Vendors unveil UnitedLinux

ITworld.com |  Operating Systems

A team of Linux vendors Thursday unveiled UnitedLinux, a unified version of the open-source operating system that is expected to boost its viability in the corporate market.

As previously reported by IDG News Service, Linux operating system makers Caldera International Inc., Conectiva Inc., SuSE Linux AG and Turbolinux Inc. have combined efforts to create a single version of Linux on which each company will standardize its products.

The creation of a single Linux platform will make it easier for businesses, as well as independent hardware and software vendors, to offer services and build products in a standard way, said the companies behind UnitedLinux. Often, these vendors and enterprise users would have to retool applications to meet the requirements of different versions of Linux distribution from different vendors.

Under the partnership, the four companies have collaborated on the development of the UnitedLinux code base. The four partners each will adhere to that code as well as bundle distinct products and services with their respective offerings under their own brands. The first versions of UnitedLinux are expected to be available for purchase in the fourth quarter, the group said.

"The development of UnitedLinux is already well under way," said Ransom Love, chief executive officer of Caldera, during a conference call Thursday. Caldera has already merged its engineering team with SuSE's, Love said.

Analysts predicted earlier this week that the partnership was an effort to compete against Linux market leader Red Hat Inc., the missing player in the group. The combined market share of the four companies involved in UnitedLinux, as well as their worldwide reach, could pit the distribution of a standard Linux operating system against Red Hat, said Al Gillen, research director of systems software for research company IDC, in Framingham, Massachusetts.

Preliminary research from IDC for 2001 shows that the combined server operating system market share of the four vendors is about 25 percent, roughly half that of Red Hat's server operating system market share.

Caldera, in Lindon, Utah, and Turbolinux, in Brisbane, California, serve the U.S. market as well as Asia Pacific. SuSE, based in Nuremberg, Germany, is positioned to serve Europe, as well as the U.S. And, Conectiva, based in Curitiba, Brazil, ships its operating system product in Portuguese, Spanish and English, serving the Latin American market.

UnitedLinux, however, is not a closed effort. The group said Thursday that it is open to new members and has approached others in the industry to take part, including Red Hat and Sun Microsystems Inc., which recently announced that it was planning a Linux release for its line of Cobalt servers.

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