LinuxWorld to have a Big Blue tinge

IBM goes Linux-tastic at the opening of New York show

Continuing to toot its Linux horn, IBM will start the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo on Wednesday morning with a slew of hardware and software announcements supporting the open source operating system.

On IBM's docket are a new 64-processor IBM server that can run existing Linux applications unchanged, courtesy of some new IBM middleware, a Linux-based workstation using Intel's high-end IA-64 processors, and Linux versions of IBM Domino Workflow and Tivoli systems management software.

IBM president Sam Palmisano will deliver the opening remarks at the show, which is being held at the Javits Convention Centre in New York this week.

During the past year, all of IBM's hardware, software and services divisions have made Linux a top priority. IBM has announced plans to translate all of its application and infrastructure software to Linux and has made Linux one of the operating systems available on most IBM hardware, ranging from its NetVista thin clients to its S/390 mainframes.

IBM also has made available to the open-source community a number of IBM technologies, such as its Journaling File System (JFS). And not a week goes by without IBM announcing a new Linux initiative, customer win or related product.

IBM executives are expected to highlight the message that "Linux really is moving from the early adopter phase into mainstream computing", said Deepak Advani, vice president of the company's Linux strategy.

To prove its contention, IBM will reveal plans for the 64-processor eServer x430, which IBM is touting as the first server to run middleware called the Linux Application Environment (LAE). LAE sits on top of the Dynix Unix-like operating system, which powers the IBM server.

IBM has opened a Linux Competency Centre in Beaverton, Oregon, where Linux software writers can test their applications on LAE.

The LAE layer is designed to allow existing 32-bit Intel-based Linux applications to run without being recompiled on the new 64-processor servers. To take full advantage of the 64-processor functionality, however, customers will need to redesign their applications or write new ones from scratch, IBM executives acknowledged.

Also on tap at LinuxWorld, IBM will unveil plans to ship this summer IA-64-based Intellistation Z Pro workstations that will run one or more Linux flavors.

"This workstation will serve the markets where Linux is really taking hold," Advani said.

Palmisano is expected to speak about a Linux customer win during his keynote address. Deutsche Telekom subsidiary T-Systems will install Linux on an IBM eServer zSeries server to manage email databases for its customers by running hundreds of Linux partitions.

He also is expected to discuss some new IBM Linux-based development tools and services that target the IBM PowerNP network processor, a chip embedded in routers and other communications equipment.

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