PeopleSoft Makes Good on Linux Promise, Plans for Safari
July 6, 2004 Alex Woodie
This spring PeopleSoft made a commitment to support its EnterpriseOne ERP suite running on Linux by the end of the second quarter. On the last day of the quarter, last Wednesday, PeopleSoft followed through, when it announced the general availability of PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne Tools 8.93. In addition to supporting the popular open-source operating system, the EnterpriseOne suite now supports BEA Systems‘ WebLogic application server software, and will support Apple‘s Safari Web browser in the fourth quarter.
The EnterpriseOne ERP suite, which was called OneWorld before PeopleSoft’s acquisition of J.D. Edwards one year ago, has always been more open than the World suite, which was designed specifically for the OS/400 platform. EnterpriseOne runs on Windows, Unix, and OS/400 operating systems and supports the Oracle and Microsoft SQL Server databases, in addition to DB2 UDB and the DB2/400 variant for iSeries servers.
PeopleSoft has been a leader in supporting the Linux operating system, and since 2002 it has delivered Linux support with nearly 200 components of its flagship Enterprise suite of ERP software; this is arguably deeper Linux support than what has been delivered by its main ERP rivals, Oracle and SAP.
In March, PeopleSoft announced that this Linux love would be pushed down to its EnterpriseOne suite, which is used by small and midsized businesses, as well as by the divisions of some large companies, predominantly in the manufacturing, distribution, and building industries (see “PeopleSoft to Support Linux with EnterpriseOne”).
Back in March, PeopleSoft said that EnterpriseOne would get support for the Red Hat Enterprise Linux distribution running only on Intel x86-based servers, and only running IBM’s DB2 UDB database; support for Linux-based apps running against Oracle’s database would be delivered later in 2004, company officials said at the time.
Nothing in PeopleSoft’s announcement last week appears to change any of this, which leaves in the lurch, at least for the time being, the other main Linux distribution, Novell‘s SuSE Linux, as well as EnterpriseOne support for Linux running on IBM’s Power platform, which includes iSeries and pSeries servers. However, officials did say in March that they are listening to their customers in terms of supporting EnterpriseOne on the Linux on Power platform, which would seem like an obvious move for PeopleSoft to make.
Companies implementing EnterpriseOne also now have a greater choice of Web application servers. While freedom of choice is good for customers, it would seem to put PeopleSoft’s partnership with IBM on somewhat less secure terms. But one must keep in mind that this is PeopleSoft, not J.D. Edwards, which had a very strong alliance with Big Blue and a commitment to support IBM’s middleware stack, including WebSphere application server and the DB2 database. As one of the three largest ERP vendors, PeopleSoft has more system vendors to keep happy.
PeopleSoft also says it has also optimized the install scripts for EnterpriseOne Tools 8.93, which will reduce the time it takes to install the PeopleSoft EnterpriseOne RapidStart solution by three days.
GONE ON SAFARI
In a separate EnterpriseOne announcement on the last day of June, PeopleSoft said it plans to support Apple’s Safari Web browser with the next release of EnterpriseOne Tools, Version 8.94, due in the fourth quarter this year. PeopleSoft has already certified Safari for its Enterprise class of ERP software, and says that certification on EnterpriseOne will “demonstrate PeopleSoft’s continued commitment to delivering the highest level of platform choice to its customers.”
PeopleSoft says the Safari browser has unique features that give users certain advantages. For example, Safari’s “SnapBack” navigation feature allows users to step back through a transaction with a single click, rather than clicking the mouse many times. Additionally, PeopleSoft says, Safari’s so-called “tab” browsing feature will let users access multiple PeopleSoft application pages in a single window, which provides a distinct advantage in multilingual call centers, where customer service representatives need to access application and data in more than one language.
Make no mistake, Safari is not a threat to Microsoft’s Internet Explorer, which continues to dominate the Web browser landscape. IE Versions 5 and 6 command a 94 percent share of the Web browser market, according to a May 2004 survey conducted by Web site analysis firm OneStat. In second place is Mozilla, with a 2.1 percent share, then Opera, with 1 percent. Safari has garnered only .7 percent of the market so far, OneStat says, but it points out that the number of Safari users has grown by about one-third since January.
PeopleSoft says that it is very important to let customers choose their Web browsers. “Enabling . . . users to access PeopleSoft applications through their choice of Web browser is critical,” says Jesper Andersen, group vice president and general manager for PeopleSoft tools and technology. This “announcement demonstrates the enterprise applications industry’s strongest commitment to the Macintosh platform.”
While PeopleSoft supports non-IE Web browsers, such as Netscape, Opera, and Safari, with its Enterprise suite of tools, there is no mention on its Web site of any support, planned or otherwise, for accessing EnterpriseOne from Opera or Mozilla, both of which have greater market share than Safari, according to OneStat’s figures. One would think that if PeopleSoft was truly committed to allowing users to access EnterpriseOne with their choice of Web browsers, they would support Opera and Mozilla as well.