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Monday, 10 January, 2000, 10:23 GMT
IBM lines up with Linux




IBM is to make the computer operating system Linux the centre of its hardware plans.

The company is to unveil those plans later on Monday.

The move is a fresh boost for the operating system, which is billed by many as an alternative to Microsoft's Windows.

Free for all

The demand for Linux is driven by the fact that its computer code is freely available to everyone, in contrast to Microsoft, whose code is a secret.

Sam Palmisano, head of the IBM Server Group, has said that he is committed to making all IBM's products Linux-ready.

"We will essentially Linux-enable all our platforms," Mr Palmisano said.

"We believe we are now on the brink of another important shift in the technology world. The next generation of e-business will see customers increasingly demand open standards for inter-operability across disparate platforms," he said.

IBM is also to donate key programming code developed for its mainstay computer systems to Linux, in order to boost its reliability.

IBM is to create a new unit within its enterprise hardware business group led by Irving Wladawsky-Berger, the founder of IBM's internet business unit.

This unit will have responsibility for all Unix and Linux software efforts, for advanced computer designs and for bringing together IBM's next-generation internet strategy.

The Finnish product

The Linux system was created by Finnish programmer Linus Torvalds in an attempt to transfer Unix's reliability to the world of personal computing.

It currently runs about one third of all web servers.

An indication of market respect for the product is that when VA Linux - makers of computers and servers running the operating system - floated in December, its shares jumped 700%.

IBM is not the only hardware company to see the benefits of Linux.

Last week, Intel announced that some of its web appliances will run Linux instead of Windows.

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See also:
24 Dec 99 |  Business
1999: the year of the net
09 Dec 99 |  Business
Linux shares rocket
09 Dec 99 |  Business
The mobile internet race
20 Nov 99 |  Sci/Tech
Free software taking on Microsoft

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