UnitedLinux 1.0 Launches With Strong ISV, Cross-Platform Support


UnitedLinux technical advisory committee to be announced in next few weeks


Major ISVs including IBM, Borland, Computer Associates International and Network Appliance were on hand at Comdex to help usher UnitedLinux 1.0 into the marketplace.

UnitedLinux 1.0, developed by a four-member consortium comprised of The SCO Group, SuSE Linux, TurboLinux and Conectiva, is the first standards-based, enterprise-class Linux distribution that is intended to go up against Red Hat Advanced Server in the business market.

At the launch Tuesday, The SCO Group unveiled SCO Linux 4.0 based on UnitedLinux 1.0, while SuSE Linux AG unveiled its SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, also based on Linux 1.0. TurboLinux and Conectiva, the two other UnitedLinux members, plan to unveil products based on the new OS in the near future, a spokeswoman from UnitedLinux said.

In May, those four underdogs in the Linux market announced plans for a uniform Linux distribution that would enable ISVs to develop applications that run seamlessly on all four vendors' products. IBM, for example, plans to offer all of its middleware on UnitedLinux. CA currently offers more than 50 software products on Linux and plans to offer beta versions running on UnitedLinux 1.0 by LinuxWorld in January 2003, according to a company spokeswoman said.

In addition, NEC plans to offer its ClusterPro clustering software on UnitedLinux 1.0, while Network Appliance plans to bring its full line of storage solutions to UnitedLinux 1.0, including forthcoming iSCSI solutions, the companies said.

The UnitedLinux 1.0 distribution offers many enterprise-class features including scalability and availability improvements that will be part of the forthcoming Linux 2.6 kernel, robust security with support for Kerberos, integration of numerous Linux file systems including Journal File System (JFS), Reiser File System (ReiserFS), XFS and ext3, a built-in development environment and support for network storage management. For example, UnitedLinux 1.0 offers support for IPv6 as well as Logical Volume Manager and Enterprise Volume management System.

Based largely on SuSE's enterprise Linux OS, UnitedLinux 1.0 also offers a major advantage over Red Hat Advanced Server in cross-platform support. UnitedLinux 1.0 offers support for Intel's 32-bit and 64-bit Itanium platform, AMD processors, and IBM's full line of eServers including the xSeries (Intel), iSeries and pSeries (IBM PowerPC) and zSeries mainframe.

SuSE's Enterprise Server 8, which is slated to be available next week, will be offered on all of those platforms by the first week of December, said Holger Dyroff, head of U.S. operations for SuSE.

That feature is a big advantage for systems integrators who don't need to learn multiple distributions, according to SuSE.

As part of its major reselling pact with IBM Global Services, Red Hat has pledged to offer full support for all IBM eServer platforms, but that effort is not yet complete.

"Channel partners have been gun shy about Linux because there have been concerns about making money, and clearly this is a commercial endeavor," said Paula Hunter, general manager of the UnitedLinux organization, which is based on Wakefield, Mass. "We have interest from a broad range of interests," she said. "It's a signal [that Linux is being mainstreamed into the business market."

Hunter said CRM vendor Siebel Systems is working with SCO on UnitedLinux 1.0. Oracle and SAP are other major ISV backers, sources said.

UnitedLinux also soon plans to roll out new programs for developers and ISVs, as well as form a technical advisory board with major industry partners. It will forming over next few weeks, Hunter said.