Debian news for the day

It’s time for LinuxWorld SFO, which means it’s time for lots of interesting announcements. A major one today is from Hewlett-Packard, announcing that they’re ready to support Debian GNU/Linux officially on their Proliant and BladeSystem servers, and as a side note that their revenues from sales of Linux servers has now hit six billion dollars a year over the past eight years.

An interesting note from the IDG article above is IBM’s response:

“IBM works well with Debian in the Linux community and will, and does, support the Debian distribution for our customers,” the company said in a prepared statement. “It’s not a standard offering, but we do it under special bid.”

It’s interesting that vendors are seeing enough interest in Debian from their customers to be specifically supporting it, whether on an specially negotiated basis as IBM does, or now on a standard basis for entire product ranges as HP is. Personally, I find it really pleasing that companies are doing support for Debian not because we’ve negotiated with them, but because customers are asking for it. I’m also pretty pleased that HP’s commitment to Debian support doesn’t come at a cost to the support they’re offering for their other “tier-1” distributions: Red Hat and Novell’s Suse. To me, that’s what free software’s all about, friendly competition that’s focussed on making people’s computers work, not exclusive deals and promotional rights.

Debian’s also been mentioned in a ZDNet story about Movidis MIPS servers, which have a nifty 16-core processor and seem to be aimed at video streaming and other tasks that are a mixture of storage and processor intensive. Interestingly, while the story mentions the use of a mildly customised version of Debian as their OS basis, there doesn’t seem to be similar mentions on either the Movidis or Cavium Networks sites, let alone any juicy technical details.

Also interesting is this mention in a story about Zimbra groupware:

ZCS supports Microsoft’s Outlook messaging software and runs on the two leading flavors of Linux — Red Hat and Suse — and Apple Computer Inc.’s Mac OS X. Although ZCS also runs on Windows on the client side, Zimbra isn’t seeing interest from its customers in supporting Microsoft’s operating systems on the server side, Dietzen said. The start-up has a list of other operating systems it plans to support, notably the Debian distribution of Linux and Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Solaris flavor of Unix, he added.

Looks like the first efforts at Debian packaging are happening on the Zimbra forums already.

And then, of course, there’s the announcements from last week, such as the Creative Commons 3.0 discussion draft, that’s trying to solve some of the conflicts between the expectations we have of free “software” licenses, and that others have of free “content” licenses. A lot of work’s been put into that already, and hopefully it’ll pay off for everyone. Or the recent betrayal of the Debian spirit by Linspire, encapsulated in this ComputerWorld headline: Linspire releases Freespire 1.0 early. Ah well, traditions have to end sometime I guess. Or there was OSDL’s announcement that they’ve signed up Debian deriver Xandros for their desktop working group, with the little side note dropped in that IDC estimate desktop Linux will be worth ten billion dollars in annual revenue beginning the year after next. Or there was OpenVZ’s announcement at being included in unstable recently (it’s also available in etch, and they’ve announced today a build for RHEL 4).

Of course, I’ve also neglected to mention some much bigger Debian news, which is that as of Friday, etch beta3 is out, which is an excellent sign that we’re on track for release, even ignoring all of the nifty new features it includes.

And heck, Debian’s birthday is still a couple of days off.

In the meantime, I’m going to go to sleep, so I can make it to Novell’s launch event for Suse Linux Enterprise 10 in Brisbane tomorrow, and see what they’re up to.

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