Vendors Are Punch-Drunk with Linux Love

Reporter's Notebook: LinuxWorld Boston is full of new products and enthusiastic vendors.

BOSTON—You walk the show floor with your eyes around nipple level, and everywhere you espy an unbroken line of blue exhibitor badges, because this is LinuxWorld, and everyone is here to sell, sell, sell. Ironic, no? From scruffy to scaling the stack, all in a few (short?) years.

The big software and hardware vendors were all beating their breasts to proclaim their love for Linux, of course. A random selection of splashes from the big fish:

• Novell Inc. tossed hundreds of thousands of lines of code as if it were so much confetti, launching an open-source collaboration server project, "Hula." Wouldnt you know it, though: Those skeptical open-sourcers thought that Novell had its own welfare in mind.

"They still have objectives of their own: to put [code for Novell software] into their solutions," said Jason D. Runyan, an IT specialist at the USDA, in Kansas City, Miss. "[Messmans] here, and hes doing this presentation, but there are motivations. He mentioned GroupWise: He obviously wants everybody to adopt GroupWise."

Indeed, Hula is just Novells way of "being Red Hat," Runyan said. "They can say oh, look, were open source with this too, we started this project and whatever."

Click here to check out the LinuxWorld slideshow, replete with two types of funny hats on the show floor.

Yeah, but at least they shelled out the code, said Colin Bodell, chief technology officer of VA Software Corp., of Fairmont, Calif. (Theyre the guys responsible for and a mess of other very cool open-source sites.) That passes the "whaddya got for us" litmus test for sure, said Bodell and Jeff Bates, vice president of editorial operations at

• For its part, big fish Oracle Corp. announced key products are certified on the new Red Hat Inc. Enterprise Linux 4 operating system, plus it opened a Linux Test Lab devoted to torturing your applications on Linux, nice and slow, just like in real life, with mind-numbing workloads.

Oracle is creating a test lab dedicated to Linux to ensure "beyond a shadow of a doubt" that the operating system can run mission-critical systems, the company announced on Tuesday.

Oracle will test Red Hat and Novell SuSE Linux operating systems, as well as the mainline Linux kernel, using real-world workloads, the same as it does to its own products. It has pledged to fix operating system issues as theyre found and will provide fixes back to the Linux community and to its operating system partners.

Next Page: Oracles Wim Coekaerts says better Linux diagnostics in the works.