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Oracle Touts Linux Tool at Show

Database software specialist Oracle Wednesday continued to spread the word of Linux, and its support for the open source operating system, by backing it up with a new software tool to help companies migrate their existing Oracle E-Business Suite applications to Linux.

The move appears designed to signal that the company is not letting its $6.3 billion hostile takeover bid for rival application provider PeopleSoft affect its own technological momentum.

Announced at the Redwood Shores, Calif. vendor's Oracle AppsWorld event in London, the move is aimed squarely at moving customers away from Microsoft's Windows platform. Oracle repeated its mantra that its applications running on the popular open source software will save customers money without losing performance. This promise of greater return-on-investment is alluring at a time when IT dollars are harder to come by than the heyday of a few years ago.

Oracle said its Linux Platform Migration Utility can help customers move Oracle applications from any platform to Linux -- and do it easily. The company said this is partly due to the fact that the migration tool retains the exact patch level and many customizations of the previous implementations, eliminating the need for administrators to retool the database.

To make the tools more convenient, Oracle said it is providing technical support to customers to have a support contract with Oracle and maintain an operating system support contract with Red Hat or any of the four UnitedLinux founding members, whom Oracle works with on forays into Linux.

"Customers know that Linux provides superior performance at low cost, but a multi-month migration project is a formidable obstacle for anyone," said Ric Ginsberg, vice president, applications development, Oracle. "With the Linux Platform Migration Utility, customers can migrate more quickly to Linux."

Free, the Linux Platform Migration utility will be available in July.

Oracle has spent a lot of time and money spreading the gospel of Linux and designing products to work with the open source operating system; CEO Larry Ellison has claimed publicly that Linux deployment will ultimately lead to the demise of Microsoft.

Wednesday's news demonstrates the company's unwavering support for Linux, similar to IBM. Like IBM, Oracle is increasingly banking on Linux to drive the future of applications and other software on an open source model and an alternative to proprietary systems.

The migration tool release comes a day after the company added three new products to its software arsenal to keep its E-Business suite fresh.

Oracle today has also extended its partnership with storage infrastructure provider Network Appliance , in which it will deepen technology validation and integration and support and services. Oracle employs NetApp storage technology in its development and testing of future products, including upcoming versions of Oracle Database and Oracle E-Business Suite.

Research firm IDC approves of this alliance.

"With NetApp storage systems, Oracle users can consolidate their data sets to a common storage platform, leverage software tools that make management easier and less costly, protect their data more easily with faster backup and restore functionality, and share their data more easily within the enterprise," IDC said.

AppsWorld comes as a sort of reprieve for Oracle, which for the last three weeks has been embroiled in a heated battle of words and legal filings since it moved to take over PeopleSoft before that applications rival could buy J.D. Edwards.

Yesterday, Oracle made a concession in its overture, agreeing to waive its condition that PeopleSoft not alter its offer for J.D. Edwards, which, of course, it already did. Attorneys general of several states are contemplating following Connecticut's coattails to sue Oracle for antitrust issues. The U.S. Department of Justice has until Monday to request additional information from Oracle about its $6.3 billion tender offer for PeopleSoft.