and services.

Caldera Systems' system management and administrative program, Volution, uses a Web-browser based interface and policy-oriented management to do everything from hardware and software inventory to software distribution to running scheduled jobs, without needing to telnet to each individual server and run shell scripts.

You'll still need administrators whose second language is Perl and thinks that when you say 'man' you're talking about manual pages rather than male humans, but this is a giant step forward in making Linux server groups much easier to manage.

Caldera's not the only one though making management easier. Linuxcare is shifting its knowledgebase and databases and moving into expert systems. From there, Linuxcare will be offering Linux managed services designed to automate troubleshooting and management.

With this new high level service in hand, Linuxcare not only continues to be a major support player for companies like Compaq, but is also becoming an outsourced IT supplier for data center companies such as Digital Island and Exodus.

In addition, Linuxcare, with Compaq, is shifting to providing resources needed for customized high-level cluster and servers that use Compaq systems. Don't be surprised if they announce even more customers at the show.

Keep in mind though that this is only the tip of the iceberg. Linux, the business as well as the operating system, is always surprising us with new initiatives. This New York City-based LinuxWorld shouldn't prove to be any different.

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