Linuxworld: Vendors emphasise cost saving with open-source software

Return on investment will dominate this week's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, with vendors promising user...

Return on investment will dominate this week's LinuxWorld Conference & Expo in San Francisco, with vendors promising user organisations that the open source software can save them money.

Keynote speakers include Scott McNealy, the chief executive officer and chairman of Sun Microsystems, and Sergey Brin, co-founder of search engine company Google.

Brin is expected to talk about how Google runs its popular Web search engine using Linux on industry-standard hardware, cutting costs and complexity.

Sun aims to become a stronger presence in the Linux market and will announce a Linux enterprise edition of its Sun Grid Engine grid computing application at the show.

The show comes at a time of mixed signals for the Linux community. According to a new report by analyst group IDC, Linux sales fell by 5% in 2001 to £52.5m. However, IDC had predicted that this would increase to £184m in 2006 as vendors find new ways to market the operating system.

Linux could be boosted further by the dissatisfaction with market leader Microsoft's Windows operating system and its new software licensing policies, according to analysts Yankee Group.

About 40% of the 1,500 corporations surveyed by Yankee said they were "outraged" by Microsoft's more expensive licensing deals and are seeking other options.

Microsoft has its own booth at LinuxWorld for the first time. It is showing its Services for Unix and its Windows Embedded and CE operating system products. In the past, Microsoft officials have attended previous LinuxWorld shows to monitor the competition, but the company has never before taken display space at the event.

Key vendor announcements this week

UnitedLinux, a new standardised Linux distribution being created by partners Caldera International, SuSE, Turbolinux and Conectiva, will announce the availability of the first beta version of its operating system.

IBM will unveil several Linux hardware and service products and announce new Linux customers, including the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, Air New Zealand and NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Hewlett-Packard is expected to unveil its post-merger Linux strategy following its acquisition earlier this year of Compaq. HP will announce new partnerships with independent software vendors and the latest versions of several Linux products, including Secure Linux Version 2.

Red Hat will feature many of its partner companies, which will show their own business applications running on Red Hat's latest Advanced Server operating system. Several new alliances will also be announced.

InHand Electronics, a maker of development software and chassis platforms for tiny handheld devices for specialised industry, government and military uses, is expected to debut its first Linux-based handheld operating system.

The Open Source Development Lab is also set to report on progress to create a powerful standardised Linux version for data centre and telecommunications carrier-grade uses. The initiative was announced at January's LinuxWorld conference in New York.

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