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HP-UX Powered by Linux Development Tools?

Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ) said it will offer a second interim update of HP-UX 11i v3, the company’s Unix operating system. HP said the latest update, code-named Versatility, offers improved performance, security certification and new bundled applications.

HP's latest Unix update comes as the public challenge from other flavors of Unix as well as Linux and Windows continues to mount. Though HP-UX does compete against Linux, it co-operates with Linux in at least one critical area, namely development tools.

"We do have compilers and other development tools that run on HP-UX, but where we actually get a lot of our development environment tools are in cross-complier tools based on Linux," Brian Cox, worldwide director of BCS software marketing for HP, told InternetNews.com. "So you develop on Linux and deploy on HP-UX."

Cox added that HP is a big advocate of Linux. "That community has a lot of great innovation happening, so why not leverage that," he said. "Why fight it and create your own proprietary development environment when it's already out there in open source."

A fair amount of development occurs on HP-UX. Cox commented that year over year HP is seeing a 36 percent growth in independent software vendor applications on HP-UX 11i running on Integrity services. Still, he said, some of that has just been porting over applications from the older RISC chip architecture to Integrity, but new applications have been added as well.

HP-UX 11iv3 was first released in February 2007. HP provides its HP-UX users with interim updates every six months. The next major version, HP-UX 11i v4, is not expected until 2010.

With this second update to HP-UX 11i v3, Cox claimed that HP has also delivered improved performance of up to 100 percent for networking and data access. It has also improved in blade management and virtual partitioning.

The most visible change, however, might well be the new packaging for HP-UX. As of this update HP has four operating environment (OE) packages for HP-UX, each tailored to serve a specific market need. The four OE apps are Base, Virtual Server, High Availability and Data Center. The company plans a core configuration for each of these packages to ease deployment for specific use.

Cox noted that the principal driver beyond the new bundled offerings was a desire from users to target bundles to be more aligned with applications or usages deployed.

The next update for HP-UX 11i v3, code-named Vibrancy, is expected later this year. Currently HP lacks plans for an HP-UX version 12. The company will support HP-UX 11i v3 itself until at least 2017.