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LinuxWorld: IBM stimulates development of Linux apps

Jan Stafford

After spearheading a development initiative that spawned 4,200 Linux-on-Intel applications, IBM is turning its attention to stimulating development of Linux applications for its Power architecture.

Today, IBM added a new independent software vendor (ISV)/reseller partner alliance with Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc.; an initiative at the University of Portland School of Engineering; a Linux-on-Power developer's site and Web portal; and other Linux-centric enhancements to its Power application development programs.

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We've doubled the apps for Linux on Power in the first six months of this program, from 300 to 600.


Scott Handy
Vice president worldwide Linux strategy and market developmentIBM Corp.

"We're taking the momentum we have with Linux-on-Intel to Power, spending as much on ISVs this year on Power as we did for Linux-on-Intel in the past two years," said Scott Handy, vice president, IBM Worldwide Linux Strategy and Market Development. "We've doubled the apps for Linux on Power in the first six months of this program, from 300 to 600."

IBM Power processors are used in eServer iSeries, pSeries and BladeCenter JS20 servers. "Linux is getting more mature and can handle bigger workloads, so putting Linux on larger IBM Power server configurations is the next logical step," Handy said. "With Power, ISVs can support multiple server lines with one port, and larger server configurations bring ISVs more revenue."

At LinuxWorld today, IBM unveiled a program that links its 250-strong Leaders for Linux ISV/reseller program to Red Hat and Novell. These two leading Linux distributors will offer special incentives to IBM's elite ISVs and resellers that want to join their partner ranks, Handy said. He noted that Novell will be waiving certain partnership program criteria and membership fees for one year for those 250 IBM ISVs and resellers.

New Web resources for Linux developers were also introduced today. These include a Web portal, the Linux-on-Power Resource Center and the IBM developerWorks Linux-on-Power Developer's Corner, which includes a portal to development tools.

IBM revealed today that the University of Portland School of Engineering (UOPSE) is the first organization to participate in IBM's initiative for collaboration with the academic community of software developers. UOPSE will offer remote access to Linux-on-Power hardware and application hosting services to program participants. IBM is also sponsoring two academic grant programs, Linux Scholars Challenge 2004 and Linux-on-Power Innovation Grants.

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"We're very focused on helping individual developers in the open source community and universities," Handy said. "This is the first of many programs with these groups."

IBM is also bringing Linux into the Power fold by extending existing programs to Linux developers. These programs include the IBM Virtual Loaner Program (VLP), which enables ISVs to remotely access IBM hardware and operating systems through a secure Web portal and marketing-on-demand programs. IBM's 25 Innovation Centers for Business Partners will now offer education consulting, key Linux distributions and "test-drive" environments, and equipment for ISVs.

Dallas-based Bynari Inc., a Linux-based messaging and collaboration software and services vendor, is already taking advantage of the VLP, test drive centers and marketing offerings. They have enabled Bynari to release its software on IBM products at the same time the products are announced, said Hyun J. Kim, Bynari's president. Another benefit is the ability to put out timely updates and patches. "Overall, it has helped us to be extremely responsive to our customers' needs," Kim said. "In the short term and long term, it helped to drive a lot of revenue."

The purpose of the Linux-on-Power programs is not to drive development away from Unix but to simplify development by making it easier to create one application for both operating systems, Handy said. "With the Power architecture, the ISV can add Linux to their supported platforms," he said. "They can have a profitable business model on both Unix and Linux."


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