May 30, 2001, 8:15 AM — IBM Corp., NEC Corp., Hitachi Ltd. and Fujitsu Ltd. announced plans in Wednesday to begin working together on strengthening the Linux operating system.
The four companies will jointly commit 500 researchers and 10 billion to 20 billion yen (US$83 million[M] to $165 million[M]) to the project, which will focus on enhancing the reliability of Linux to make it more suitable for use in large organizations and corporations, said Kosuke Yamauchi, a spokesman for NEC.
The results of the project, which is expected to last between one and two years, will be published to the global Linux community, the four companies said in a statement.
"Linux needs some re-tuning in order for it to be used in the enterprise area. Currently it is mostly used in the network area," said Yamauchi. "Availability, reliability and other mission-critical aspects need to be improved."
"All four companies are mainframe (computer) manufacturers and have long experience in tuning our own operating systems for critical customer requirements. We decided it is much better to share the information we have and to avoid duplication of proposals to the Linux community," he added. "We can accelerate development time-wise because no duplication means we can theoretically do things four times faster."
The project, said Yamauchi, will focus first on improving the reliability of Linux so that it can better compete with the various types of Unix-based operating system.
"In the enterprise area, there are 3 or 4 operating systems. Proprietary systems are used in mission-critical applications, then Unix and then Linux and others like it. Linux needs to be enhanced step-by-step, first to Unix level and then maybe the higher level."
Demand for Linux-based servers is rising fast in Japan. In October last year, International Data Corp. (IDC) predicted shipments of Linux-based servers would be 41,200 in Japan during 2000, an increase of 144 percent on the previous year and accounting for 7.8 percent of all server shipments during 2000. This compares with 9.4 percent for Unix, 18.3 percent for Windows 2000 and 69.2 percent for Windows NT.