SINGAPORE - IBM today announced Linux initiatives aimed at speeding the ability of Asia Pacific customers and key software vendors to increase productivity within the Linux operating environment.
IBM will invest more than S$200 million in the Asia Pacific region within the next four years on seven Linux Development Centers, Linux Competency Centers, alliances with Linux-focused business partners, Linux research and development and other programs, along with deployment of more than 300 Linux consultants, hardware and software specialists, researchers, product developers and services professionals.
As a key part of this initiative, IBM announced that it is opening a series of Asia Pacific Linux development centers to help software vendors port their applications to the Linux environment.
These centers will be located in Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Taipei, Seoul, Bangalore and Sydney.
Linux developers can get in contact with these centers and access other Linux resources through the new IBM Linux Web site for Asia Pacific.
"The Asia Pacific region will see growth in the Linux area as our customers, business partners and government organizations recognize the growing importance of Linux as a key e-business operating system," said Kakutaro Kitashiro, president of IBM Asia Pacific.
"There is tremendous interest today in Linux as the platform of choice for e-business because it provides an affordable solution that can be tailored to meet regional and customer demands."
The centers will be open to all software vendors, from enterprise application leaders to start-ups working on software for embedded technology in wireless devices.
The centers will be equipped with Linux-ready servers, storage systems and IBM middleware products, including WebSphere products, Lotus Domino and DB2 Universal Database.
At the centers, IBM will support application development on all IBM servers - Netfinity, AS/400, RS/6000 and S/390, and provide assistance from software and server information technology specialists.
Key parts of the IBM Linux initiative are Japanese and Chinese language versions of developerWorks, IBM's online resource for the developer community.
It provides Linux zone, Open source zone, Java, XML, Security, Web architecture zones. The Japanese developerWorks is available today, while the simplified and traditional Chinese versions will be available in the fourth quarter.
IBM will also increase the use of the English developerWorks around the rest of Asia Pacific.
As part of this initiative, IBM is engaged in Linux research and development facilities at its Yamato Software Development Lab. and Tokyo Research Lab. in Japan and China Research Lab.
To strengthen support to Linux developers, IBM is also establishing Linux Competency Centers in Yamato, Beijing, Seoul and Bangalore.
These centers will work with the Linux community to develop standards such as Li18nux, Motif Globalization, and GNU Text Tools Unicode support.
Industry players such as Intel will work with IBM to promote the development of the Linux community in Asia Pacific.
"Intel's focus is on the Internet economy, fueling Internet growth and connecting billions of people through computers, and Linux plays a key role in this effort," said Tom Burns, director of Internet Solutions Group, Intel Asia Pacific.
Burns added that IBM's work on the Intel Architecture-based Linux applications helps to build a strong e-business environment for the growth of the Internet economy.
TurboLinux, a developer and distributor of the Linux operating system, is also partnering with IBM to bring Linux developments to the Asian Pacific market.
"TurboLinux already is preloaded on selected Netfinity models. In addition, we are working on joint promotion of IBM's middleware software such as DB2 and WebSphere," said Ted Liu, vice president, Marketing, Alliance & Business Development, TurboLinux Asia Pacific.
In addition, Proton Solutions Pte. Ltd., a start-up that focuses on developing industrial scale knowledge management solutions, is working with IBM to support the development of the Linux market in the ASEAN market.
"Our vision is to develop not only technology frameworks, but to provide content and best practices training to customers through the Internet. As a proof of concept, we have developed a Document Archiving Solution on Lotus Domino R5 for Linux," said Srikant Pandit, technical director, Proton Solutions and former executive director of Infosys Ltd.
"The solution was tested on Red Hat Linux 6.0 using the Mercury Load runner at IBM's Solution Partnership Center in Bangalore. Linux on Netfinity has proved to be a far more stable combination for Lotus Domino than any other we have tested so far."
Pandit added that they plan to expand the markets for Lotus Domino based solutions in the hitherto under-explored Indian market.
The IBM Asia Pacific centers will offer the following services: