Debian Alliance Eyes The Enterprise

The effort to put a Debian GNU/Linux based distribution into the enterprise consciousness may have picked up some steam this week. The DCC Alliance of Debian based GNU/Linux distributions released their DCC 3.0 core as part of an effort to further adoption and standardization and potentially offer an alternative to Red Hat and Novell/SUSE.

The DCC, which originally stood for Debian Common Core, now just stands for DCC Common Core due to trademark issues with the use of the term “Debian.”

The DCC Alliance was originally announced in August and includes Linspire, formerly known as Lindows; Sun Wah Linux; Xandros; UserLinux; MEPIS; credativ; LinEX; and Knoppix distributions. It also has its share of detractors who claim the effort won’t influence enterprise adoption of Debian.

The DCC 3.0 itself is not a distribution but rather a Linux Standards Base (LSB) 3.0 compliant Debian core. That core is intended to be the core for member distributions within the DCC Alliance as part of their effort to push commercial Debian GNU/Linux usage and adoption. DCC 3.0 derives its Debian GNU/Linux components from the 3.1 “Sarge” release which finally saw the light of day in June after much delay.

The standard core is intended to make it easier for ISVs to write or port code to DCC 3.0 compliant distributions.

“I think the release of DCC 3.0 is very significant as this represent the initial effort that the various members has put together for promoting a common core,” Sun Wah Linux CEO Alex Banh told

Xandros’ VP of Communications Stephen Harris said “the DCC 3.0 gives Debian GNU/Linux a commercial focus and collective weight that will open many doors to Xandros server and desktop adoption.”

Harris noted that Xandros’ experience in the DCC Alliance to date has been quite positive and was “delighted” that it has born fruit in a remarkably short time.

“There are a number of additional steps the DCC Alliance must take, but we have momentum and no significant obstacles have emerged,” Harris said.

Sun Wah’s Alex Banh noted that one of those next steps is a certification program for ISV and IHV’s.

It is unclear how much impact the DCC 3.0 and the DCC Alliance itself will actually have on Debian GNU/Linux commercial adoption. Notably absent from the members of the Alliance is the much hyped Ubuntu Linux distribution, which is also Debian based. In a recent interview with Ubuntu’s CTO Matt Zimmerman said it would not participate in the DCC Alliance because the company doesn’t believe it will be successful.

Ubuntu recently picked up a certification from IBM for DB2, which likely has helped to put it on the enterprise radar screen without being part of the DCCA.

Burton Group analyst Gary Hein said although Debian is a great distribution it doesn’t have traction in the enterprise compared to Linux distributions by Red Hat or Novell/SUSE.

That said, Hein said he was encouraged to see the formation of the DCC. “In theory, it will provide more commonality among Debian-based distributions,” Hein told “I don’t want to discourage the DCC Alliance from a well-intentioned effort, but I don’t see this as helping Debian’s odds in the enterprise.”

Enterprise users want more than one but less than three enterprise Linux distributions, he added.

“More than two creates certification and support problems for Linux hardware and software vendors. Thus, I don’t really see how Debian, or any other Linux distribution, will challenge Red Hat and SUSE.”

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