IBM this week will highlight its affinity for Linux by playing up the benefits of the platform to IBM developers at its annual developerWorksLive conference.
At developerWorksLive, which kicks off Wednesday in New Orleans, IBM will highlight developer successes on the Linux platform and also deliver a new Linux-based solution for small and medium-size businesses. The company also plans to announce several new initiatives with the IBM-sponsored Eclipse open-source Java-based application development platform.
“What were seeing is an increase in momentum in developers using Linux and writing for Linux—both in terms of developers writing applications for Linux and others writing applications for Windows but developing on Linux,” said Adam Jollans, Linux strategy manager for the IBM Software Group.
IBM is keen on Linux “because it gives developers the potential to go across the hardware platform, from mainframes to RISC systems to Intel, all with the same set of skills,” Jollans added.
Jollans said more than 5,000 Linux applications have been registered on IBMs systems.
According to Gartner Group, 45 percent of midsized businesses are using or experimenting with Linux. IBM officials said these midmarket companies tend to view Linux as a “reliable and cost-effective operating system.” And the growing support for Linux presents a major opportunity for developers to create Linux-based business applications for these customers, Jollans said.
Meanwhile, IBM is looking at the SMB (small and medium-size business) market as a ripe opportunity for its Linux thrust, Jollans said. “The SMB space is very interesting,” he said. “The ISVs are especially interested in the SMB space with Linux. And were counting more than 6,000 customer engagements with Linux coming from IBM.”
And while tools have been sort of a sticking point for Linux developers, Jollans said IBM offers a capable set of Linux development tools in its WebSphere Studio.
“The development environment is shifting from just being command-line compilers to interactive tools Windows users are used to,” he said. “There are some people that will only use command-line development, but you have things like WebSphere Studio and Borland [Software Corp.s] Kylix.”
And “one thing to help this even further is our Express product line—with our DB2 Express and WebSphere Express for the SMB space,” Jollans said. “Linux is a thing where were seeing growth in different areas concurrently.”
For developers, IBM has a Speed-start Your Linux App program as well as a Linux Zone on the IBM developerWorks site. “Thats one of the most popular areas on our developerWorks site,” Jollans said. “And Linux is a main focus of our ISV porting centers around the world.”
IBM will introduce a new packaged solution consisting of hardware and software for sale through partners.
The new IBM Integrated Platform Express will enable resellers, ISVs and other partners to deliver business applications on top of an integrated hardware and software offering consisting of IBMs WebSphere Application Server-Express and DB2-Express and the IBM eServer x225, x235 or x345 systems, the company said.
The offerings, set for delivery this quarter, will be targeted at businesses in the retail, finance, manufacturing, government and industrial markets, IBM officials said. And the solutions will include disk storage and start at less than $4,000, they said.
Meanwhile, IBM will announce Version 2.1 of the Eclipse platform. One key feature of Eclipse 2.1 is new support for Mac OS. Other new features in Eclipse 2.1 include workbench navigation enhancements, user-set key bindings, new support for the Apache Ant build tool and flexible project layouts, officials said. The Eclipse editor and debugger have also been improved, they said.
“Were now up to 7 million downloads of Eclipse,” Jollans said.
The Eclipse consortium now consists of 34 members, and more than 260 Eclipse-oriented projects have been recognized by Eclipse.org, the company said.
Also this week, Eclipse.org is expected to announce that the Hyades project, a project to automate software quality that is being led by Scapa Technologies Inc., will release an open-source implementation of the Unified Modeling Language 2 Test Profile specification (U2TP), which was submitted to the Object Management Group last month. The U2TP is scheduled for OMG approval as a standard in June, OMG officials said.
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