New UnitedLinux Emphasizes Enterprise, Cooperation
May 30, 2002, 17:01 (30 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Brian Proffitt)
Re-Imagining Linux Platforms to Meet the Needs of Cloud Service Providers
By Brian Proffitt,
Representatives from the four distribution companies involved in
UnitedLinux have formally announced the initiative in a press
conference this morning.
The companies--Caldera, Conectiva, SuSE,and TurboLinux--were
joined in the conference by several representatives from their
industry partners, including IBM, Borland, Computer Associates,
Fujitsu-Siemens, and The New HP to announce the development of the
enterprise-level distribution UnitedLinux.
The new UnitedLinux distro will be targeted for business and
enterprise-level platforms and will feature a single, unified code
base that combines select packages of all of the participating
distributions. Each distro market and sell UnitedLinux under their
own brands, though each will carry a "Powered by UnitedLinux"
One of the new spins in the announcement that differed from
earlier reports were several statements that UnitedLinux was not
designed to compete against Red Hat.
"UnitedLinux is not a movement that is anti-Red Hat," stated
Ly-Huong Pham, CEO and President of TurboLinux.
All of the company representatives emphasized this point by
saying that Red Hat is more than welcome to join the UnitedLinux
consortium. Ransom Love, President and CEO of Caldera
International, told the gathered members of the press and analysts
that Red Hat and Mandrake-Linux, while not originally invited to be
a part of UnitedLinux's initial framework, were contacted yesterday
and this morning to begin talks with for each of these
organizations to join the United Linux effort as well.
Love described Red Hat's Michael Evans' first reaction as "very
All of the companies involved also strongly emphasized the
potential benefits to the enterprise level customer that
UnitedLinux could bring. Community involvement, however, will be
minimized somewhat, since the "Powered by UnitedLinux"
distributions will be aimed soley at the enterprise.
In fact, SuSE representatives confirmed that both the SuSE
Personal and SuSE Professional releases would remain intact and
would not fall under the UnitedLinux umbrella.
Speaking with Holger Dyroff, SuSE's U.S. Director of Sales,
after the conference call, it was learned that while SuSE Personal
and Professional would remain sepeate from UnitedLinux, because of
SuSE's role as systems integrator of UnitedLinux's codebase, much
of the same functionality in UnitedLinux would find its way back to
SuSE's retail line-up. Dyroff speculated that the same would be
true for Conectiva's retail offerings as well.
Dyroff also down-played speculation that Red Hat was a
competitor to Red Hat Linux. "We would absolutely welcome Red Hat
to join the UnitedLinux inititive." Linux's main competition, he
added, was Microsoft and Sun's Solaris, not each other.
During the meeting, it was also revealed that SuSE would also
hold the role of maintaining quality assurance for UnitedLinux,
which slightly alters earlier reports that QA would be handled by
the other three distributions in the consortium. Instead, SuSE will
act as systems integrator and QA, while the other companies will
work on development in key areas of UnitedLinux.
Another technical fact that was revealed was that UnitedLinux's
default GUI would be KDE. This comes as little surprise, given
SuSE's long adherance to that desktop environment. GNOME would be
included as well, Dyroff added, but the core GUI help and control
apps would be KDE-based.
The work on UnitedLinux has been going on for about two months,
according to Love, who stated that a joint-development team from
SuSE and Caldera has already been at work on the new code. An alpha
release of UnitedLinux is expected to made available (to industry
partners only) in June.