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Red Hat Linux for mainframes imminent

SuSE and Turbolinux both already have a version of Linux for IBM mainframes for sale. Is the Linux leader finally catching on and catching up?

Red Hat will release its version of Linux for IBM mainframes in the next 30 days, catching the company up to rivals who already have staked their claim in the niche market segment.

The Durham, N.C., company's mainframe version of Linux will be sold along with services through the Red Hat Network, Chief Executive Matthew Szulik said in an interview Friday.

The product would catch Red Hat up with SuSE and Turbolinux, both of which already have a version for sale.

Linux and the mainframe make for an odd couple, but IBM's strong Linux push has linked the fates of the two technologies. It's even lured some customers such as Korean Air and Banco Mercantil.

Mainframes are a decades-old server architecture from IBM used by large corporations for business tasks with numerous transactions such as changes to bank balances. Linux, by comparison, is comparatively new, a 10-year-old clone of Unix.

Red Hat has said it plans versions of Linux for IBM's iSeries special-purpose servers, pSeries Unix servers and zSeries mainframes. It already sells Linux for use on the xSeries Intel servers.