Terra Soft Solutions said the machines will be used as part of a sonar imaging system that defense contractor Lockheed Martin is building for the Navy. Rather than using the Mac OS, the Apple servers will run Terra Soft's Yellow Dog Linux operating system. Terra Soft is one of a that is authorized to sell Apple gear.
"This brings to fruition two years of effort with an intense recent six months of research, coordination, prototype development and testing," Terra Soft CEO Kai Staats said in a statement.
Apple has been trying to make inroads into the federal governement computer market, though presumably it would rather do so with its own operating system, not Linux. Last year, Applethat's required for products that federal agencies buy.
An Apple representative was not immediately available for comment.
Joe Fanto, Lockheed Martin's lead project engineer, said the Terra Soft approach "provides an optimal balance of open-source flexibility, AltiVec-enhanced performance and community support."
Terra Soft said the 260 servers that Lockheed Martin ordered will be delivered by the end of October. The company claimed it is an Apple retailer's largest-ever sale of Xserves. Apple introduced the Xserve, its, in May 2002.