Heavyweights plan dedicated Linux lab

Big name investment in how Linux works under the bonnet of a big corporation

Industry heavyweights including IBM, Intel, Hewlett Packard and NEC are expected to announce Wednesday the creation of a laboratory dedicated to testing Linux on large corporate systems.

Several million dollars are being invested in the laboratory that will be based near Portland, Oregon. It is expected to open by the end of the year.

The project will also get the backing of dedicated Linux players including Red Hat, Turbolinux, and VA Linux Systems.

The lab will give Linux programmers the chance to test their software on some of the largest computer systems commercially available. The Linux operating system as well as compatible applications are developed by independent, often volunteer, "open source" programmers who openly share program source code. These developers rarely get the chance to test their work on large-scale hardware and systems. It will be hoped that the new initiative will stimulate adoption of Linux within large corporations using mission critical systems.

Linux is growing in strength as a desktop competitor to Microsoft's Windows operating system, although it is most successful as a mid-range server operating system. Web survey company Netcraft, for example, recently published a report that said Linux powered more Web sites internationally that any other operating system in the month of June with 35.73 percent of the market.

European vice president of Red Hat, Colin Tenwick, believes the project highlights a growing industry appetite for high-end Linux solutions. If the project succeeds in getting companies to move to Linux, "it will make an enormous difference for businesses, a magnitude of difference in terms of software costs."

Industry analyst firm Forrester this month also released a report predicting an upsurge in commercial use of open source software such as the Linux operating system over the next few years.

Take me to the Linux Lounge

What do you think? Tell the Mailroom. And read what others have said.