IBM offers Linux package for small businesses

In a continuing effort to help push Linux into the corporate mainstream, IBM Corp. launched a Linux-based software package for small businesses in the U.S. market, the company announced Monday.

The IBM Small Business Suite for Linux includes Lotus Domino Release 5.04 along with IBM's WebSphere Application Server, Standard Edition Version 3, DB2 Universal Database Version 7 and its Web design and productivity software including WebSphere Homepage Builder, IBM said in a statement.

"It's pretty clear from the market opportunity where all of the action is in Linux. Forty-eight percent of the 1.3 million installed servers went into companies with 100 employees or less," said Scott Handy, director, Linux solutions marketing for IBM.

"We're really trying to hit the sweet spot of where the customers are buying, and we didn't cripple the software in any way from a capability point of view" Handy said.

The server software will be priced at US$499 with user licenses offered separately at $90 per user for up to 100 employees per company, Handy said.

"IBM has gotten very much behind Linux, so this is a logic progression," said analyst Dan Kusnetzky, vice president of systems software research for International Data Corp. (IDC), the market research company owned by International Data Group Inc., the parent company of the IDG News Service.

Though IBM offers software that runs on other operating systems, including Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT, expanding to include open-source Linux is part of IBM's traditional business practice of bringing as many options to its customers as it can, according to Kusnetzky.

"IBM is moving Linux more into a mainstream position. But it's really an extension of what they've been doing in the past," Kusnetzky said of IBM's Linux effort.

In IDC's most recent surveys, "we've found quite a large number of small businesses have Linux installed, though largely for infrastructure. IBM is trying to help Linux become an enterprise operating system," Kusnetzky said.

IBM is working in conjunction with Caldera Systems Inc., Red Hat Inc., SuSE Linux AG and TurboLinux Inc. to offer support for the Linux software package, IBM said.

The IBM Linux software package offers language options of French, German, Italian, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese, simplified Chinese, traditional Chinese, Japanese and Korean, along with English, the company said.

IBM, in Armonk, New York, can be reached at +1-914-499-1900 or www.ibm.com.

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