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July  1999
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Red Hat introduces Linux E-Commerce Server

London (July 27, 1999) -- Red Hat Inc. today announced the Red Hat Linux E-Commerce Server, based on Apache Web server software.

The E-Commerce server integrates RSA Data Security Inc.'s 128-bit encryption engine with the Apache server, and includes a separate applications CD containing Red Hat Linux 6.0 and e-commerce programs for Linux from companies including Hewlett-Packard Co., Hells Kitchen System Inc., and Internet Robotics.

The server also includes Apache ASP and DAV modules, which allow development on multiple platforms and Web-page management without FTP, and a US$25 discount for site digital certification.

Red Hat Linux E-Commerce Server is available from retail outlets and Red Hat directly for $149.99, which includes support, the application CD, the source-code CD and the installation manual.

In addition to the e-mail and telephone support that Red Hat provides with purchase of the server, additional toll-free telephone support is available, ranging from small per-incident packages to 24-hour, seven-day-a-week support.

--Douglas F. Gray, IDG News Service


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SuSE launches latest Linux release

London (July 23, 1999) -- German Linux distributor SuSE GmbH will release next month an update to its version of Linux, the company announced today.

Some of the features of the upgrade, SuSE Linux 6.2, include Linux kernel 2.2.10, as well as updated versions of the Apache open source HTTP server, GIMP (GNU image manipulation program), and sendmail. The new version of the X Windows interface, XFree86 3.3.4, which was released on Wednesday, is also included in the package. XWindows is a program that allows Linux to operate within a graphical user interface environment similar to Windows or the Macintosh OS.

The complete package (in Linux terminology, a "distribution") is available as 1,300 applications on six CDs, and will also include some programs for the first time. Such programs include VMware 1.0, a shareware program that lets users run applications for MS-DOS, FreeBSD, and Microsoft Corp.'s Windows and NT on Linux. The release will also contain RealPlayer 5.0 for Linux.

The StarOffice 5.1 office suite, which can be used free-of-charge for noncommercial use, also is included, as is WordPerfect 8 and Netscape Communications Corp.'s Communicator 4.61.

The release includes another interface, KDE (K desktop environment), which comes with software including open source licensed development tools. The tools let users further develop the KDE interface.

The distribution also includes the beta version of IBM Corp.'s speech-recognition program ViaVoice.

In addition, games such as Pingus, a clone of the game "Lemmings," and "Tuxedo T. Penguin: A Quest for Herring" are included. The release will also have the necessary drivers for hardware-supported 3D graphics.

The German version of SuSE Linux 6.2 will be priced at 98 Marks (US$52), while versions in all other languages will cost 89 Marks. The German and English International edition will begin shipping on August 9; the Italian, French and Spanish versions will ship on August 23.

--Douglas F. Gray, IDG News Service


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Red Hat expands in Europe, buys Linux vendor

London (July 20, 1999) -- Linux distributor Red Hat Inc. will expand its operations to include offices in Germany and the U.K., which will serve as a gateway to the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) market, the company announced yesterday.

The company's European operations will have headquarters in Guildford, U.K. The German office will be in Stuttgart, where delix GmbH is based. Red Hat recently purchased the Linux division of delix, which has a version of the operating system called DLD. Officials from the companies would not give details of the purchase.

The news didn't seem to bother German Linux distributor SuSE. "They were already here; the only difference is that now they have an office," said Christian Egle, spokesman for the German Linux distributor.

SuSE also already had the power and capital to distribute 1 million copies of its most recent distribution of Linux for free in German computer magazines PC Professional, PC Welt and Chip, as well as preparing for its own IPO in the near future. (See "Linux distributor SuSE eyes IPO," SunWorld, June 1999.)

However, sounding just as secure is Red Hat's new vice president of the EMEA region, Colin Tenwick. "What we are basically doing is looking to expand our core market in Europe, which is mainly Germany and the U.K.," said Tenwick, formerly vice president and general manager of Sybase Inc. "Ultimately, by the latter part of next year, we hope to expand into France and Italy," he added.

Tenwick also said that the delix distribution of Linux would continue to exist.

Last month, Red Hat announced that it was taking the steps necessary for an initial public offering (IPO).

--Douglas F. Gray, IDG News Service


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HP names Carly Fiorina CEO, president

Boston (July 19, 1999) -- Hewlett-Packard Co. today announced that Carleton (Carly) Fiorina was appointed to the role of president and chief executive officer. She will also join the HP board, the company said in a statement issued today.

The appointment ends an almost five-month search to replace the 58-year old Lew Platt, who announced his intention to retire as HP's CEO amid a complete restructuring of the company.

"Carly was our first choice and the only candidate presented to the board," Lew Platt said today in a teleconference, which took place 36 hours after the 44-year old Fiorina had started at Hewlett-Packard, based in Palo Alto, California.

The computer and imaging-related parts of HP, of which Fiorina now takes charge, had revenue of US$39.5 billion in the 1998 fiscal year. According to plans revealed in March, HP's test and measurement business will be spun off into a separate company.

Fiorina most recently served two years as president of Lucent Technologies Inc.'s Global Service Provider Business, which has annual revenue of more than US$20 billion. She also spearheaded the planning and execution of Lucent's 1996 initial public offering and subsequent spin-off from AT&T Corp. Altogether Fiorina has nearly 20 years of experience in the telecommunications business working at Lucent and AT&T, and she was recently named by Fortune magazine the most powerful woman in American business.

The new CEO will spend her first weeks getting to know the HP operations, employees and customers, "getting my arms around all the challenges," Fiorina said, adding that she therefore will refrain for the time being from making pronouncements about any major changes, possible spin-offs and acquisitions.

However, Fiorina stressed the need for the company to reinvent itself. According to her, HP has clearly not been focused enough on speed. HP has "a great soul," she said, but also needs to reinvent itself when it comes to a sense of speed, sense of urgency and a competitive spirit -- "the willingness to win."

She aims to make HP a major player in "the second chapter of the Internet." According to Fiorina, HP is already much deeper into Internet business than is perceived by those outside the company, and needs to raise awareness of that.

Fiorina praised the work done in that area by Ann Livermore, president and CEO of HP's Enterprise Computing Solutions business unit, who had been an internal candidate for the CEO position.

"We are very like-minded," Fiorina said.

She also stressed the need for HP to innovate and said that the company needed to leverage more of the work done in the HP Labs, "where we spend a lot of money." Fiorina would also be working on finding the right balance between centralization and decentralization.

The PC business, where margins have been dropping, is important to HP, according to Fiorina, who stressed that HP will continue working with the existing distribution channels.

Asked what she brings to HP, Fiorina listed her knowledge of how to grow high-tech businesses very rapidly and how to respond to customers, as well as understanding of the power of a brand and experience in the convergence of the communications and computer industries.

Lew Platt will remain chairman until year-end, at which time the split into two companies is expected to be accomplished. The position as chairman will not be taken over by Fiorina but by Richard (Dick) A. Hackborn. Hackborn retired as executive vice president at HP in 1993 and is a current member of the HP board of directors, as well as a director at Microsoft Corp.

According to Fiorina it took some persuasion from her side to get 60-year old Hackborn to accept the position as a non-executive chairman, and "I can be pretty persuasive," she said.

Today HP has 123,000 employees worldwide and had a total revenue of $47.1 billion in 1998.

--Jana Sanchez and Dorte Toft, IDG News Service


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Linux shows growth in server appliances

San Francisco (July 19, 1999) -- Linux server appliances will account for almost 24 percent, or US$3.8 billion [B], of worldwide server appliance revenue by the year 2003, according to a new study released today.

The sales will represent about 14 percent of all server appliance shipments, or 1.1 million [M] units, according to the study released by Dataquest Inc., a unit of Gartner Group Inc.

While Linux is booming in the market for server appliances, which are used primarily by small offices and workgroups for Internet access, Linux acceptance will go slower in the traditional server market, the market research firm predicted. In 2003, Linux servers will represent 3.4 percent of worldwide traditional server revenue, or $1.9 billion [B], and 8.1 percent of traditional server shipments, or 450,000 units, the study forecast.

Linux, the open source operating system whose source code is available for modification and public distribution, has gained increasing acceptance from vendors. IBM Corp. offers database and other products that run on Linux, and Hewlett-Packard Co. sells a variety of server-based applications that run on Linux. Additionally, firms such as Caldera Systems Inc. and SuSe Holding AG distribute and support Linux software.

Linux is becoming "a credible and favorite" operating system in the appliance server market, Kimball Brown, Dataquest's chief analyst for Emerging Server Technologies Worldwide program, said in a statement.

Server appliance vendors are using Linux because it is free and because its open-source method of development promotes support and continuous public upgrading that saves vendors time in supporting the operating system, Brown said.

--Jack McCarthy, IDG News Service


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Microsoft cleared in Bristol case

San Francisco (July 16, 1999) -- A jury today cleared Microsoft Corp. of antitrust violations in a lawsuit brought by Bristol Technology Inc., a small software vendor in Connecticut that claimed Microsoft let a contract lapse to prevent Bristol from creating software that would run on a rival operating system.

The lawsuit, filed last August in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, charged that Microsoft behaved anticompetitively when it allegedly refused to renew Bristol's Windows NT source-code license on reasonable terms. Bristol prevailed on one count: the jury found that Microsoft violated the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act, but awarded the company just one dollar.

In closing arguments this week, Bristol lawyers had asked the jury to award the company up to US$263 million.

A Microsoft spokesman said the verdict represented an important vindication of the business practices of the software giant, which is fighting other antitrust lawsuits brought against it by the U.S. Justice Department and by Caldera Inc., a developer of software that runs on the Linux operating system.

"We believe the verdict represents an important victory for the entire industry, not only Microsoft, by upholding the rights of companies to license their technology in a fair and equitable manner," said spokesman Jim Cullinan. "While the verdict is positive in this case, it will also have a positive impact on the other cases."

The Bristol verdict won't have a direct legal impact on the U.S. Department of Justice's antitrust case against Microsoft, but it's still a damaging decision for the government, say antitrust experts.

"It surely takes the wind out of the government sails," said Hillard Sterling, an attorney at Gordon & Glickson PC in Chicago. "The DOJ must be concerned that its own case suffers from the same fatal flaws."

The Bristol verdict may help Microsoft's battered public image. "I think a lot of people in the public arena ... assumed that Bristol's fate and the DOJ's fate would be similar," said Harvey Saferstein, an antitrust lawyer at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson in Los Angeles. "There will be some fallout."

Judge Thomas Penfield Jackson, the trial judge in the Justice Department case, is certain to take notice of the Bristol case, as will any appeals court.

The Bristol decision shows that "reasonable decision makers can find an absence of anticompetitive effect, notwithstanding unfair business practices," said Sterling. "Microsoft may be in violation of unfair trade practices, but is still in compliance with general antitrust" laws, he said.

During the trial, Bristol argued that the expiration of the licensing contract in September 1997 drastically reduced sales. Bristol sells cross-platform development products that allow Windows applications to run on other operating systems. Its key product, WIND/U, lets companies port applications from Windows to Unix.

Bristol lawyer Patrick Lynch said in closing arguments that Microsoft let the contract lapse to discourage use of the Unix operating system, which rivals Microsoft's Windows NT operating system.

But Microsoft lawyer David Tulchin called Bristol executives greedy for bringing a lawsuit over what he said was a contract dispute.

Microsoft still faces antitrust charges in a lawsuit brought by Caldera, as well as a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department and 19 U.S. states. The Caldera case is slated to go to trial in U.S. District Court in Salt Lake City, Utah, on Jan. 17, 2000. Meanwhile, closing arguments in the high-profile Department of Justice lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia are scheduled for Sept. 21, with a ruling expected months later.

For more background on the Bristol-Microsoft lawsuit, see additional stories below.

--Jack McCarthy, IDG News Service


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Bristol seeks US$236 million from Microsoft

San Francisco (July 13, 1999) -- A lawyer for Connecticut software company Bristol Technology Inc. asked a jury to award the company up to US$263 million [M] today in closing arguments in its antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft Corp.

In turn, Microsoft's lawyer told the jury that Bristol managers were "greedy" for asking for so much money in what was essentially a contract dispute that Microsoft had tried to resolve fairly.

The jury is scheduled to begin deliberations in the trial tomorrow afternoon in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and is expected to spend several days before reaching a verdict.

In its lawsuit filed last August, Bristol accuses Microsoft of acting in an anticompetitive manner by refusing to renew Bristol's Windows NT source code license on reasonable terms.

Bristol sells cross-platform development products that enables Windows applications to run on other operating systems. Its key product, WIND/U, lets companies port applications from Windows to Unix. Microsoft allowed the contract to expire in September 1997.

Bristol lawyer Patrick Lynch said Microsoft allowed the contract to lapse to discourage use of Unix operating systems which are rivals to Microsoft's Windows NT OS. The result crippled sales of the WIND/U program, Lynch told the jurors. "The WIND/U business was just about to blossom, but Bristol didn't get a chance to be successful," Lynch said in a telephone interview following today in court.

But Microsoft lawyer David Tulchin told the jury that the software giant repeatedly tried to negotiate a new contract, according to Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla. Bristol was following its own plan to "sue Microsoft for money," Pilla said quoting an internal Bristol e-mail Tulchin read in court today.

For more background, see story below.

--Jack McCarthy, IDG News Service


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SuSE Linux available for Alpha processors

Munich (July 13, 1999) -- Linux distributor SuSE GmbH has released its latest version of the Linux operating system for high-end computers that run on 64-bit Alpha processors.

Until now, SuSE's version of the open-source operating system has only been available on a platform featuring Intel Corp.'s x86 processors. In the future, SuSE Linux versions will be released simultaneously for both Alpha and x86-based systems, SuSE said in a statement yesterday. The next such release is expected in September.

SuSE's Alpha version works with the same administration tools as SuSE Linux for x86, the company said. That includes tools for maintenance and configuration, which SuSE calls YaST (Yet another SetupTool). In April, SuSE launched its Linux 6.1 release, based on the updated Linux kernel approved by the operating system's creator, Linus Torvalds.

The SuSE Alpha package includes an instruction manual and 60-day installation support, at a cost of 46 euro (US$47).

SuSE competitor Red Hat Software Inc. already has a Linux version available on Alpha-based systems.

One reader on, a news Web site geared to software developers, saw the move as positive, if it means that Linux will be available on more platforms. "I hope this is the beginning of a move towards platform independence" for Linux distributions, the reader said, in a message posted on slashdot's Web site. Making a "shrink wrapped" Linux distribution that can run on nearly any machine "would be a significant contribution to the community," the reader said.

--Mary Lisbeth D'Amico, IDG News Service


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IBM acquires Sequent for $810 million

Boston (July 12, 1999) -- Bolstering its presence in the Unix and Windows NT markets, IBM Corp. today announced it has agreed to a merger, valued at US$810 million, with Sequent Computer Systems Inc.

IBM will pay $18 cash for each Sequent share, according to Bob Stephenson, IBM senior vice president and group executive for the IBM Server Group at a press conference today.

IBM will sell Sequent's server products worldwide following completion of the merger, which is subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, Stephenson said. Sequent technology also will be integrated into IBM products. In addition, IBM will provide middleware support for Sequent's product line.

The two companies already have been working closely together on Project Monterey. Begun in October 1998, the project is expected to produce a Unix operating system that can use either IBM's 64-bit chip architecture or Intel Corp.'s upcoming IA-64 chip, presently known as Merced. The Monterey project started in October 1998. In May the project demonstrated Monterey code running on a Merced simulator. The merger will accelerate work on the 64-bit Unix OS project, which is being developed with Santa Cruz Operation Inc. and Intel.

Stephenson and Casey Powell, chairman and chief executive officer of Sequent, said that the merger brings together two companies with complementary server technology. They predicted that the deal bodes well for the Unix market and for customers.

IBM's global strength will push Sequent's 64-bit work to fruition, Powell said, responding to a question from a reporter about why Sequent is interested in being bought at a time when that project is moving along and headed toward a product release.

"With this merger, we'll offer our customers the most complete and powerful server line," Stephenson said, adding that products from desktop machines to supercomputers will spring from the pairing.

Analyst Susan Frankle agreed that the Sequent acquisition is positive for IBM. Sequent will bring interesting technology to IBM in both the Unix as well as high-end Windows NT areas, she said. In addition, Sequent has some interesting high-availability technology, according to Frankle, an independent server analyst based in Boston.

IBM has not been the leading Unix operating system supplier, nor has it done a significant amount of business in the high-end Windows NT market, she said.

Sequent is known for its NUMA (non-uniform memory access) server architecture, which lets up to 64 Intel Corp. or compatible processors operate as a single system. IBM will market the NUMA-Q 1000, a midrange system that can handle four to eight Intel processors, and the NUMA-Q 2000 system, which can employ 64 processors. The Sequent technology will help IBM meet the needs of an increasing number of customers who want servers to manage unpredictable workloads or spikes in online traffic, Stephenson said.

IBM also will use the Sequent technology to address customers' desire to run combined Unix and Windows NT installations. Sequent's NUMA Center server runs Unix and NT in the same machine, using some processors to run the Unix applications and others to run the NT applications.

Sequent systems complement IBM's RS/6000 lines of servers, which is based on 64-bit processors running IBM's AIX -- a version of Unix. The RS/6000 started out in the scientific field but is also used commercial installations now.

Sequent has more than 2,500 employees worldwide and 56 sales offices. Founded in 1983, Sequent started out with symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) and NUMA systems for commercial environments. The NUMA Center, allowing mixed Unix and Windows NT systems to run together, was introduced in March 1998.

IBM stock has been up slightly, although with 90 minutes left in the U.S. trading day, the last sale price slid slightly after reaching a daily high of $137.9375 earlier. Still, the overall stock picture was slightly better than yesterday, when shares closed at $137.375. Sequent stock was trading down slightly at $17.25 per share, compared to an earlier high of $17.50.

--Dorte Toft, IDG News Service


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Microsoft-Bristol case goes to jury next week

San Francisco (July 9, 1999) -- A nine-member jury will start deliberations next Wednesday to determine whether Microsoft Corp. violated antitrust laws in a bid to expand Windows NT's share of the workstation and server market.

Bristol Technologies Inc., the small Danbury, Connecticut-based software firm that brought the private antitrust lawsuit against Microsoft last August, finished with its final rebuttal witness today.

"There is a lot of evidence and documents to look at and I'll be surprised if the jury returns a verdict before the end of next week," said Patrick Lynch, a partner with law firm O'Melveny & Myers LLP, representing Bristol.

"It could take one hour, it could take five days; you never know with a jury," Microsoft spokesman Tom Pilla said.

Bristol is seeking a court order forcing Microsoft to turn over its valuable Windows NT source code, as well as unspecified damages. Microsoft vehemently denies any wrongdoing.

Before deliberations begin, the jury of five men and four women on Tuesday will hear two and a half hours of closing arguments from each side. Lawyers will attempt to tie together evidence and testimony presented since the trial began on June 3.

Bristol makes Wind/U, a suite of software products used to port Windows applications to other operating systems, including Unix. In 1994, the company joined Microsoft's Windows NT source code licensing program, called WISE, providing it access to Microsoft's Windows NT code.

Bristol claims in its lawsuit that Microsoft behaved anticompetitively by refusing to renew Bristol's WISE license on reasonable terms. The license expired in 1997, and Bristol says it must have access to the latest Windows NT code to keep building Wind/U.

According to Bristol, Microsoft backed Wind/U because it saw it as a way to encourage Unix developers to start writing applications using Windows APIs (application programming interfaces). A wider selection of development tools are available for Windows, and some developers liked the idea of using Windows tools and then porting their completed applications to Unix using Wind/U, Bristol's Lynch said.

When Windows NT's share of the server and workstation market started to increase, Microsoft no longer saw its support of Wind/U as advantageous, Bristol's lawsuit claims. Microsoft subsequently refused to renew Bristol's source code license on fair terms, effectively crippling Wind/U and leaving a legion of newly-converted Unix developers writing Windows applications, according to Bristol.

For its part, Microsoft denies that it is a monopoly, and says its conduct towards Bristol has not been illegal. The software giant says Bristol is using the courts to unfairly gain an advantage over a competitor, Mainsoft Corp., which makes a similar product to Wind/U. Microsoft also claims that Mainsoft is licensing Windows NT source code under "virtually identical" terms as those which Bristol is calling unreasonable, Microsoft spokesman Pilla said.

As Microsoft sees it, the squabble between the companies is a contract dispute, and has nothing to do with antitrust law.

Bristol called its final rebuttal witness today, John Silvestri of Westmont, Illinois-based Gamma Technologies Inc., a company that makes analysis software that simulates internal combustion engines. Gamma was a Wind/U customer, and Bristol tried to use Silvestri's testimony to show the jury the harm suffered as a result of Microsoft's behavior, Bristol attorney Lynch said.

--James Niccolai, IDG News Service


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IBM in talks to buy Sequent

Paris (June 29, 1999) -- Officials at IBM Corp. and Sequent Computer Systems Inc. today declined to comment on a published report that says IBM is negotiating to buy the vendor of high-end datacenter products.

According to a report in today's Wall Street Journal, discussions between the two companies are in an "advanced stage," with a deal possibly being announced this week.

The two companies are already partners in Project Monterey, announced last October. The alliance, which includes Santa Cruz Operation Inc. (SCO), was formed to produce new Unix operating systems based on SCO's UnixWare and Sequent's DYNIX/ptx operating system for the low end, and on IBM's AIX operating system for the high end. The operating system will run on Intel Corp.'s IA-32 and IA-64 Merced architecture.

Also together with IBM, Sequent is part of the Storage Networking Industry Association (SNIA) effort to develop interoperable device standards for the storage area network (SAN) industry.

Sequent was founded in 1983 and in 1997 launched its Numa-Q line of symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) datacenter servers that support up to 252 processors. Last year, the company introduced NumaCenter, a mixed Unix and Windows NT server. Sequent's more than 2,500 employees own approximately 10 percent of the company's publicly-traded shares.

In January, Sequent Chief Executive Officer Casey Powell discussed the company's new move into low-end servers that run both Unix and Windows NT with Computerworld, saying that Sequent is "driving into the datacenter with Intel, Unix, and NT. We are going to press into the mainframe space. It is our belief that NT in the datacenter is an inevitability."

--Jeanette Borzo, IDG News Service


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