IBM seized the spotlight at the LinuxWorld Expo in New York City last week by issuing a spate of announcements that could significantly affect e-commerce professionals and the open-source community.
Chief among the Linux-related disclosures was IBM’s new initiative to foster open-source development. Big Blue will offer versions of its software at no cost to commercial developers to initiate what it hopes will become a new class of Linux applications specifically designed for smaller businesses.
Tapping into its strategic partnership with Linux vendor Caldera Systems, Inc., IBM plans to distribute an application developer’s kit, which offers messaging, collaboration and dynamic Web application serving capabilities. The kit also includes Java technology and tools for application development, a relational database for managing information and a Web application server for tasks such as Web publishing.
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Working with SGI, IBM also announced the availability of the its DB2 Universal Database on the Linux-based SGI 1000 server series. Additionally, a team composed of engineers from both companies will collaborate on a DB2 project to optimize it for Linux on both the IA-32 and IA-64 systems.
Through the strategic relationship, IBM will have access to a new distribution channel for its database and online business enabling software. DB2 Universal is a multimedia, Web-ready relational database management system that is designed, according to IBM, for organizations from large to smaller businesses.
SGI’s 1000 server series consists of the SGI 1200 and 1400 servers. Both server models are Pentium II-driven, and the 1200 is, according to SGI, deployed in Internet serving environment and technical computer cluster situations.
IBM, which appeared at LinuxWorld with a team of executives, announced a number of other significant Linux-related moves, including the beta release of a Linux version of its NetObjects TopPage Web authoring software. The product, which includes Web site creation tools and a step-by-step multimedia tutorial, is currently available online for download.
ViaVoice speech-recognition technology will also be made available for Linux through the IBM software group. Allowing open-source developers to voice-enable Linux applications, from desktop and server systems to PDAs (personal digital assistants), the technology will first be produced for the Caldera, Red Hat and SuSE distributions, with a TurboLinux version available later this year.
IBM will additionally create Network Stations that run Linux, and develop an enterprise-class file system that is designed to protect data integrity during power outages and other system failures.
“Open standards are key to the next phase of the e-business evolution,” commented Irving Wladawsky-Berger, vice president of technology and strategy for IBM’s enterprise systems group. “Linux is moving into the computing mainstream at the same pace the Internet did a few years ago and will fuel the growth of e-business.”