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Caldera, Turbolinux Show New Face at LinuxWorld

NEW YORK -- LinuxWorld Conference and Expo was buzzing with activity Wednesday, much of it centered on enterprise solutions designed to help businesses manage their resources while keeping costs in check.

Two exemplars of the new suit-and-tie face of LinuxWorld are Caldera International Inc. and Turbolinux. The two companies, once numbered among the Linux distribution cowboys of the heady early days of the open source movement, have spent the last year or so striving to create markets for themselves in a proprietary space above the open Linux kernel.

Neither has abandoned its dedication to open source. Both continue to refine their Linux distributions, and Caldera Wednesday unveiled Caldera OpenLinux Workstation 3.1.1 and Caldera OpenLinux 3.1.1 -- each with technical enhancements to tools for Linux software development and deployment, as well as localization in the English, German, Japanese, Korean, Chinese Traditional and Chinese Simplified languages. But a cornerstone of Caldera's strategy lies in its Volution products -- Volution Messaging Server, Volution Manager and Volution Online (a subscription service which utilizes an extensive knowledge base of open source software alerts, patches and releases for all Linux systems to help administrators stay current with changes in open source software).

On Wednesday, Caldera unveiled Volution Manager 1.1. The new version extends the Web-based management and administration solution to all major Linux distributions, as well as Caldera OpenServer and Open Unix products. Volution Manager 1.1 also introduces a number of new systems management features, including:

  • Multiple platforms management via one interface
  • New install options that Caldera says simplifies reviews, evaluations and deployments
  • New Wizards for simplifying common tasks
  • New status and diagnostic features
  • Integration with Compaq Insight Manager
  • New customer response capabilities to monitor events
  • Integration with Volution Online.

"The [operating system] business is not a business where you're going to make money," said Caldera spokesman Blake Stowell. "Where Caldera's going to make their money is focusing on the business above the kernel."

Stowell added that Caldera will continue to focus on growing the Volution business and the Volution product family.

That's not a bad move, according to a competitive analysis white paper on Linux management solutions recently released by The Aberdeen Group's Dr. Bill Claybrook.

"Today, the leading overall Linux software management solution is an integration of Caldera Volution Online and Caldera Volution Manager," Claybrook wrote. "Caldera has the potential for large amounts of success with the integrated product solution both within its large installed base and outside its installed base because it has brought cross-platform management into one interface for several distributions of Linux, OpenServer, and Open UNIX with future plans for Solaris and Windows."

Turbolinux, too, continues to work on refining its Linux distribution, but is now also dedicating roughly half its developers to furthering its PowerCockpit product, which is aimed at giving administrators the ability to remotely control Linux servers, and push patches, operating systems and applications. A version for Windows servers is also in the works. The Linux version of the product was announced in September. Turbolinux's big wins at LinuxWorld came in the form of partnerships.

The company scored deals with both Hewlett-Packard and Compaq. HP plans to reference sell PowerCockpit for its NetServer and BladeServer lines, and will also co-brand the product and market, sell and support the co-branded PowerCockpit worldwide. Meanwhile, Compaq will use it as server provisioning software for its Linux-based servers, and will reference sell it for its Linux-based ProLiant BL server line.

"Our strategy has been to capture marquee channel partners and then focus on end-users," said Dino Brusco, Turbolinux's vice president of Marketing.