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IBM boosts support for Linux overseas

The computer maker will spend $200 million in a four-year effort to make it easier for European companies to bring their software to Linux.

IBM will spend $200 million in a four-year effort to make it easier for European companies to bring their software to Linux.

Big Blue, a strong advocate of the Unix-like operating system, said the funding will go toward seven centers in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Poland and Hungary, where IBM will make servers and personnel available to help in the development effort. In addition, IBM will use some of the money for partnerships with Linux consultants and service specialists.

"We're seeing a dramatic expansion of Linux usage in Europe," said Adam Jollans, IBM's European marketing manager for IBM software on Linux.

The European stronghold of Linux is with SuSE's presence in Germany, he said, but Red Hat leads in the United Kingdom and Mandrake in France.

IBM will focus chiefly on helping people bring applications to Linux running on Intel servers because that's where the most interest lies, he said. However, the company also will help with customers working on Linux for IBM's Power architecture chips and S/390 mainframes.

SuSE has a version of Linux for the S/390 and has Linux running on a prototype of IBM's next-generation Power4 chip, due in servers in 2001, Jollans said. IBM also has a deal to help provide support for the Mandrake's Linux in France, though the deal isn't at the level of IBM's relationships with the four major international Linux distributors, SuSE, Red Hat, Caldera Systems and Turbolinux.