PeopleSoft Jumps on Linux Bandwagon

By Dan Orzech

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The Pleasanton, Calif.-based maker of human resources and other ERP software said today that it is porting its entire suite of enterprise products to Linux. PeopleSoft will deliver its complete line of enterprise applications -- more than 170 of them -- running on Linux on IBM?s Intel based xSeries servers by the fourth quarter of this year.

The company, which formed a broad agreement with IBM for the project, says that IBM?s DB2 Universal Database and WebSphere Application Server will be its Linux development platforms of choice.

The firms will also undertake joint marketing and sales efforts, according to Scott Handy, IBM?s director of Linux software solutions.

PSFT, which so far has only one product running on Linux -- the PeopleSoft Web Server -- is the last of the big three ERP vendors to support Linux. SAP, which started shipping Linux versions of its products at the end of 1999, had more than 300 customers running on the open source operating system a year later. And Oracle?s CEO Larry Ellison told analysts in December 2002 that his company was "seeing a tremendous amount of customer interest" in Linux , and is "betting very heavily" on the open source operating system.

Oracle is not only pitching Linux to its customers, but using it in-house. As of last December, the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based firm had over 700 Linux servers running much of the company?s mid-tier, including its email system, and ERP and CRM applications.

But whatever hesitation PeopleSoft may have had about the open source operating system appears to have disappeared. "Linux is ready for primetime," says Rick Bergquist, PeopleSoft?s chief technology officer. "It can easily handle mission-critical applications."

And while PeopleSoft may have gotten a later start than SAP or Oracle, going from supporting just one application on Linux to more than 170, represents the largest commitment to Linux from an independent software vendor to date, according to IBM.

"This puts them in the lead as far as committing their entire application suite to Linux," says IBM?s Handy.