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RealTime IT News

Big Blue Doesn't Fear the Penguin

Underscoring its commitment to bring open source to the enterprise, IBM announced a deal with VA Software to provide sales and marketing of the open-source company's Source Forge Enterprise Edition software.

The agreement also calls for IBM to integrate SourceForge with a variety of its infrastructure and applications, including DB2 database software, WebSphere application server, and Tivoli management software. SourceForge Enterprise Edition for DB2 is set for release by the end of the year.

"IBM is pleased to be working closely with VA Software to provide Linux-based solutions for enterprise customers," said Steve Solazzo, IBM's general manager for Linux, in a statement.

The deal calls for IBM to use both direct and indirect sales channels to push VA Software products, while the two companies plan to collaborate on complex projects for business customers.

"The integration of SourceForge with DB2 and other IBM software products will give us greater access to enterprise customers standardized on IBM e-Business solutions," said Ali Jenab, CEO and president of VA Software.

SourceForge is a software development environment, boasting 460,000 registered users and 45,000 projects.

IBM and VA Linux also announced that SourceForge.net, the open-source development site, would run exclusively on DB2 database software for Linux.

IBM has proven an enthusiastic proponent of Linux, seeing the open-source movement as a way to steal some thunder from competitors like Microsoft and Sun Microsystems. Yesterday, IBM announced a three-pronged strategy to swipe enterprise customers from Sun by migrating them from the Solaris operating system to IBM-built Linux systems.

While the promise of Linux has captured much mindshare, it has captured less market share. According to researcher IDC, the Linux market in 2001 actually shrank by 5 percent. Linux companies like Red Hat and VA Software have seen their once astronomical market caps decimated, as expectations for Linux's immediate prospects returned to earth.

However, Linux is on course to continue its solid growth. IDC forecasts spending on Linux operating environments will increase at a 28 percent annual clip, reaching $280 million by 2006.

Open-source proponents point to recent ties with middleware vendors as a sign that Linux has a bright future in the enterprise, even in more mission-critical areas of corporate computing. Some analysts have pointed to the customer brouhaha instigated by Microsoft's new software licensing policy as an opening for Linux to extend further into the enterprise.