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VNU Net: Dell backs Linux with R&D dollars

Aug 16, 2000, 19:44 (7 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Geralds)

By John Geralds, VNU Net

Dell will spend $750m this year on Linux research and development (R&D), according to the company's chairman and chief executive Michael Dell during a keynote speech at this week's LinuxWorld Expo in San Jose, California.

Dell talked about his company's growing interest in Linux - especially as the operating system (OS) for servers - while taking shots at rival Sun Microsystems' Solaris OS.

"We don't think Solaris is the answer. We think Linux is," he said.

Dell said about 10 per cent of the company's servers ship with Linux pre-loaded. "We are spending more R&D dollars on Linux than any other OS, and this year alone the company will spend about three-quarters of a billion dollars on Linux."

He claimed that the open source collaborative development model is built to succeed in the internet age. Most of the company's customers are using Dell Linux servers as the server and storage products that power their internet infrastructure. "It makes much more sense than the proprietary model," said Dell.

But he added that he doesn't see lots of reasons why proprietary OS vendors would support Linux. He said Microsoft has a pretty profitable customer model and customer franchise, adding that Dell isn't going to stop supporting Microsoft customers.

The company is also examining the feasibility of Linux on the desktop. "We're quite interested in how Eazel's software, or the desktop opportunity, might emerge," said Dell.

With so many companies aligning themselves around Linux, Dell hopes to leverage the direct model to continue to decrease operating costs. Dell has about 22 per cent of the US market in servers, and about 10 per cent of those products run the Linux OS.

The company is also deploying dedicated Linux imaging servers in its facility in Texas to load the Red Hat OS. Dell said the imaging servers will be deployed at the company's other worldwide sites by the end of the year.

He said the company would begin to lean on its own suppliers, asking vendors of chipsets to provide software driver support for the Linux infrastructure.

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