As expected, the company today announced a version of its flagship Dynamic Server database on Linux, along with tools intended to get corporate developers up and running on the open source operating system.
The Informix Dynamic Server, Linux Edition Suite includes a version of the company's database server, Informix Client Software Development Kit, for building client-side applications linked to the database server; and Informix Connect, which includes ODBC and JDBC connectivity software and guidelines for linking to Apache Web servers.
The suite will be posted to Informix's Web site on December 24, the company said.
Informix said the suite is available as a 30-day free trial, which includes free email technical support. The company will offer its usual full technical support package after the software has been purchased. Pricing was not announced.
More significantly, Informix executives now believe that demand for its software on Linux is coming from deep-pocketed corporate customers. In July, the company dipped its toe into the Linux waters by posting a free copy of its Informix-SE database to its Web site targeted at curious developers. Overwhelming demand led the company to expand its Linux plans.
Oracle and Netscape Communications have already pledged support for the freely distributed operating system software. Sybase recently said it is offering a free version of its Adaptive Server Enterprise database on Linux, but the company is not offering any support for the database.
The company sees demand for Linux applications growing extremely fast, outpaced only by sales of software on Microsoft's Windows NT operating system.
The one remaining product in Informix's stable that is not currently in development for Linux is the company's Universal Server option. Universal Server includes support for multimedia data, such as audio and video files.
According to sources, Informix is currently formulating a plan to bring Universal Server to Linux, but no firm delivery date has been set.
Linux was initially released in 1991 when creator Linus Torvalds was a student at the University of Helsinki. It has since grown into a Net-based software phenomenon, with millions of users counted as converts and countless software additions submitted to various ad hoc Linux Web sites for use.
Yet its popularity has been underwhelming, at least with corporate information technology executives, until recently.
With a new software maker pledging Linux support every week, analysts said the operating system is becoming a legitimate competitor to Windows NT.
Many observers expect the two operating systems to coexist, with Linux serving as a reliable OS for Web servers and NT functioning as an easy-to-use foundation for departmental and workgroup applications.