Four Linux distributors will develop a common version

Four Linux distributors will develop a common version

Four companies that sell packaged distributions of the open-source Linux operating system are joining forces to sell a uniform distribution targeted at large enterprises.

The OS standard, which the vendors have dubbed UnitedLinux, will make it easier for hardware and software makers to certify that their products run on Linux platforms, said Holger Dyroff, North American sales director for SuSE Inc. of Oakland, Calif.

UnitedLinux will be aimed at the server market rather than at desktop PC users, Dyroff said. The same source code will back the compilations for 32- and 64-bit processors from Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif., as well as the varied CPUs that IBM Corp. uses in its servers and mainframes.

Present Linux distributions on the market have slight differences that require third-party vendors to conduct multiple tests on their products, Dyroff said.

SuSE joins Caldera International Inc. of Lindon, Utah, Conectiva S.A. of Curitiba, Brazil, and TurboLinux Inc. of San Francisco as the founders of UnitedLinux. All four companies will release their first UnitedLinux products in the fourth quarter of 2002, Dyroff said, although hardware and software manufacturers will get beta versions before then.

Missing from the UnitedLinux lineup is Red Hat Inc. of Durham, N.C., widely regarded as the market leader among commercial Linux distributions.

The UnitedLinux founders have made it clear in press statements that they have invited Red Hat and other distributors to join, Dyroff said.

Besides AMD, IBM and Intel, UnitedLinux supporting partners include Borland Software Corp. of Scotts Valley, Calif., Computer Associates Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co.

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