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Linux Fortune Broadens

Oracle and Red Hat are extending their Linux partnership into Asia with a new $13 million dollar initiative in Singapore, the two companies said on Wednesday.

The first joint Oracle/Red Hat Linux Enterprise Applications Porting (LEAP) Center is designed to be a hub for the region to help assist Independent Software Vendors (ISV) and systems integrators with migrating, certifying, optimizing and ultimately delivering Linux solutions.

"Demand for open source and Linux in APAC has grown significantly," Red Hat spokesperson Leigh Day told internetnews.com. "Red Hat and Oracle are strategically aligned to expand the adoption of Linux and Oracle solutions running on Linux internationally. This is another milestone in the relationship we've had with Oracle for years."

According to Day, the market potential in APAC is very strong for Linux solutions, something that the new center will strive to support.

"This center will support ISVs in India, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore," she said. "Also, the Singapore government recognizes the significance of Linux as an enterprise platform and has strong support for efforts like LEAP to 'skill up' and contribute to the country's technology capabilities."

The LEAP center provides access to both Red Hat and Oracle resources, including software development test beds, mission-critical support for pilots and flagship users, as well as an Intel architecture validation and tuning lab. The intention is that the center will help to accelerate Linux adoption in Asia Pacific by increasing the availability of enterprise-grade, third-party Linux applications.

"Third-party application availability will be the next driving force for Linux adoption," Keith Budge, regional managing director of the South Asia Region for Oracle, said in a statement. "This is a ground-breaking achievement for Singapore."

Asia is poised to be a significant market for Linux adoption, which is a fact not lost on many involved in the Linux industry. The market for open source Linux products in Asia is seen as a ripe opportunity by many Linux vendors. According to IDC Japan statistics, the Linux market in China is expected to reach $41.9 million by 2008 and $105 million in Japan by 2007.

Earlier this month, Linux distribution vendor TurboLinux announced that it won a contract to provide Linux operating systems for China's Ministry of Railways.

The Open Source Development Lab (OSDL), the so-called 'center of gravity for Linux,' continues to expend its energy into growing Linux in Asia. It recently hired Masanobu Hirano, former president of Red Hat Japan and general manager of Red Hat North Asia, as its director of Asia, a position that is mandated to oversee the OSDL's initiatives in Japan, China and Greater Asia.

"With our Lab and active working groups in Japan, as well as our growing efforts in China, we feel confident that the demand in the region for Linux will continue to grow," Paula Hunter, business development director for the OSDL told internetnews.com.

Oracle is no stranger to the Asian Linux market, as it is a strong backer of another Asian Linux distribution effort known as 'Asianux.' Asianux is a joint effort between Japan's Miracle Linux and China's Red Flag Software who created it in January to dominate the Asian Linux market. Asianux benefits from the widespread support of the Chinese government and Oracle. It recently released its first beta and certified over 40 industry vendors.