Linux looks to take on the world. Linux is a highly capable but curt operating system that does not suffer fools gladly.

Linux is a highly capable but curt operating system that does not suffer fools gladly.

Likewise, LinuxWorld shows have always been a gathering primarily for the few, the proud, the brave and the extremely nerdy ubergeeks.

But this year LinuxWorld will feature tools that will help bring the alternative operating system squarely into the mainstream.

Sophisticated system-management tools, tantalizing previews of Linux running on Intel's upcoming super-fast Itanium processor, small handhelds and super-thin servers, huge cluster computers and gigantic storage devices are expected to take center stage at the show, which will be held at New York's Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Jan. 30 through Feb. 1.

Over 200 exhibitors will be on hand for the four-day event, which will also feature 15 tutorial programs and 50 conference sessions, primarily focused on real-world implementation and management of Linux.

"We've proved the essential value of Linux. Now we need to focus on providing the tools that will allow Linux to grow and prosper in the standard business and home environment," said Jerry Franks, a Linux programmer.

"We may need to shift our focus away from those typical Linux programmer activities like twiddling with the operating system itself, or writing drivers that let Linux run specific peripherals, and think about what we can make that will really further our vision of Linux as the ultimate operating system, and open source as the ultimate development method."

Franks isn't the only one who sees a real need for professional-strength management tools.
Veritas will announce that its NetBackup products now support Linux. Caldera Systems will be announcing Caldera Solution for Linux, a Web-based remote management solution that allows administrators to manage multiple Linux servers and desktops from afar.

EST will preview its newest data-protection product for Linux-centric networks, BRU-Pro, while Virtual Access Networks and SuSE have developed The Van, the first PC settings migration tool that promises a painless way to migrate Microsoft Windows clients onto Linux.
Chilliware's "Mambo" is an Administration Tool to simplify file, printer and Internet sharing between Windows and Linux, making it easier to integrate Linux into an existing Windows 95-2000-based network.

And Applied Data Systems will unveil a sleep mode/power management package for their Linux/StrongARM SA1110 platforms that improves battery life for Linux-powered devices.
Herb Hinstorff, a marketing manager at Sun, welcomed the plethora of new tools and said that the growth of Linux is bringing real opportunities to technology companies, especially those that focus on Unix-based technology.

Linux was based on Minix, a Unix system.

"Businesses are benefiting greatly from the large and growing talent pool of knowledgeable Linux administrators and developers, the broad range of computing solutions from multiple vendors, and the many innovative and compelling new applications that are based on open-source development principles," said Hinstorff.

Hinstorff said he expects to see interest in Linux continue to grow. He thinks Linux will pose a real threat to Windows, particularly in the server market, and also expects to see a lot of Linux on smart appliances and handheld devices.

IBM has been an especially aggressive supporter of Linux over the past year, and Deepak Advani, vice president of IBM's Linux Strategy team. He said he feels Linux is now rapidly moving into the mainstream, primarily due to widespread efforts to make the operating system more user-friendly.

"Given the prevailing market forces, we have no doubt that these efforts will continue, making Linux a very appealing option for the average computer user," said Advani.
Intel's Dialogic is also excited about the potential of Linux. The company is especially interested in using Linux as a base to create new technology and applications that merge voice and Internet-based communications, said Art Herzog, marketing manager for Unix platforms at Dialogic.

Voice-over Internet products already allow companies to offer live product support over the Web and assist people who are having problems with online purchases, but Herzog said the possibilities for this technology are endless.

"As businesses realize that there are more than four times as many phones as there are Internet clients and as the technology becomes available to use the telephone as the interface to the Internet, it will be natural for those businesses to use the same Linux platform they have come to trust as the basis for their converged communications."

Although many developers say the newly released 2.4 kernel will also boost Linux's popularity in business markets, few expect to see many finished 2.4 products on display at LinuxWorld this week, since many developers are still working their way through the testing and certification process.

LinuxWorld San Francisco, slated for August of 2001, is expected to be the true showcase for 2.4 applications.

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