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2004 Sees Linux Growth in More Spaces

A Calendar of Events

  • January 18, 2005
  • By Jacqueline Emigh

What was the biggest theme to emerge during the 2004 "Year in Linux"? In large measure, it all had to do with the expanded movement of Linux into new environments, ranging from the data center to embedded spaces.

With the Linux kernel 2.6 finally a reality, as of the end of 2003, major hardware makers such as Dell, Unisys, HP, SGI and NEC came out with a slew of announcements in 2004 about high-end server support for Linux.

On the embedded side, Linux started showing up on smaller devices ranging from cellular phones to retail POS systems.

Microsoft took Linux seriously enough to launch an internal tech support initiative, codenamed Mission Critical Microsoft, to help fight the spectre of Linux running on mainframes.

Meanwhile, leading vendors in the anti-Microsoft camp helped spurred Linux along, as they are wont to do. IBM, for instance, introduced a suite of programs to help with Windows NT to Linux migration.

The two biggest Linux distributions kept making headlines. Novell rolled out SUSE Linux Enterprise Servier (SLES) 9, an enterprise server based on Kernel 2.6. Red Hat teamed with Wind River on an embedded development environment.

But smaller distros landed customers, too, including CATix, a localized Linux distribution for Catalan.

Here's the lowdown about a few of the highlights in the 2004 Year in Linux.

January 19. Veteran Linux backer IBM rolls out a suite of new programs to help with Windows NT to Linux migration, including free hands-on training classes.

January 21. At LinuxWorld in New York City, SUSE Linux owner Novell joins the Eclipse crossplatform development consortium, announcing at he same time that it's no longer a member of UnitedLinux.

February 23. Embedded toolsmaker WindRiver, long a staunch holdout against Linux, announces it is teaming up with Linux distributor Red Hat so as to develop Red Hat Embedded Linux.

March 23. At its annual BrainShare users conference, Novell rolls out a company roadmap which is heavy on Linux. "2004 will be the year Linux goes mainstream on Linux servers," vows Novell CEO Jack Messman. The plan also includes tight integration between server and desktop products.

April 21. AMD marks the first anniversary of the 64-bit x86 Opteron chip by joining the OSDL. "Opteron's first year has been all about Linux," says Christopher Rimer, an exec in AMD's Infrastructure Enablement Group, a week later.

April 28. In announcing a new services program with SAP, Dell CEO Michael Dell points to enterprise servers, along with both Linux- and Windows-based servers, as the biggest growth areas for his company.

July 14. In a nationwide deployment, French Ministry of Equipment chooses Mandrakelinux Corporate Server to replace 1,500 Microsoft Windows NT servers. In the same month, city officials in Barcelona, Spain unveil plans to use CATix, a localized Linux distribution for Catalan, instead of Windows NT.

August 2. At LinuxWorld in San Franciso, Unisys unveils the migration of its Itanium 2-based ES7000 servers to Red Hat and Novell SUSE, as well as the servers' ability to take advantage of dynamic partitioning. About three months later, the company adds a hybrid 32-/64-bit platform for Linux and Windows.

August 4. At LinuxWorld in San Francisco, Novell launches SUSE Enterprise Server (SLES) 9, touting the release as the first enterprise-oriented server to be based on the new Linux 2.6 kernel.

August 20. Microsoft is reportedly readying a new tech support initiative, internally codenamed Mission Critical Microsoft, to help fight the spectre of Linux running on mainframes.

September 27. Dell boosts superomputing cluster performance through PowerEdge 1850 servers, extending the clusters to 64-bit applications.

October 28. SGI doubles the bandwidth and processing density of its high-end Altix 3700 server.

October 29. Together with Red Hat, Oracle opens the LEAP center in Singapore for Asian-based customers interested in testing enterprise Oracle applications on Red Hat.

November 17. NEC launches new Linux-based fault tolerant server, billed as providing 99.999 percent uptime.

December 16. HP invests $3 billion in the Itanium 2-based Integrity server over the next three years, in an effort to vault Itanium into a leadership position versus older RISC processors.

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