Three new IBM / Linux partnerships aimed at a 'Microsoft-free' world

At the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in San Francisco this week, IBM strengthened its ties with the open source community by announcing partnerships with Canonical, Red Hat and Novell.

SAN FRANCISCO (BetaNews) - IBM hopes adding its software to distributions of Ubuntu, Red Hat, and Suse Linux will help consumers transition to become "Microsoft-free."

Specifically, IBM is working to ensure its Open Collaboration Client Solution, including Lotus Symphony, Lotus Notes, and Lotus Sametime, operate with the three Linux distributions.

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Canonical confirmed during the show that it will distribute Lotus Symphony through its own Web services before the end of the month. Red Hat and Novell are expected to follow suit.

Because of the high hardware demands of Windows Vista, Linux software makers have a unique opportunity to work with hardware manufacturers to release PCs and notebooks running Linux and other open source software, IBM said during LinuxWorld. This gives companies considering upgrades to their product offerings -- especially for the holidays -- an opportunity to select a well supported Linux distribution with low hardware requirements compared to Vista.

The Ubuntu booth on the show floor at LinuxWorld also has one IBM stand where an IBM employee is stationed, demonstrating Lotus Symphony operating on Ubuntu 8.04.1 LTS. The representative at the booth said that IBM doesn't anticipate an immediate impact, but hopes that the alliance will be able to slowly steal users away from Microsoft.

As part of the tenth anniversary of its involvement with Linux, IBM also launched its first certified open source software designed for Linux-based supercomputers. The latest high-performance computing open source software will be used with the Roadrunner project at the Los Alamos National Laboratory -- until just a few months ago, the world's fastest supercomputer.

Open-sourcing the software will enable the community at large to contribute code samples for the project, and will also be able to test new features and find bugs, IBM said during a press conference.

The new stack will be available first for IBM Power6 processors, but will be expanded to IBM Power 575 supercomputers and IBM x86 platforms over the next few quarters.

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