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UnitedLinux: Turbolinux Sees Lots Of Advantages

The Strengths of Turbolinux

  • July 11, 2002
  • By Jacqueline Emigh

Turbolinux, one of four Linux distributors behind UnitedLinux, sees the emerging unified platform as a path towards reducing its R&D investment on the OS side; funneling more of its resources into "value-added" software; growing its worldwide footprint; and quite possibly, gaining competitive clout versus Red Hat.

First rolled out at the end of May, UnitedLinux is an effort by Linux distributors Turbolinux, Caldera, SuSE, and Conectiva to produce a uniform, global distribution of Linux for business use.

Red Hat, Mandrake, and other Linux distributors have also been invited to join UnitedLinux, although none has done so yet. "If Red Hat does join, it will be up to them to decide the timing," said Turbolinux marketing VP Dino Brusco, in an interview with LinuxPlanet this week.

In Brusco's opinion, the UnitedLinux product line will do a lot of good for ISVs, OEMs, and end customers, as well as for Linux distributors.

"Obviously, ISVs can't support all the various Linux OS. End customers aren't seeing much unique value to the different variants, either. If they want 'XYZ' software application, it might not be available for the Linux distribution they're using. So, the OS is not where the Linux companies should be differentiating," he illustrated.

Each of the UnitedLinux players will pursue its own differentiation strategy, according to Brusco. For its part, Japan-based Turbolinux plans to focus its R&D on value-added commercial products that will run with Linux.

As examples, Brusco cited already released offerings such as Turbolinux Cluster Server 6 and Turbolinux enFusion, for clustering; and PowerCockpit, for server provisioning and management. "UnitedLinux will help us to create more software like these," he added.

Each of the co-founders is also strong in a specific geographic area. The US is Caldera's main bailiwick, while Turbolinux dominates in Asia, SuSE in Europe, and Conectiva in Latin America.

"If you go to Japan, you wont even hear the words 'Red Hat.' You'll hear 'Turbolinux' instead," according to Brusco. "We're also very well positioned in Korea and China, a country that's showing probably the highest growth in the Linux space." Chinese customers include the Chinese Space Agency and Chinese Ministry of Information Industries.

Turbolinux, though, has also been increasingly active in the US business market, particularly in the enterprise arena. The company's direct sales force has nailed down enterprise customers such as JP Morgan, for instance. "JP Morgan is deploying enFusion among thousands of users," he asserted.

Additional enterprises are being lured through the companys OEM relationships with IBM and Hewlett-Packard. Also in the US, Turbolinux is using a recently announced partnership with Mainline Information Systems to pursue the small to mid-sized business market via mainframe resellers.

Other customers on the company's growing list include the following, to name just a few: the Pentagon; the American Red Cross; Sherwin-Williams; First Credit; Yale University; Argonne National Laboratories; Motorola, and, in Europe, the European Synchroton Radiation Facility.

For the foreseeable future, however, the company's retail presence will be limited to Japan, where Turbolinux has much higher brand recognition. "We have no plans at this time to enter the retail market in the US or anywhere else in the world," Brusco said.

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