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On Eve of LinuxWorld, IBM Makes NT-To-Linux Push

Jan 19, 2004, 21:30 (11 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Jacqueline Emigh)

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By Jacqueline Emigh
Linux Today Correspondent

With two days to go before LinuxWorld, IBM today announced a slate of new programs for Windows NT to Linux migration, including free hands-on training classes.

The free classes will start in February, said Adam Jollans, IBM Software's worldwide Linux strategy manager, during an interview. Microsoft plans to cease Windows NT support by the end of this year.

Jollans predicted that some NT customers will move to Linux, some to Windows 2003, and others to a mixed environment combining both OS.

"For migration from NT, cost isn't as compelling a factor as it is in Unix-to-Linux decisions," Jollans acknowledged.

Still, though, many Windows NT users are dissatisfied with Microsoft licensing charges, he maintained. "They're saying, 'Let me move at my own rate in terms of updates.'"

Other users will look to Linux for greater reliability, security, or flexibility, Jollans said. "With all the viruses (hitting) NT, Linux is often seen as a more secure environment. Linux also gives you the flexibility to operate on hardware ranging from PCs to mainframes. You're making an Intel-only decision with Microsoft," he charged.

With more software now available for Linux, some people will be able to stick with the same applications they've already been using, he pointed out. In the accounting field, for example, AccPac now runs on both NT and Linux. IBM will also help users substitute NT apps with Linux equivalents: Samba for Linux-based file/print services and Lotus Domino instead of Microsoft Exchange for mail messaging, for instance.

IBM is offering assistance, too, to ISVs and corporate developers interested in porting their software to Linux.

Big Blue is working with business partners on pre-tested Linux software offerings across areas the include collaboration, database managements, security, Web serving, and application serving, according to Jollans.

However, mixed Linux/Windows 2003 implementations can also be appealing to some customers, especially for security reasons, he admited. "This can be a good way of hedging your bets."

Military organizations will adopt mixed implementations in order to "avoid monoculture," Jollans added.

At LinuxWorld later this week, IBM will issue make new Linux certification and hardware announcements, sources said.

Aside from Linux training, the NT migration offering announced today includes Move2Lotus, for moving to Domino running on Linux; and Migrate Now!, for transitioning from Microsoft SQL Server to IBM DB2 operating on Linux. Also in the works are programs for migrating to Tivoli security and management software running on Linux.

Most of the free classes will be run at IBM Linux Centers, Jollans said. IBM also plans to provide free technical documentation over the Web.

Linux partners already signed on to participate in NT migration programs nclude DSG Linux Services Group, Sytek and Avnet, plus security vendors such as TrendMicro, Checkpoint, and SourceFire.

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