Attendees of LinuxWorld in San Francisco, the trade show running from Aug. 8 to Aug. 11, can expect to see many business deals unveiled and partnerships revealed, but there will be comparatively little in the way of new products or technological advances.

The new deals and partnerships will often have two themes in common: consolidation and competition. Perhaps the biggest news along those lines will come on Tuesday afternoon, when the DCCA (Debian Common Core Alliance) will finally reveal exactly what more than half a dozen of the biggest Debian companies and organizations have been up to for the last few weeks. The technical goal of the DCCA is straightforward enough: The group plans to use Debian Sarge and the LSB (Linux Standard Base) as the foundation for a common Debian-based enterprise version of Linux.
The business goal, though, is what makes this move interesting.

As Ian Murdock, founder of Progeny Linux System Inc.'s and the Debian distribution, has said, "If you look at the installed base of Debian plus all the Debian derivatives, that represents a huge market worldwide. We undoubtedly dwarf Novell/SuSE in terms of volume, and for ISVs and IHVs [independent hardware vendors], it's all about volume."

Neither Red Hat Inc. nor Novell Inc. will be sitting on their laurels while the Debian companies consolidate to form a viable enterprise alternative to Red Hat's RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) or Novell's SLES (SuSE Linux Enterprise Server).

Red Hat at LinuxWorld will be rolling out "a security strategy that will outline our progress in available offerings in the security space and set technical and business investment plan in the security space for the coming years," said Leigh Cantrell Day, Red Hat representative.

While details on how this will be done are hard to come by, Day also said that RHCS (Red Hat Certificate System) plays a role in this launch.

RHCS is the next generation of the Netscape Certificate Management System. Red Hat acquired this set of programs from AOL last fall.

RHCS provides a scalable and manageable PKI (public key infrastructure) authentication system to ensure that only authorized users and applications have access to mission-critical resources and data.

Sources close to Red Hat say that these new advances with RHCS are meant more to make RHEL more competitive with Sun Microsystems Inc.'s Solaris and Microsoft's Server 2003 than with its Linux competition.

Novell is taking a page from Red Hat's book by opening up the development of its SuSE Linux Professional under the name of SuSE Linux. This new community-based Linux will be available both online and, unlike Red Hat's Fedora Core, as a retail product.


"We can categorically state that we have not released man-eating badgers into the area."

-UK military spokesman Major Mike Shearer