Full force open source: It's Linux United

Top Linux vendors team up...

Top Linux vendors team up...

Four major Linux vendors are to join forces on developing and distributing the open source operating system. Caldera, Conectiva, SuSE and TurboLinux have all confirmed their participation in the alliance, dubbed United Linux. Computer Associates, HP, IBM, Intel, Fujitsu, Siemens and SAP are also expected to announce their involvement later today. SuSE has also confirmed that Dell and Oracle have expressed interest in joining at a later date. The move will see the companies work together to develop a standard Linux desktop platform, networking applications and development tools. The bigger players such as HP and IBM may also provide added services such as management and clustering, according to some reports. Analysts believe customers will benefit from the alliance, as the move will reduce installation and maintenance costs. While each vendor will continue to build their own systems incorporating their own unique features, all Linux applications will run on a common platform. Gregory Blepp, vice president of international business with SuSE, said the impetus behind the move. He told silicon.com: "We were wasting time, effort, money and resources on duplicating technology. The alliance is addressing what was missing from Linux - a business model. How to go to market so that customers are talking to one technology - different vendors, but one technology." Matthew Keay, a member of the UK Linux Users Group, welcomed the alliance as positive news for customers. "Hardware and applications support will be easier supported through the 'new' distribution since it's a standardised build and it should provide a far greater skills pool for development," he said. The alliance will also strengthen Linux's market position, pitching it as a stronger competitor to Windows. United Linux plans to specifically target corporate users who are currently working on windows platforms. But noticeably absent from the line up is Linux market leader Red Hat. The alliance has been pitched in some quarters as an attempt by the smaller Linux players to take some market share from Red Hat. Keay said Red Hat had enjoyed its greater market share through incentives such as its Red Hat Network and its free CD downloads, benefits which SuSE and Caldera have not offered. He added that market lead could be up for grabs if the alliance successfully touted its improved compatibility, support and ease of use to Microsoft users. But SuSE's Blepp denied the alliance was a swipe at Red Hat. He said: "It would be counterproductive to say we are pushing against Red Hat. The true aim is to increase overall Linux business in the corporate market. We're not going to aim it against some one in our own market." Red Hat refused to comment on the news until after the official announcement later today, but Blepp said there were plans to invite the company to join the alliance For related news, see:
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