SuSE Linux AG has confirmed that its versions of Linux for IBM Corp’s iSeries, pSeries and zSeries servers are now available from its UnitedLinux partners. The company has also stated that other Linux vendors are interested in joining the UnitedLinux effort.
The UnitedLinux partnership was formed in May 2002 by SuSE, SCO Group Inc, Turbolinux Inc and Conectiva SA to develop a single Linux server operating system code base for Intel Corp’s 32- and 64-bit processor platforms. The first fruit of this development was released as UnitedLinux 1.0 in November, and was brought to market as SCO Linux 4.0 and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8.
In the meantime, Nuremburg, Germany-based SuSE has been working on its own development projects to port SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 to IBM’s xSeries, pSeries and zSeries Power RISC and mainframe servers, which traditionally run the OS/400, AIX Unix and z/OS mainframe operating systems. In October, SuSE signed a deal with Turbolinux to jointly market SuSE Linux Enterprise Server for IBM’s platforms.
At the time, SuSE’s vice president of international business, Gregory Blepp, suggested that there might be opportunities to expand the agreement to all UnitedLinux partners. That expansion agreement is now in place, according to Blepp, and the other UnitedLinux partners have signed up to distribute SuSE Linux Enterprise Server for the iSeries, pSeries and zSeries platforms.
He said the deal is separate from the UnitedLinux deal. For the customer it will be invisible, he said, but for the partnership it is different because none of the others were involved in the development of the i, p, and zSeries software. We are the certified software piece of Linux for i, p, and zSeries and the code will remain as it is. SuSE has to be in full control of the code because it has been certified by IBM and needs to remain unchanged.
Although SuSE has done most of the development and integration work for UnitedLinux, it is much more of a joint effort, and the individual partners are able to add modifications on top of the standard code to add value for certain market or geographies. SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, based on UnitedLinux, is available now for 32-bit Intel, while versions supporting i, p, and zSeries servers are due by the end of the year.
Meanwhile, Blepp also noted that the UnitedLinux partnership is now receiving interest from other Linux distributors who had initially been skeptical about its chances, and added that the partnership may soon be increased with more members. We are now discussing with certain Linux distributors who previously have been skeptical, said Blepp. They now acknowledge what we have accomplished and are looking at it to see what can be done from there.
Red Hat Inc and MandrakeSoft SA were among the other Linux distributors that had opted not to get involved with UnitedLinux, although the fact that they weren’t asked until after the event may have had something to do with that. Mandrake refused its invitation to join UnitedLinux in July, saying that it would gain nothing by getting involved. Red Hat has been far less dismissive of the principles of UnitedLinux, but had not returned ComputerWire’s request for comment by press time.