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IBM shows off new Linux buyers

Three years into its embrace of Linux, Big Blue continues its evangelist effort by announcing that Unilever and several other new customers are using the operating system.

NEW YORK--IBM, three years into its embrace of Linux, will continue its evangelist effort this week by announcing that Unilever and several other new customers are using the operating system.

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Unilever is buying IBM computers, software and services as part of a move to adopt Linux across its company, Big Blue plans to announce Wednesday on the opening day of the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo. Unilever, which Hewlett-Packard also claimed this week as a Linux server customer, is a multinational company that sells consumer goods such as Ben & Jerry's ice cream and Dove soap.

Announcing customers is an important part of showing a technology is mature enough to use in the real world. Linux is still a relative newcomer to the mainstream computing landscape, and IBM has been eager to show the vast amounts of money it's investing in Linux has been spent wisely.

IBM will announce several other new customers as well:

•  Eberspaecher in Germany, which builds automobile muffler and heating systems, is using accounting software with 's version of Linux for mainframes. Linux runs in one separate part of the computer called a partition, while IBM's traditional mainframe operating system, z/OS, runs in others.

•  PGA Tour has chosen IBM Linux servers to run its Tourcast software, which will let golf fans obtain up-to-the minute golf statistics from its Web site. IBM will run the servers, zSeries mainframes running Linux, as well as Enterprise Storage Server systems.

•  VeriSign, which sells services for signing programs or messages with digital certificates though a process called public key encryption, will use IBM x330 Intel-based computers for the services.

•  Automobile insurance company Mercury Insurance Group, is using Intel x440 servers Linux running IBM DB2 database software, Tivoli management software and WebSphere e-commerce software to let employees and partners use Internet-based services.

•  Geo H. Young & Co. a Canadian customs broker, will move several internal functions to Linux on an IBM i820 server, one of a collection of new iSeries machines for medium-sized companies.

•  Banco do Brasil, a multinational bank, is using an IBM iSeries server as part of its European operations.