By Bruce Meyerson
The Associated Press
N E W Y O R K, May 25
A popular IBM program for network databases will be sold with a Linux operating system in a deal giving the upstart software company added legitimacy in a market dominated by Microsofts Windows NT.
The agreement to bundle TurboLinux and IBMs best-selling DB2 Universal Database program was announced today by Pacific HiTech, one of many small companies selling a version of Linux.
The companies also agreed to collaborate on making future editions of IBM server software, often referred to as middleware, and TurboLinux work together more smoothly.
For now, Linux poses only a marginal threat to Windows NT as the No. 1 software platform for the servers that run computer networks.
But an affiliation with DB2, which recently eclipsed Oracle8 as the top database application for those machines, marks a new level of legitimacy for Linux, which is a fan favorite among software developers, but relatively new to the business world.
Red Hat Got Noticed
It takes more than just an operating system to run a computing environment effectively, said John B. Jones Jr., an industry analyst for Salomon Smith Barney, noting surveys showing that data processing is a top priority among server operators.
In the Linux space, the No. 1 prerequisite is database software, and IBM has the No. 1 position in the database market, he said, referring to todays deal as one more incremental benefit to the people who are considering using Linux.
The Linux code, developed by Linus Torvalds in the early 1990s when he was a student in Finland, is best known for being a system that rarely crashes.
But it was relatively unknown until recently, when big names such as Intel, IBM, Netscape, and Oracle began investing in Red Hat, a leading vendor of Linux software, based in Durham, N.C.
In 1998, the Linux server market grew by 212 percent with more than 500,000 copies shipped, according to International Data Corporation, an industry research firm.
The basic code, continually updated in consultation with an enthusiastic community of programmers, is still given away for free over the Internet or can be bought at stores for as little as $30.
Enhanced versions such as TurboLinux can sell for about $200.
No pricing for the DB2-TurboLinux was disclosed. DB2 typically sells for about $8,000 per copy.
We have customers in every geography asking for Linux solutions, said Dick Sullivan, a vice president for IBM Software. Collaborations like our agreement with Pacific HiTech will help IBM bring enterprise solutions to our customers faster and with the same high level of support for Linux as we provide for other operating systems.
Pacific HiTech, based in san Francisco, shipped about 1 million units of TurboLinux last year, but mostly in Asia.
Copyright 1999 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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IBMs popular DB2 Universal Database program will be bundled with the TurboLinux operating system.