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HP claims $2.5B in Linux revenue

By John K. Waters

Hewlett-Packard (HP) last week disclosed company record-setting revenue of $2.5 billion from its Linux-based offerings for fiscal year 2003. HP released the numbers on the eve of the New York edition of the twice-yearly, bi-coastal LinuxWorld Conference, which opens tomorrow and runs through Friday.

Last year in New York, HP CEO Carly Fiorina told attendees that her company pulled in $2 billion from Linux-related products and services in 2002.

Martin Fink, VP of HP's Linux group, said the company's Linux services and solutions business grew 40% during fiscal 2003, which he characterized as a "banner year for Linux at HP." Hewlett-Packard was also among the first to indemnify its enterprise Linux customers against possible intellectual property challenges by The SCO Group last year.

"We have established HP as one of the world's pre-eminent Linux vendors," Fink said, "and we anticipate continued growth in 2004 led by our dedication to meeting customer needs, industry-standard Linux platform leadership, a broad services portfolio, and innovation such as Linux on notebooks and desktops."

HP's Linux server products generated some serious sales last year, according to HP's figures. The company reports that its P ProLiant servers led the market for Linux x86/IA-32 server unit shipments with 27.4% of worldwide market share, and its Itanium-based Linux servers led the market for EPIC-based Linux server unit shipments with 66.7% of worldwide market share.

HP isn't tooting its Linux horn alone. A report from industry analysts at IDC puts the firm in first place in the rapidly expanding Linux server market for the third quarter of last year. In the report, entitled "Q3 '03 Quarterly Server Tracker," IDC credited HP with 28.1% of Linux server factory revenues worldwide.

As LinuxWorld approaches, the company unveiled several additions to its roster of Linux consumer computing products, including new desktop PCs and notebooks running Linux. HP has two new thin clients: the Compaq t5300 and the t5500 Windows CE machines based on Transmeta processors. Both stripped-down PCs plug into central Linux servers through technology from the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP). The devices are designed for "seamless" use with the LTSP, HP said. The company reportedly collaborated with the LTSP team and DisklessWorkstations.com on the devices.

HP officials also disclosed that the firm has certified several models from its business notebook line on SuSE Linux Desktop, including the Compaq nc6000, nc8000 and nw8000. In addition, the company certified its Compaq business desktop D530 and D330 PCs on SuSE Enterprise Linux.

The firm also had some big pre-show news for enterprise customers migrating to Linux from Sun's Solaris, IBM's AIX and even HP's own Tru64 platform -- namely several new Linux reference architectures, including commercial Linux reference architectures based on Oracle Database/9iRAC and BEA WebLogic Server, and an open-source reference infrastructure architecture based on open-source software from MySQL, JBoss, Apache and OpenLDAP.

HP has also extended its high-availability "HP Serviceguard for Linux" clustering solution to 64-bit Linux environments. This software is designed to simplify the integration of large SAP solution environments while offering high availability.

The size of the Linux server market for Q3 2003 was $743 million in revenue, according to IDC. The Framingham, Mass.-based industry watchers credit widespread acceptance of Linux servers for Web-centric applications, high-performance computing workloads, customer applications and packed ISV apps among the drivers of the growth of Linux on the server side.

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