IT Channel News Briefs, Dec. 8

Today's headlines: IBM offers a Microsoft-free desktop, and Linux sales boost Novell.

Information technology (IT) channel news in brief for Monday, Dec. 8, 2008.

IBM offers Microsoft-free virtual desktop

IBM last week announced a Linux-based desktop to provide a Microsoft alternative. In partnership with Canonical and Virtual Bridges, IBM will deliver open email, office productivity and unified communications software to businesses' laptops, desktops and mobile devices using desktop virtualization technology. Big Blue said businesses can save at least $500 per user a year on software licensing costs, as well as $258 per user for hardware and at least $60 per user in power consumption.

Novell sees Linux sales rise

Sales of Novell's open source products -- primarily Linux -- rose 39% to $128.8 million for the 2008 fiscal year. For the fourth quarter, which ended Oct. 31, open source revenue rose 36.1% to $35.7 million, according to SearchEnterpriseLinux.com.

Still, in what may be a microcosm of what's going on in the open source world, Novell is not yet profitable (although it trimmed its losses). For the fourth quarter, the company posted a net loss of $16.3 million, or five cents per share, compared to the year-ago figure of $17.9 million. Overall, earnings were in line with analyst expectations.

Thanks to aggressive pricing and partnerships with Microsoft and SAP, Novell's Linux growth rates far exceeded the 22% increase in the overall Linux market, Novell CEO Ron Hovsepian said. SUSE Linux Enterprise, which grew its market share 3% in 2007, added 3,000 new Linux customers this year, including many large enterprises, he said. Hovsepian told analysts Thursday that Microsoft has sold $195 million of the $240 million in SUSE Linux certificates it bought as part of the 2006 pact between the two companies and has bought $25 million more so far this year.

Microsoft to address critical Windows, Excel flaws

Microsoft will release patches for critical vulnerabilities in Windows, Visual Basic, Internet Explorer, Excel and Word this week, SearchSecurity.com reported. Microsoft is also expected to issue patches for SharePoint Server and Windows Media Player. The company will release further details on the patches Tuesday and follow with a webcast to discuss them Wednesday. Microsoft addressed flaws in XML Core Services and coding in Server Message Block in November.

Virtualization a big hit with developers

More than a third of North American software developers are involved with virtualization projects, and 51% expect to be involved within the next 12 months, according to a new survey from Evans Data Corp. VMware dominates the virtualization tools market, as 56% of developers involved with virtualization use VMware tools. Microsoft's Virtual Server has 37% of that market, with Xen products from Citrix and Red Hat trailing behind.

VMware solutions are dominant across all segments, whereas Microsoft is strongest among VARs, systems integrators and outsourcers that custom-develop applications for customers, according to Evans Data, which surveyed 400 developers in October and November.

Other findings: JavaScript remains the most popular dynamic language, but Ruby is making a play. And two-thirds of developers surveyed said they are exploring service-oriented architecture (SOA) options for projects.

Check out last week's IT channel news briefs.

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