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Caldera smoothing Linux installation

The company is working on a program called "Lizard" to ease installation of the company's distribution of the Linux operating system.

Caldera Systems is working on a program called "Lizard" to ease installation of the company's distribution of the Linux operating system.

Lizard automatically probes a computer system to find out what hardware is inside, then boots to the X Windows graphical user interface to make it easier for customers to configure their Linux systems, said Drew Spencer, vice president of engineering at Caldera Systems.

The software has been under development by Caldera Systems and Troll Tech since December, and is scheduled for release with Caldera's next Linux release in the second week of April.

Linux advocates point to the robustness of the Unix-like operating system, but installing it can be complex and requires technical expertise.

Future versions of the Lizard point-and-click wizard will make it easier for computer sellers to automate the Linux installation process for their computer lines, Spencer added.

Once the Lizard architecture is finished, "we will likely open-source it," Spencer said, referring to the release of the original programming instructions to anyone who wants to see or modify the software. Linux itself has been developed with the open source model.

The new 2.2 edition of Caldera Systems' Linux will come with the new 2.2 version of the Linux kernel, the core part of the system that recently got a major overhaul. It also is the first Caldera distribution to follow a widespread Linux shift in the basic software "library" that Linux programs call upon, moving from the older "libc" to "glibc," Spencer said.

Caldera also will add 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week technical support in North America beginning the first week of April, said Benoy Tamang, vice president of marketing, with full global support within a couple months afterward.

For U.S. support, Caldera Systems is relying on Multiuser Solutions, which has been providing technical support for Unix systems since 1991. For worldwide support, Caldera will use IBM's Global Services.