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IBM and Red Hat launch Linux certification program

IBM and Red Hat launched a jointly developed Linux certification and support program in Europe earlier this month in an effort to accelerate the migration of applications to Linux in that part of the world.

The new program is designed to help independent software vendors (ISVs) who want to certify applications to run on Red Hat Enterprise Linux, IBM hardware, and IBM middleware. IBM Innovation Centers for Business Partners in Hursley, England, Moscow, Paris, and Stuttgart, Germany will provide ISVs enrolled in the program with on-site and remote support (through VPNs) for the porting and enablement of software, as well as a self-certification process for their applications.

Red Hat will provide technology and support services for the program. "ISVs are migrating their applications to Linux in ever-growing numbers," Alex Pinchev, executive vice president for global sales at Red Hat, said in a statement. "Red Hat is accelerating these efforts in Europe and in developing markets such as Russia by offering technology and services at the Linux ISV Certification Centers."

For IBM, the program opens another lane down the highway of its open-source strategy. Big Blue has been investing extensive resources in open-source during the past few years. The company now claims that more than 6,500 software applications have been developed using Linux on IBM software. Two-thirds of those apps were built by corporate developers, says Roy Aho, IBM's director of technical services and support for ISV and developer relations. The other third were built by ISVs.

Other Linux distros, such as SuSE, are better established in Europe, but IBM has an established relationship with Raleigh, North Carolina-based Red Hat.

"We’ve done an awful lot with Red Hat over the years," Aho tells eADT. "Red Hat is one of the leaders in this space, and they’ve worked closely with IBM over the years, so this seemed like a natural partnership."

Solid technical expertise and skills are “jacks or better” when it comes to the ISV support game, Aho says, and Red Hat fits that bill. “ISVs today are very much interested in getting their product to market as quickly as possible,” he says. “The first guy to market doesn’t need to have the best mouse trap to gain that first-mover advantage, so speed is essential. We are here to help that company make money on IBM technology by getting to market more quickly.”

IBM continues to support the SuSE Linux distro, Aho adds.

Aho compares IBM's support of open source to "that old adage about the reformed smoker." "We used to have a number of proprietary environments, and we pushed those," he says. But as computing becomes more ubiquitous across all parts of our daily lives, we have to get to the point where information and applications are more easily shared, and we can cross boundaries more easily. Separate development efforts on separate proprietary platforms don’t let you do that. Linux offers that capability from an operating system perspective, and so it's core to our strategy."

Through the third quarter of 2004, more than 179,000 developers registered through IBM’s various Linux support offerings, including workshops, seminars, and “quick starts,” Aho says. “That’s really touching the marketplace and getting them the skills they need,” he says.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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