SuSE Linux, the SCO Group (formerly Caldera International), Conectiva and Turbolinux are all expected to launch on Tuesday the latest versions of their Linux enterprise distributions powered by the UnitedLinux core, according to industry sources late Thursday.
This will be the first time the four Linux distributions are based on the UnitedLinux core, and follows the May announcement by the vendors that they would standardize on a single Linux distribution for the enterprise. The move, they said, should streamline Linux development and certification.
While the companies have all committed some technology and expertise to UnitedLinux, SuSE Linux took responsibility for the development and quality assurance of the final release, which is based in large part on the SuSE Enterprise Server.
Each vendor will also bundle value-added products and services along with UnitedLinux, which they will still sell and market under their own brands.
UnitedLinux Version 1.0 will be compliant with existing Linux standards such as Linux Standard Base (LSB) and OpenI18N (internationalization and localization), and will be available in English, Japanese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Korean, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, German, French, and Hungarian.
Supported by leading global ISVs and IHVs, UnitedLinux will have local language and local time zone support for customers around the world, and a combined channel of more than 16,000 resellers.
UnitedLinux is based on the 2.4.19 Linux kernel and will ship with the K Desktop Environment (KDE) 3.0. The four vendors are most likely to simply release the product as the next-version of their enterprise offering and each will simply have the notation "Powered by UnitedLinux".
SuSEs offering will thus be known as SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8. It is expected to ship with the Apache Web server and the Mozilla browser. It is also expected to have raw device support for databases as well as direct I/O and multipath I/O.
But the road to this point has not been easy for the UnitedLinux consortium, which has had to deal with concerns about their declining U.S. operations presence and the dominance of Red Hat Linux in the U.S.
In August, Turbolinux sold its Linux business to Software Research Associates Inc., of Tokyo. The new Turbolinux business is now based in Japan and has fewer than 10 U.S. employees.
Earlier in the year Caldera laid off 15 percent of its global work force and shut offices in Massachusetts and Germany. SuSE last year itself laid off 30 of the 45 people in its Oakland, Calif., office and shifted much of the responsibility for North American operations to its headquarters in Nuremberg, Germany.
A study by International Data Corp. the same month reported that Red Hat won nearly three-quarters of the $80 million in U.S. Linux sales last year. Most of the balance went to SuSE Inc., the report said.
Those vendors contacted by eWeek on Thursday for comment on the release of TurboLinux declined to comment.