The move, announced Wednesday, begins to flesh out the software portfolio that will be necessary if IBM is to succeed in its goal of making Linux popular on its full server line; Linux currently is most frequently found only on servers that use Intel processors. IBM's DB2 database software and some of its Tivoli management software suite are already available for Linux on the Power4 processor.
IBM rivals Hewlett-Packard, Dell Computer and Sun Microsystems also have embraced Linux, but only on their Intel-based servers.
IBM's pSeries machines most often run AIX, a version of Unix, while the iSeries servers run IBM's OS/400. Those systems can be subdivided so they run Linux as well as their customary operating systems. Next year, IBM plans changes that will let all three operating systems coexist on the same machine.
IBM is working to spread the Power4 processor across its entire server line. The company also is trying to build a software portfolio to make Linux useful on its zSeries mainframes, which can be subdivided to run many operating systems simultaneously.
WebSphere runs Java software for servers handling tasks such as interfaces to online banks or e-commerce sites.
The new edition of WebSphere for Linux on Power4 systems will be available beginning July 15, when the company ships version 5.02, IBM said. The software costs $10,000 per processor for the lowest-end version; $15,000 per processor for the Network Deployment version; and $30,000 for the Enterprise version, IBM said.