Soon after Donovan Systems showcased their 64-bit SPARC server running Linux (Penguin64) last year, the company took it one step further this year - by making it affordable.
"64-bit computing will be mainstream by 2002," says Gary Foong, CEO of Donovan Systems. "We anticipate a drive towards having high-performance servers."
Foong believes that the explosion in the use of the Internet and the e-commerce industry will start a trend towards open-source solutions, Linux being one of the most popular.
Small-to-medium enterprises (SMEs) cannot afford high overheads, he said. Therefore the option of having a free, open-source solution would appeal to them. In comparison to licensing fees for other operating systems, Linux users do not have to pay for Linux. Donovan intends to package several applications together with the servers, with a limited number of free licences to cater to small and start-up enterprises.
Donovan's marketing strategies include targeting small e-commerce business with limited budgets, and bundling arrangements with ISPs. They also intend to market the Penguin64 to China, especially into educational institutions.
"The Chinese government is sick and tired of the US saying that they are stealing American technology," said Foong, referring to the appeal of an open-source system to the largest populated country in Asia. Rumors have also been circulating about China's distaste for Windows 2000, and the appeal of having its own software platform as well as cutting software costs.
Donovan intends to provide the Penguin64, which will run both Linux and Solaris, to universities in China. Said Foong: "The schools saves money by having one single lab for two OSes, the students get the best of both worlds, and we create a pool of 64-bit users and developers."
Donovan aims to set up Penguin64 labs in 500 institutions in China in two years' time. It is also offering merit awards to the top three students in each of the classes associated with the labs.
Already the company has embarked on a joint project with the Institute of Software, Chinese Academy of Sciences, to develop a double-byte Chinese Linux OS. This is slated for launch in May 2000.
There are also plans to develop a Chinese handwriting input system for Penguin64, to be released by the fourth quarter of the year, said Foong.