But Wait, There's More. . .
OS/400 shops that have been waiting for commercial Linux distributor Red Hat, the market leader among Linux distributors, to get its act together and make good on its promises, for the past two years, to fully support the iSeries platform got a nice Christmas present in late December, when the company finally announced that the 64-bit versions of Red Hat Linux 7.1 are available on IBM's entire eServer product line, including the iSeries. Specifically, Linux 7.1 for iSeries is supported on iSeries Model 270, 820, 830, 840, and 890 servers; on pSeries Model 620, 640, and 660 servers; and on zSeries 800 and 900 servers. It is noteworthy that Red Hat is not supporting the big pSeries 650, 670, and 690 Power4-based servers, and that the latest Red Hat Linux 8.0 and Linux Advanced Server (which occupies the same niche as Windows 2000 Advanced Server) are not available on the non-xSeries machines. All xSeries machines support Red Hat's various releases. On the iSeries, pSeries, and zSeries, Red Hat 7.1 is available in English, German, and Japanese. The latter two languages target the markets controlled by rivals SuSE and Turbolinux. It seems likely that support for Spanish, French, Portuguese, Chinese, and Russian is in the works, since the OS/400 platform is widely used in countries that speak these languages.
Just as the year was ending, there was a flurry of press surrounding IBM's purported killing off of its OS/2 Warp server and workstation operating system. While some customers were surprised by this announcement--which turned out not to be exactly be true, for reasons explained below--many others were probably surprised that IBM was still selling and supporting OS/2 Warp, which no one has paid much attention to for years. OS/2 Warp is still used in many IT organizations, and IBM says that it absolutely is still supporting OS/2 Warp, even though an announcement letter dated December 20, 2002, said that prepackaged implementations of OS/2 Warp V4, announced in 1996, and Warp Server for e-Business, announced in 1999, would not be available in shrink-wrapped form after March 10, 2003. Program services for the withdrawn programs are available until December 31, 2004, according to the announcement, but according to IBM's internal sales manuals, service was discontinued on December 31, 2000, for Warp V4, and was discontinued on May 31, 2002, for Warp Server for e-Business. Go figure. IBM has assured customers and channel partners that, until further notice, it will sell electronic versions of OS/2 licenses and documentation through its Web site and in downloadable or CD formats. How long this will persist is unclear, but it doesn't cost IBM any money to put these files on its site and interface them with an electronic shopping cart, so OS/2 could be available indefinitely, even though it is entirely ignored.
SoftLanding Systems, a player in the iSeries software change management market, has announced that Paul Schlieben, founder and CEO, has become chairman of the board, and that Steve Gapp has been named SoftLanding's new president and chief executive officer. Gapp comes to the position after serving as the managing director of Oasis 400 Software Plc, a company that SoftLanding purchased in December 2002. Oasis had a decade-long partnership as SoftLanding's leading reseller before SoftLanding purchased it. (See SoftLanding Invests in European Market for the details of that acquisition.) Schlieben, who established SoftLanding Systems in 1989 with three employees and led its rise to more than 50 employees and 1,000 customers, chose Gapp for this role after having worked side by side with him for years. He says Gapp comes into the position with extensive knowledge of SoftLanding's technology, customer base, and corporate culture, and also brings an understanding of emerging technologies and multi-platform environments that will help the Peterborough, New Hampshire, company address challenges that lie ahead. As chairman of the board, Schlieben describes his new role as "providing strategic direction to the company." Filling the role of managing director at Oasis, since Gapp has relocated to the United States, is Paul Thiel, whose previous position with that company was director of technical services.
Perle Systems, a developer of networking products for OS/400 servers and other platforms, announced the appointment of two new sales and marketing managers last week. The Markham, Ontario, company has hired May Fong to be its new regional marketing manager for the United States, Canada, and South America, and Dan Auerbach as sales manager for Northeast United States. Fong comes to Perle from 3com, where she was the company's channel marketing programs manager. As Perle's new marketing manager, she will be responsible for planning and developing its reseller sales channel. Auerbach has held executive level sales, marketing, and business development positions with a variety of networking companies, and is charged with maximizing Perle's market position in the Northeast.
Just one day after finishing its acquisition of security software vendor PentaSafe in December, NetIQ went out and bought another company, Marshall Software of Auckland, New Zealand, for $23 million in cash. The deal is expected to bring NetIQ about $2 million a quarter in revenue starting in the third quarter of 2003. Marshall sells e-mail and Web server content security software, including spam filtering software, and has 3,500 customers. NetIQ says its customers have some 10 million Microsoft Exchange Server clients installed, and hopes to sell the Marshall tools to these companies. In October, NetIQ bought PentaSafe Security Technologies, a Houston, Texas, company that sells security software for a variety of operating systems and applications. The acquisition of PentaSafe's VigilEnt suite of integrated tools will help it to consolidate its own security management products and should bolster its presence against larger security management vendors. NetIQ paid $192 million in cash and $63 million in stock to acquire PentaSafe.
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