Fujitsu Ltd. and Intel Corp. have agreed to develop servers and mainframe systems based on Intel processors and the open-source Linux operating system, the companies announced recently.

Fujitsu of Tokyo plans to launch dual-processor and multiprocessor servers equipped with Intel’s Xeon chips by the end of 2004 and follow up one year later with a range of larger servers, using as many as 128 of Intel’s high-end Itanium chips, to compete in the mainframe market, the companies said in a statement. Intel of Santa Clara, Calif., and Fujitsu will also cooperate in creating a version of Linux optimized for Fujitsu systems, the statement said. Fujitsu will establish a Linux division with more than 300 engineers, the company said. The deal with Intel signals a break in Fujitsu’s tradition of relying heavily on technology from Sun Microsystems Inc.

Oracle offers some extended support for 10.7 apps

Oracle Corp. will give users of Version 10.7 of its applications suite limited support for another year after the June 30 general support cut-off date, to give them time to upgrade, the company said recently.

The “Extended Support” offer is limited to known issues. Customers will be able to download patches and get telephone support on those issues. There will be no new program updates, fixes, maintenance releases or functionality releases, according to a frequently asked questions document on Oracle’s Web site, which can be found at Extended Support is provided at no additional charge to customers who maintain support contracts for the relevant licences, Oracle said. The offer is the result of a request by the Oracle Applications Users Group (OAUG), which had already succeeded in getting full support for 10.7 extended twice.

IBM takes steps to relieve iSeries pricing pain

IBM Corp. has rolled out new hardware, pricing and upgrade options for users of its iSeries systems as part of a US$500 million effort to revitalize the 25-year-old midrange server line.

The overhaul is aimed at addressing several long-standing user concerns while also making the iSeries machines more appealing to first-time buyers, said Al Zollar, who earlier this month was tapped to head the iSeries business unit at IBM. In addition, IBM plans to invest more in marketing in an attempt to boost interest in the iSeries technology among software vendors and resellers, Zollar said. Under IBM’s new Enterprise Edition pricing model, companies will be charged flat fees, varying by model, that let them use the full capacity of their machines for running 5250 terminal sessions. The approach replaces a complex and very unpopular pricing scheme under which IBM charged iSeries users an “interactive workload” fee for running 5250 applications.