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Linux operating system maker Caldera International, together with Linux vendors Conectiva, SuSE Linux and Turbolinux, will on Thursday (30 May) make a joint announcement about a product which, the group claimed, "will shape Linux in the enterprise".
In a separate announcement due next Wednesday (5 June), executives from Oracle, Dell and Red Hat are scheduled next week to launch what the companies called "Unbreakable Linux".
Oracle has advertised its database software as "unbreakable" and Mike Gilpin, research fellow with Giga Information Group, speculated that the news could be related to the release of a server appliance that would combine Dell's blade servers, Red Hat's Linux operating system and Oracle's database software.
Such a combination of hardware and software "could allow Oracle to lock down security more tightly, and make it unbreakable," Gilpin said.
Oracle and Hewlett-Packard previously shipped a server appliance in April 2000, built upon a stripped-down version of Sun Microsystems' Solaris operating system and a processor architecture from Intel, as part of Oracle's initiative known as "Raw Iron". Oracle has had plans to develop other versions of the server appliance with additional hardware makers.
Al Gillen, research director of systems software for research company IDC, speculated that the Caldera-led grouping could be trying to boost their market position against Red Hat.
Caldera, Conectiva, SuSE and Turbolinux each have developed versions of the Linux operating system for servers and desktop computers that compete in the market dominated by Red Hat.
Those versions of Linux are highly compatible with one another because they share developer tools, class libraries and support the same versions of the Linux core - known as the kernel. Users are, typically, able to run applications built for one of the operating systems on another one of the distributions, Gillen said.
"A partnership of some kind could give them an opportunity to compete with a player [Red Hat] that is much larger than any of them in the Linux market." Gillen said. Red Hat's software shipments represent more than half of the entire Linux desktop operating system market in terms of units shipped, according to IDC.
"[A partnership] also gives them geographic coverage that they can't individually capture," Gillen said of the four companies teaming on an announcement.
Caldera, and Turbolinux serve the US market. SuSE is positioned to serve Europe, as well as the US. Conectiva, based in Brazil, ships its operating system product in Portuguese, Spanish and English for the Latin American market.