February 01, 2001, 4:41 PM — Executives from IBM and Intel Corp. who spoke at the LinuxWorld Conference & Expo that started here yesterday said it's time for the open-source Linux operating system to make the jump into corporate data centers.
In a preview of a keynote speech that he was scheduled to deliver this morning, Will Swope, general manager of Intel's solutions enabling group, yesterday said Linux developers should view the data center as the "next frontier" for the operating system. Linux has become mature enough to expand beyond its current uses in front-end Web servers, Swope said.
Swope's comments matched those made earlier yesterday by Samuel Palmisano, IBM's president and chief operating officer. Palmisano, who was named to his current job at IBM last summer, opened the LinuxWorld conference with a keynote speech in which he asserted that Linux is ready to leap the chasm between being "a nice modular technology" for smaller business systems to becoming a key operating system for use in corporate e-business applications.
Linux "is now and will continue to be the fastest-growing operating system in the world," said Palmisano. To try to ensure that Linux is more readily adopted by large corporate users, IBM yesterday announced a new set of support services aimed at helping companies install e-business applications based on the operating system.
IBM also said it plans to spend $300 million during the next three years to develop additional Linux-related services, many of which will be designed to make it easier for corporate users to integrate Linux applications into their mainframe-based computing architectures. In addition, the computer maker disclosed that it's developing a 64-processor system that will be able to run the Linux Application Environment on top of a Unix operating system.
"It's as simple as this: People out there need to [decide] whether they're going to vote for Linux and open-source technologies or not," Palmisano said. "We are putting a lot of our prosperity at stake with this investment . . . But we can't solve this problem ourselves." The company and other vendors need help from the Linux community at large, he added.
Trying to shatter the notion that Linux isn't ready to control mission-critical corporate applications, Palmisano pointed to several deals in which companies are either buying native versions of Linux to run on IBM's z900 series of mainframes or planning to run Linux applications in partitions under the OS/390 mainframe operating system.