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ComputerWorld: Clustering software takes Linux in new direction

Oct 27, 1999, 17:35 (10 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by David Orenstein)

"The performance clustering software and services announced today by Linux vendor TurboLinux Inc. and a cabal of partners including Unix vendor SCO Inc. takes the Linux market in an unusual and somewhat risky direction, analysts said..."

"TurboLinux's release is about six to eight months ahead of its competitors, said analyst George Weiss of the Stamford,Conn.-based Gartner Group Inc. But what really stands out about TurboLinux's approach to the market is its effort to provide high-end software that alters the Linux operating system itself. Most Linux vendors such as Red Hat Software Inc. of Research Triangle Park, N.C., have sought to stake their claim based on business considerations such as service and support, Weiss said."

"The significance to Linux users: TurboLinux's approach could put the compatibility of the different brands or "distributions" of Linux at risk, Weiss said. Linux vendors have generally tried to avoid producing incompatible versions like commercial Unix vendors have, but the effort to improve the performance of Linux clusters has brought TurboLinux to the point of changing the Linux kernel, which is governed by the public domain. If TurboLinux isn't careful, its strategy of serving a market by improving on core Linux technology could produce a "forked" version of Linux, Weiss said. If it avoids that pitfall, Weiss said, TurboLinux's gamble that users want Linux to scale to Unix-like heights of performance could succeed. "They have a shot at it,'' Weiss predicted."

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