IBM is looking to drive reluctant, cash-strapped ISVs to embrace Linux with a worldwide initiative to promote development and certification of applications for Novell Inc.s SuSE Linux on IBMs eServer and middleware platforms.
The program, launched this week in conjunction with Novell, of Waltham, Mass., gives interested ISVs access to technical resources, expertise and hands-on tools at nine IBM Innovation Centers across North America, Europe and Asia.
The initiative follows a similar move IBM made last December with Red Hat Inc., of Raleigh, N.C.; it focused on getting European ISVs to consider Linux.
A key impediment to enterprise adoption of Linux is the lack of applications supporting the platform compared with other operating environments such as Windows and Unix.
Adding to the pressure to provide a rich application environment for Linux is Microsoft Corp.s effort to woo NetWare users.
Microsoft and Quest Software Inc., based in Irvine, Calif., last week said they had migrated more than 1.5 million NetWare users to Windows Server 2003. Microsoft, in Redmond, Wash., launched its NetWare migration program last November, offering incentives to attract NetWare users.
In a potentially worrisome sign for Novell and its SuSE Linux, a survey by The Yankee Group Inc., in Boston, found that 80 percent of Novell users polled said they will migrate from NetWare to Windows by 2006, while 14 percent said they will choose Red Hat Enterprise Linux, said Yankee analyst Laura DiDio.
But IBM remains optimistic. Todd Chase, program director for IBMs Innovation Center, in Waltham, said that, to date, more than 6,000 Linux-based applications have been developed on the IBM platform.
Absoft Corp., of Rochester Hills, Mich., recently tested its FORTRAN and C/C++ compilers and debugging development tools for quality assurance on SuSE Linux 8.2 and SuSE Linux 9.0 on Power for pSeries 670 at the IBM Innovation Center in Chicago.
"Gaining access to the experts to test mission-critical applications on Linux gives solution providers the confidence they need to deploy Linux strategically in complex customer environments," said Wood Lotz, Absofts CEO.