IBM 'Vikings' seek more Linux conquests

Big Blue, the open-source champ, is making the Bluetooth wireless protocol available on Linux in an effort to kick-start more apps development.

Linux champion IBM Corp. -- which has become increasingly intent on making Linux pervasive on every platform from handhelds to mainframes -- is now bringing the Bluetooth wireless protocol to the open-source operating system.

"It's time. Bluetooth hasn't really taken off because there aren't all that many Bluetooth applications," said Daniel Jue, manager of IBM's AlphaWorks Web site. "We believe Linux will encourage more developers to write (for Bluetooth)."

Bluetooth is a short-range wireless technology championed by makers of cell phones, PDAs and other devices. So far, Bluetooth devices actually shipping have been few and far between.

Yet a growing number of Linux vendors are targeting the embedded market as a hot investment, thus making a Linux Bluetooth port an interesting prospect.

IBM (ibm) last week announced plans to release its Bluetooth protocol driver as open source.

IBM made available on its AlphaWorks site for developers the development toolkit for the Bluetooth Linux port, and simultaneously submitted a draft of its proposal to the Bluetooth Consortium for standardization consideration.

IBM has christened its open-source Bluetooth components "BlueDrekar."

To understand why, a bit of Viking history is in order. Harald Bluetooth was the Danish king who unified Denmark and Norway in the 10th century. Drekar is the name of the dragon-headed long ships piloted by the Vikings.

"BlueDrekar lets you take existing Linux applications and allow them to be used over the Bluetooth protocol," Jue explained.

But BlueDrekar is hardly the only piece of IBM-developed technology that the company is making available as open source.

IBM is contributing some of its AIX Unix technologies, such as its journaling filing system, to the open-source process.

It also considering adding others in the areas of cluster technology, SMP scalability, systems management and security, company officials have said.

At the same time, IBM is focusing on making sure all its development tools and core applications are ported to Linux.