Linux vendors plot a penguin invasion of government agencies

Linux vendors plot a penguin invasion of government agencies

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

SAN JOSE, Calif.'Army, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory and NASA officials attended LinuxWorld Expo last week to hear leading vendors' plans for taking the Linux open-source operating system into the government mainstream.

Hardware giants Compaq Computer Corp., Dell Computer Corp., Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM Corp. all made product announcements. And hardware start-ups, such as Penguin Computing Inc. of San Francisco, said they are hiring federal sales forces and signing on with resellers such as GTSI Corp. of Chantilly, Va.

Rick Blair, vice president of sales at Penguin, said federal agencies call almost daily about Linux servers and workstations. He said systems with Intel Corp. processors can underprice conventional Unix servers by up to three-quarters.

Like other Linux hardware start-ups, Penguin is getting ready to build systems with Intel's forthcoming 64-bit Itanium processor, as well as with rival Athlon and 64-bit Hammer processors from Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif.

Desktop file manager

Mountain View, Calif., start-up Eazel Inc., whose founders include several engineers from Apple Computer Inc., promoted a new Linux desktop file manager, Nautilus, that the company will release later this year, said Stan Christensen, a vice president and general manager.

Keynote speaker Michael Dell, Dell's chairman, said he ran his LinuxWorld presentation with Nautilus, which he called 'very cool.'

Corel Corp., whose Corel Linux Second Edition for PCs just released (see story, Page 1), announced a forthcoming server version plus Linux consulting services and applications.

Product manager Marc Bellefleur said Corel will put a graphical face on Linux server management, making it easier for administrators of Microsoft Windows NT networks to move to Linux or to blend a mix of servers running Linux and NT.

Bellefleur said a beta server version of Linux would be ready in November from Corel, whose chairman and chief executive officer Michael Cowpland last week resigned in the face of the company's financial woes.

Ransom Love, president and CEO of Caldera Systems Inc. of Orem, Utah, said Linux platforms' scalable potential has sparked much interest among federal users.

'We don't believe a single [operating system] kernel can scale to meet every need,' Love said. 'From thin clients to symmetric multiprocessing servers, you pick the kernel you need.'

Love said Caldera's new Cosmos management product, which can handle both Unix and Linux networks and individual computers, 'can be taken onto other platforms,' making network administration easier overall. Caldera earlier this month acquired parts of Unix developer Santa Cruz Operation Inc. of Santa Cruz, Calif.

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