HP, Dell, Compaq herald Linux plans

Linux continues to gather endorsements from major companies, with Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Computer Corp., and Compaq Compaq Computer Corp. confirming plans to offer products and services for the open-source OS.

Linux continues to gather endorsements from major companies, with Hewlett-Packard Co., Dell Computer Corp., and Compaq Compaq Computer Corp. confirming plans to offer products and services for the open-source OS.

HP last week detailed an agreement under which resellers of the Red Hat Linux OS will provide support for the OS on HP's NetServer LPr servers. HP also revealed intentions to certify Linux for use on any model in its server line.

The rack-mounted servers are intended for use by Internet service providers, which an analyst noted are prominent users of Linux.

"The NetServer LPr is a good match for the capabilities demanded by several of the market segments that are using Linux, [including] ISPs that want low-cost, high-density computing," said Dan Kusnetsky, an analyst at International Data Corp., in Sarasota, Fla.

However, HP is seeing strong interest from its corporate enterprise customers as well.

"Our customers are asking for Linux support on NetServers, and we are beginning to see adoption in corporate [markets]," said Hannah Lewis, HP NetServer product manager.

The company will make Linux available to a broad portion of its enterprise customers with the qualification of its entire Intel-based NetServer line for Red Hat Linux by summer's end, Lewis said.

Red Hat will announce next week that Dell and Red Hat have certified certain configurations of the Dell PowerEdge 1300 and 2300 servers, as well as the Dell Precision 410 and 610 workstations for use with Red Hat Linux.

"Dell is exploring both possibilities: server and workstations," said a Dell representative who requested anonymity. "If customers want to run Linux, we are geared up to give them that."

Compaq is announcing this week support for Linux on its Alpha Server DS20 line.

Compaq resellers will have the option of providing any version of Linux on the servers, and will also provide the needed support.

Linux primarily was known as a fringe platform with a cult following until 1998, when companies such as IBM and Oracle began to recognize the market potential of the platform and began to back it as a platform for their products.

Linux is a cost-effective alternative to commercial Unix, said a representative for an ISP.

"Our midsize customers are looking for an OS that is not as cost-prohibitive [as other Unix variants]," said Mike Binko, a representative at PSINet, an ISP in Herndon, Va. "Linux may not have every bell and whistle, but as a solid platform on which customers can build a Web- or Internet-based business, it is more than adequate, and it goes far beyond that."

Hewlett-Packard Co., in Palo Alto, Calif., is at www.hp.com. Dell Computer Corp., in Round Rock, Texas, is at www.dell.com. Compaq Computer Corp., in Houston, is at www.compaq.com.

CPUs for Linux

Development platforms

* Alpha

* ARM/StrongARM

* Intel

* MIPS

* PowerPC

* Sparc

* VAX

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