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.

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