Four Key Developments In the Linux Market

Includes: HPQ, JAVA, NOVL, RHT
by: Joe Panettieri

I'm packing my bags and plan to attend a new open source event -- Ubuntu LIVE -- July 22 in Portland, Oregon. While prepping for the event, I spotted four key developments in the Linux market -- including a possible surprise announcement from Hewlett-Packard Co.

Ubuntu, for those who are new to open source software, is an increasingly popular version of Linux. Early proponents include Dell Inc. (NASDAQ:DELL) and Intel Corp. (NASDAQ:INTC). Here's a rundown of key open source developments investors should watch over the next few days.

4. Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ:SUNW) Cares about Desktop Linux: Sure, Ubuntu has a server version but most folks keep a closer eye on its desktop counterpart. Sun's decision to sponsor the Ubuntu LIVE event hints that CEO Jonathan Schwartz continues to preach open source throughout the company -- including the desktop. And, not by coincidence, Sun recently announced plans to add more Linux capabilities to the Solaris operating system.

3. SuSE Linux Isn't Novell's (NASDAQ:NOVL) Only Priority: In fact, Crispin Cowan, director of software engineering at Novell/SuSE, will speak at the conference about AppArmor, a security program that has been ported to Ubuntu. That's smart. Novell needs to stay friendly with open source peers, because many companies are skeptical of Novell's relationship with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT).

2. Red Hat (NYSE:RHT) Is Missing In Action: Generally speaking, I remain bullish on Red Hat. But the company apparently doesn't have any guest speakers confirmed for the Ubuntu LIVE conference. That's foolish. Surely, technology managers want to know how Red Hat servers can potentially integrate with Ubuntu desktops -- and vice versa.

1. HP (NYSE:HPQ) May Make A Major Ubuntu Move: You've heard that Dell preinstalls Ubuntu on selected consumer PCs and laptops. Rumors are swirling that Hewlett-Packard will soon follow suit. Bdale Garbee, Hewlett-Packard's Linux CTO, is scheduled to keynote the Ubuntu LIVE conference on Monday, July 23. This is pure speculation by me, but it's the perfect stage to announce an Ubuntu initiative at HP.

Bottom line: Linux and open source are no longer niche technologies. They are making an impact in the mainstream desktop market. And that will certainly be a central theme during Ubuntu LIVE next week in Portland, Oregon.

Disclosure: none