IBM and Novell have rekindle their long-term Linux relationships with deals to push IBM software on Novell’s desktop and server operating systems among a number of announcements from both companies at Linux World.
Novell may have flirted with Microsoft in recent months but its long-term commitment is to IBM, which invested $50m in Novell’s as part of its $210m acquisition of SUSE Linux back in 2003.
That partnership has been strengthened thanks to Novell’s commitment to deliver IBM’s WebSphere Application Server Community Edition software on SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and its Open Client software on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.
The WebSphere agreement also sees Novell lining up against Red Hat’s JBoss middleware division. Novell dropped JBoss Application Server from its SLES distribution in 2006 following Red Hat’s purchase, although it insisted there was no connection between the two.
Instead SLES 10 shipped with Apache Geronimo, which is the basis for WebSphere Application Server Community Edition. The software is free and available under a liberal license that enable internal duplication and modification and came to IBM via its 2005 acquisition of Gluecode.
As part of the announcement IBM revealed that WAS CE version 2.0, featuring full Java Enterprise Edition 5 support, will be available later this year.
The two companies also teamed up on the desktop with plans to deliver an integrated Open Client for Novell’s SLED. The collaboration client includes IBM’s Lotus Notes, Lotus Sametime and other productivity tools, while Lotus Connections, Lotus Quickr and WebSphere Portal can be added for additional collaboration capabilities.
The companies estimated that customers could save as much as $500 per user using the Lotus and SUSE combination, compared to Windows Vista and Microsoft Office.
The Novell agreements were part of IBM’s overall Big Green Linux push, which supports the company’s overall Project Big Green eco-friendly strategy. As part of that strategy the company recently announced plans to consolidate 3,900 servers to 30 System z mainframes running virtualized Linux.
The company announced that its Linux Technology Center has contributed a number of features to the Linux kernel to improve energy efficiency, such as scaling CPU clock speed and voltage and keeping idle CPUs in a low-power state longer.
The Big Green Linux project also involves the Information Server Blade introduced earlier this week, which is designed to improve efficiency by providing a purpose-built data virtualization system.
Meanwhile Novell has been conspicuously busy at this year’s event following its Microsoft partnership. As well as a Linux laptop partnership with Lenovo and thin client partnership with Wyse, the company also announced the beta release of version 10.3 of its openSUSE community-developed distribution.
Alongside the beta of 10.3 Novell also updated the openSUSE Build Service, the Linux distribution development platform which was released under open source license earlier this year.
The Build Service is the development platform for future SUSE Linux distributions, but also enables users to create their own Linux distributions. With the latest version the openSUSE team has delivered the end-user interface required to enable users to create their own distribution.
Novell also announced that the Electronics Corporation of Tamil Nadu in India is rolling out the company’s SUSE Linux Enterprise distribution across 30,000 desktops and 1,880 servers in the southern state of India.
The supplier of hardware and software to the Tamil Nadu government has already migrated its own infrastructure from Windows to SUSE Linux Enterprise and has estimated 25% cost savings on general purpose hardware alone.