Tux comes to town

At a Linux conference held in Dubai this week, RedHat and Novell announced the availability of new Linux solutions for regional consumers and enterprises besides new marketing initiatives to increase the open source market share.

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By  Maddy Reddy Published  March 2, 2004

At a recent Linux conference held this week, RedHat and Novell announced the availability of new Linux solutions for the regional consumers and enterprises besides new marketing initiatives to increase the open source market share. “IT Professionals should start from the invisibles such as the mail, file-print, web and proxy servers, in the move towards Linux. It [Linux] offers unprecedented security. We are now targeting the desktop side of Linux with Ximian Desktop and the server side with Suse Linux with our Linux solutions being complemented by Netware and other Novell products,” says John Bell, managing director, Novell Middle East. Novell recently entered the Linux segment by acquiring Suse Linux, a German distribution company for US$210 million and Ximian, a privately held open source groupware (collaborative software) vendor. “We will continue to support our flag ship network operating system, Netware. From Netware version 7 onwards, users will have options to choose between Netware and the Linux kernel,” adds Bell. The one-day Linux event, which attracted more than 85 Linux enthusiasts and vendors, reflects the growing interesting of the open source solution in the region, but the numbers are yet to reach a critical mass. “We have more than 9,000 Red Hat certified professionally globally. In the region only now, we are seeing a growing demand,” says Emil Shaya, operations manager, Opennet MEA. Red Hat, a Linux distribution vendor currently operates in the region through its partner Opennet MEA. According to Opennet, few companies such as Saudi Telecom Company (STC), Schlumberger, Habib Bank AG Zurich (HBZ) are taking the initiative with Linux. Globally Linux, which started off in 1991 as a hobby project is now turning into a socio-political movement with enterprises and governments opting for an alternative operating system, but in the region companies are yet to migrate from their Windows and Linux environments. On the internet, Arabeyes.org with Arabbix is one of the region’s first large scale effort to standardise the Arabisation process. Barring Novell with Suse, Red Hat and Sun Microsystems with their Java desktop system (JDS) the vendors are yet to make significant inroads into the market with any strong customer references. Lack of channel initiatives, support, availability of Linux professionals, customer awareness continue to plague the fledgling operating system. The vendors believe this will change in 2004 with their new products and marketing strategy. In the event, Novell outlined its 2004 roadmap for Suse Linux 9.0, Ximian Desktop (XD2) and its new Red Carpet software management solution while Red Hat outlined its plans for the enterprise servers and it’s new Fedora project for desktop Linux. Both the vendors currently offer Arabised Linux distributions.

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