IBM to preload servers with Linux

IBM Corp.'s Netfinity servers will come preloaded with the Linux operating system, and users will be able to choose from three flavors of the increasingly popular open-source software.

Top Linux vendors Red Hat Inc., Caldera Systems Inc. and TurboLinux Inc. separately announced Monday that IBM will pre-install or bundle their Linux versions on Netfinity servers. An IBM official quoted in the written statements said that customers increasingly want Linux as an operating system option.

IBM will continue to consider other possible Linux vendors with whom to partner, said Jay Bretzmann, IBM manager of strategy for Netfinity.

Linux versions have different strengths and are better suited to different uses, Bretzmann said, adding, "it's not like they're all overlapping."

In other Linux news, International Data Corp. (IDC) released research Monday noting that "Linux server purchases are strongly tied to the Internet." The Framingham, Massachusetts-based market researcher found that servers running Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT and Linux are used to host similar applications and perform similar functions.

Linux is increasingly popular as an OS on servers running back-office software, said Matt Eastwood, research manager for IDC commercial systems and servers. The report found that a little more than 60 percent of spending on Windows NT and almost 55 percent on Linux was for back-office and collaborative software use. Though Linux remains prevalent for front-end systems that are less robust, that is changing, he said.

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