Sun, Ubuntu maker certifying Linux on x86 servers

Server maker and Canonical have nearly completed work to certify Linux version of Ubuntu runs smoothly on Sun's x86 servers.

Sun Microsystems and Canonical have nearly completed work to certify that the Ubuntu version of Linux runs smoothly on Sun's x86 servers, sources familiar with the situation said.

The companies are expected to announce details of the partnership Monday in conjunction with the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Mountain View, Calif., from Nov. 5 to 10, according to sources familiar with the plan. Canonical helps develop Ubuntu and sells support.

Sun confirmed the certification work late Thursday. "This means that enterprises will now be able to run Ubuntu on Sun's x64-based systems with the confidence of five-year support provided by Canonical," spokeswoman Terry Molini said.

The certification work is expected to begin with Sun's X4100 and X4200 servers and the Ultra 20 and 40 workstations, one source familiar with the work said. Later, "Rev F" Opteron-based servers, including the X2100 M2 and X2200 M2, will be included.

The partnership links two companies angling for a higher profile and more customers. Ubuntu, a relatively new version of Linux, is vying against Red Hat and Novell for a place in the server market, while Sun is trying to establish its "Galaxy" line of x86 servers against rival products from IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell and others.

Ubuntu became the first version of Linux to be certified on Sun's UltraSparc T1 "Niagara"-based servers, joined later by Gentoo. About 5 percent of Ubuntu's support subscriptions are for Sparc systems, Canonical Chief Executive Mark Shuttleworth has said.

Canonical didn't comment for this story.

Certification, a necessity for many customers, ensures that products work together. Certification partnerships also can involve work to ensure mutual customers can resolve problems.

The Ubuntu conference will be held at the facilities of Google, whose developers, Shuttleworth said, use Ubuntu Linux.

At the conference, programmers will discuss the sequel to Ubuntu's new 6.10 "Edgy Eft" release.

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