Linux Taking on Higher Enterprise Profile

UPDATED: Linux and open source may be reaching a new era as the faithful congregate at next week's LinuxWorld conference in New York.

Linux and open source may be reaching a new era as the faithful congregate next week at the LinuxWorld conference in New York.

As the legal battles over Linux and Unix continue to play out, more vendors are offering users legal indemnity, and the 2.6 kernel will soon start finding its way into products.

But according to Sam Greenblatt, senior vice president and chief architect for Computer Associates International Inc.s Linux Technology Group, in Islandia, N.Y., the show will be about much more than that.

"Industry executives will be using their keynotes to make the declaration that we are now into the Linux generation," Greenblatt said in an interview. "Like the transition toward the PC in the 1980s, Linux has now matured to the point where it will be taking over as the next form of computing. The SCO [Group Inc.] lawsuit and all the issues related to that are yesterdays old news. We are going to be stressing the maturity of Linux and how pervasive it has become."

Nevertheless, the legal story will be a hot topic. This week, Open Source Development Labs Inc. created a $10 million Linux Legal Defense Fund to defend users against litigation from SCO. Novell Inc., of Provo, Utah, has also set up a Linux Indemnification Program for its SuSE Enterprise Linux customers, under certain conditions, with protection against intellectual property challenges to Linux and to help reduce the barriers to Linux adoption in the enterprise.

The moves will put more pressure on IBM to consider indemnifying its Linux customers, something the Armonk, N.Y., company has not done, although Scott Handy, a Linux vice president at IBM, told eWEEK there is "no change in our policy toward customer indemnification."

Instead, IBM will use next weeks conference to announce its NT-to-Linux Migration Program, designed to encourage customers still running the Windows NT legacy operating system to move to Linux. IBM will offer free NT-to-Linux migration classes and give education and training to its global base of business partners.

Next page: Will Microsoft extend Windows NT support?