IBM puts weight behind Linux operating system

IBM this month has given more details of how it sees Linux fitting in with its server architecture, but has given a clear signal that its AIX and Monterey Unix-based systems will continue to act as its mainstays in the `industrial strength’ market. Miles Barel, IBM’s Unix marketing director, said Linux will have a role […]

IBM this month has given more details of how it sees Linux fitting in with its server architecture, but has given a clear signal that its AIX and Monterey Unix-based systems will continue to act as its mainstays in the `industrial strength’ market.

Miles Barel, IBM’s Unix marketing director, said Linux will have a role in the company’s mixed Unix server strategy. `Linux will be one of the leading drivers of the next generation of internet technologies, when its applications will become ubiquitous,’ he said.

`But there will also be a need for industrial strength servers like the AIX system [IBM’s own version of Unix]. IBM’s aim is to leverage Linux to encourage pervasive application development which will drive the growth of applications.’

This will be music to the ears of Linux promoters, as IBM is one of the first large vendors to endorse this open system.

Linux was invented by Linus Torvalds, who in a radical move made the code freely available world-wide, in competition with the tightly-held Microsoft Windows business model. Numerous programmers have since created a wealth of application software using Linux.

IBM already offers Linux on its low-end Netfinity servers.

Linux will be able to capitalise on the variety of operating systems required to cover all the different workloads evolving in e-business, with multiple applications handling vast volumes of data and extremely dynamic, unpredictable environments.

But Barel said Linux will be most suited to operating in `fairly simple environments like self-contained application servers.’

More complex web-application or data transaction servers will require a combination of AIX and IBM’s Monterey Unix – which aims to offer servers that can switch between Unix and other operating systems including Linux, depending on the application. `We realise that one-size doesn’t fit all,’ said Barel.

`Project Monterey will offer AIX capabilities for critical areas which have industrial-strength requirements. It also begins to develop our strong affinity with Linux, combining the best of Unix technologies with the flexibility to meet customer needs.’

Linux’s role looks set to expand, but time will tell if it is to be pigeon-holed into the smaller application arena. Many independent programmers have a far broader vision for this exciting operating system.

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