By Rachel Chalmers
Pacific HiTech (PHT) Inc will bundle IBM Corp's DB2 database with its
distribution of the Linux operating system, TurboLinux. In return, IBM
will offer 24-hour phone support to users of DB2 on TurboLinux. The
announcement clarifies an earlier announcement by IBM that it would
support the four leading Linux distribution vendors, so expect news of
similar deals with SuSE Inc, Caldera Inc and Red Hat Software Inc in
the weeks to come - "specific things with specific distributions," as
director of integrated solutions and Linux marketing for IBM, Jon
Prial, puts it. IBM plans to be as agnostic about different flavors of
Linux as it tries to be about those other server operating systems,
Solaris and NT. "We are not getting into a religious war," says Prial,
"the bottom line comes down to customer choice."
PHT chief executive, Cliff Miller says the deal should give PHT's
corporate customers peace of mind. "The relationship extends far
beyond combining our software together and the ease of installation,
and performance boosts that will bring," he told ComputerWire,
"there's also the support infrastructure that IBM brings." Prial
"What we're finding is that there clearly is an interest in Linux," he
says, "it's just not running under the purview of the CIO. Our
announcement of support should make Linux more viable."
Another plus for PHT is the North America sales channels that Big Blue
can provide. PHT has just re-entered the US market after a successful
sojourn in Asia. "IBM has a little bit of experience in this area,"
Miller jokes. PHT's Asian beachhead won't hurt DB2 in those markets,
either. "We're working closely with IBM Japan to address
internationalization," Miller says, adding this jab at his rivals:
"DB2 already runs on TurboLinux with support for Japanese, whereas
with some of the other distributions, support for Japanese is broken."
If this seems like the perfect marriage of open source and binary-only
software vendors, it's not. Miller famously attributes part of the
success of TurboLinux in Asia to its laissez-faire attitude towards
software piracy. "With Linux, that's really not an issue," he says.
Add DB2 to TurboLinux CDs and unlicensed copying takes on a very
different complexion. Prial insists that the Chinese market is
changing and that pretty soon: "Software sales will become a good
source of revenue." Again, support will be the key. It may be easy for
Chinese companies to obtain unlicensed copies of DB2, but it will
remain difficult for them to obtain technical support unless they can
prove they have handed over the purchase
© ComputerWire Inc, 1999.
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