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Industry giants dominate LinuxWorld

IT industry giants such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard are proving to be the chief beneficiaries of Linux's rising fortunes in the enterprise as smaller, Linux-only companies struggle for survival.

The industry's top-tier companies will use this week's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in New York to roll out a raft of products that span from desktop to mainframe environments, reflecting the technology's strategic importance to cross-platform strategies and bottom-line performance.

The announcements will coincide with the demise of MandrakeSoft, which had been one of the more successful distributors. MandrakeSoft filed for bankruptcy protection last week but has still announced plans to ship an upcoming version of its operating system.

Computer Associates will underline renewed commitment to Linux at the conference by introducing 12 Linux-based products and updates to another six.

The offerings focus on managing mainframes and a range of distributed systems.

This may help fill a gap in the Linux offering identified by some industry observers.

"Organisations are not bringing Linux into a vacuum. They are looking for tools that run across all of their environments and would like to create a unified management domain. This is where CA is strong," said Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at IDC.

Of the Linux-specific vendors, SuSE will roll out its Linux Office Desktop, which gives users the ability to install Microsoft Office 2000 without the need to have Windows present.

Office Desktop combines Version 8.1 of SuSE's Linux with a partitioning tool that gives end-users the option to run Linux alongside Windows. SuSE will also roll out Openexchange Server, which combines the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server OS with an e-mail server and groupware functionalities.

UnitedLinux will give Linux a boost among telecommunications providers with a CGL (Carrier Grade Linux) 1.1 feature set for the recently released UnitedLinux 1.0. This groundbreaking technology will allow companies to develop and deploy carrier-grade applications across a standardised environment.

IBM will again make its presence felt at this year's expo by announcing several products, including the Tivoli System Automation for Linux, which is designed to give corporate users higher availability on servers.

IBM is expected to announce its eServer Integrated Platform for e-business on its zSeries mainframes, such as client support for Lotus iNotes Web Access 6.0 and a Linux-based reference platform for low-powered devices.

HP will show off a new line of workstations that are bundled only with Version 7.3 of Red Hat Linux and are aimed at users who work with data-intensive applications, said Judy Chavis, worldwide Linux director at HP.

The company will also unveil a four-processor version of its blade server with either Linux or Windows and will announce that it is breaking out the clustering software traditionally bundled with HP-UX operating systems and will sell a Linux version of it separately.

For the second year running, Microsoft will participate in the conference. Although it will not announce new products, Microsoft will demonstrate its Web Matrix development site, improvements to its GotDotNet Workspaces, and the latest versions of Windows Services for Unix, Embedded Windows XP and Windows CE.

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