LinuxWorld Expo: UnitedLinux and LSB Form Tenuous Connection
Aug 14, 2002, 15:00 (2 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jacqueline Emigh)
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UnitedLinux is looking at shipping the final release of its new
OS in November, even as several existing Linux distributions
(including members of UnitedLinux) reach LSB (Linux Standard Base)
certification by the Free Standards Group.
With LSB standardization already under way, why do Caldera,
SuSE, TurboLinux, and Conectiva--the four founding members of
UnitedLinux--feel the need to forge yet another Linux OS?
At LinuxWorld, the founders are coming up with technical as well
as business rationales. "LSB provides a set of APIs. UnitedLinux,
though, is a full OS, with a kernel and a desktop, for example,"
responded Markus Rex, SuSE's VP of development. UnitedLinux
announced plans last night to ship a closed beta by the end of
August, and an open beta about a month later.
"LSB is lousy. It allows as many differences between operating
systems as Unix gave to OSes like Solaris, HP-UX, and AIX,"
contended Fernando M. Roxo da Motta, technical consultant at
UnitedLinux members also freely admit, though, that they need
the new OS to give them a leg up against domination by industry
kingpin Red Hat. Under their four-way distribution strategy, SuSE
has nailed down the enterprise assignment. Caldera will tackle
SMBs, through channel relationships inherited under its SCO
acquisition. Conectiva will keep distributing in Latin America,
while Turbolinux gets the Asia Pacific.
"I think that we will gain market share," acknowledged
Conectiva's da Motta. For its part, TurboLinux has already been
retrenching to its Asia Pacific stronghold anyway, as its North
American arm undergoes restructuring due to financial losses.
In a press conference at LinuxWorld, Caldera CEO Darryl McBride
told attendees that together, the four UnitedLinux members amount
to more employees and channel partners than Red Hat. Channel
partners for UnitedLinux total 16,000.
Still, all the employees of the new UnitedLinux could fit into
"one subsidiary" of an HP or IBM, noted Gregory Blipp, SuSE's VP of
German-based SuSE has also been tapped for "operational"
guidance. Although hesitating to even mention the name of
UnitedLinux's main rival, Blipp took Red Hat to task for recent
licensing issues with customers. Red Hat belongs to the Free
Standards Group, but not to UnitedLinux.
SuSE is engineering the UnitedLinux operating system as well,
but the new OS will integrate code from all four Linux
distributions, said Rex.
Hardware makers HP, Fujitsu and Intel have already come out in
press releases as UnitedLinux supporters. A representative of the
New Hewlett-Packard was present at the launch, and UnitedLinux
officials strongly hinted that IBM is also in favor of the new
UnitedLinux has already lined up a number of ISV partners, too,
although their names aren't being released at this point, according
to McBride. Also at the San Francisco press conference, UnitedLinux
rolled out a three-tier membership program for developers.
During the closed beta, set to become "physically available" on
August 22, UnitedLinux plans to add "dedicated access points" for
industry partners and customers.
"In the time frame between now and November, it is most
important to get feedback from customers," Blipp maintained.