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Debian Alliance on The Horizon - InternetNews.
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Debian Alliance on The Horizon

The Debian Common Core Alliance (DCCA), a group that brings together nine different Linux distributions under a common banner, is set to be announced at a press conference at LinuxWorld San Francisco next Tuesday, internetnews.com has learned.

The DCCA is expected to help drive Debian into the enterprise and bring it into direct competition with enterprise Linux heavyweights Red Hat and Novell.

The new group is a who's who of Debian vendors, both commercial and non-profit. They include Progeny Linux, whose founder Ian Murdock is the founder of the Debian GNU/Linux Project; Linspire, formerly known as Lindows; Sun Wah Linux; Xandros; UserLinux; MEPIS; credativ; LinEX; and Knoppix.

Noticeably absent from the list of Debian distros attending the DCCA press conference is the up-and-coming Debian-based distribution Ubuntu, which, some have argued, may represent a potential divergence for Debian-based distros.

The non-commercial Debian GNU/Linux is considered to be one of the more popular and widely deployed Linux distributions. Vendors, such as those that belong to DCCA, base their distributions in whole or in part on Debian GNU/Linux, the latest version of which was released after much delay in June.

Warren Woodford, CEO and founder of Debian-based distro MEPIS, told internetnews.com that DCCA will help Debian-based distros become more widely adopted in the corporate world.

He believes that certain things need to happen for that adoption to occur, including establishing standards and guidelines.

"By establishing standards and guidelines, we can in a lot of ways be the point of contact between the corporate world and the Debian world and we can provide many of those services that the corporate world wants," he said.

Among those items that corporate customers may want is a voice on what's going to be in the next version or the solution to an outstanding problem or training.

"We will have compliant products that will have common elements, so for people that write books or training materials or are getting certified, they'll know how to use Debian-based systems whether they are buying MEPIS or Linspire or one of the others," Woodford said.

"Corporate executives will know that there are standards there and we are complying with them. They can count on it and can count on a consistent product."

Alex Banh, CEO of Asian Debian vendor Sun Wah Linux, told internetnews.com that his firm had the concept of some form of Debian alliance about a year ago. He said Sun Wah employee Roger So, who is also a board member of the Free Standards Group (FSG), approached Progeny, Linspire and Xandros at last year's LinuxWorld.

"Back then Progeny was not so positive about it, because they were just beginning to work on the LCC [Linux Core Consortium], so that didn't go very well," Banh said.

The LCC, announced in November, includes Mandrakesoft, Progeny, Connectiva and TurboLinux.

Its goal is to implement the specifications of a standardized Linux, building on work done by the FSG and its Linux Standards Base 2.0 specification, which was announced in September.

Banh said that Sun Wah then ended up talking with VA Linux Japan in January 2004 about the concept of a Debian alliance.

"But at that time it was nothing about a Debian core, it was just a distribution get-together to promote Debian and sort of work together to get ISVs to support Debian."

Sun Wah and VA Linux announced their Asian Debian Linux partnership in March.

The DCCA began to take shape from Sun Wah's point of view just a few months ago. "We began to talk to Progeny probably in May and things just accelerated from there," Banh said.