Linux Magazine’s Top 20 Companies to Watch in 2007

We pick the companies that are defining the future of Information Technology and will have the most impact on the Open Enterprises of 2007. It's the inaugural edition of our 20 Companies to Watch list and we guarantee that every company here will challenge how you think about Linux and Open Source before the year is out.

Hewlett-Packard

Ignore for a moment all the recent inner wranglings at HP that led to wiretapping, executive misconduct, and a guilty plea. Instead, focus on the company’s real news of the past year, which has less to do with growling board members, and more to do with Linux support, grids, and desktop dreams.

After recent profit gains, HP noted that Linux had made a big impact on revenues, as well as set the company up for more Linux initiatives in the coming year. About 30,000 Linux support service subscriptions were added to HP’s bank account in 2005, and the subscriptions continued into 2006. Recent wins included multiyear contracts by the U.S. Defense Information Systems Agency, which will give HP $190 million over the next eight years to deliver operating environments in Microsoft Windows, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, and Novell SUSE Linux.

Just as it was signing up new Linux subscriptions, the company also launched a new version of its StorageWorks Scalable File Share appliance, which featured a host of accelerations and scaling capabilities specifically for Linux clusters. Users of that appliance have had over a year to kick the tires, which means that HP is likely to update it soon with more nifty features.

The company’s potential initiatives and partnerships in 2007 could also focus more closely on middleware and the desktop, two areas that HP considers “the next frontier,” according to Christine Martino, vice president of HP’s Open Source and Linux Organization. HP is already supporting an open source stack of middleware that includes building blocks for Linux, Windows, and HP-UX, and the stack features MySQL, PHP, and the JBoss Enterprise Middleware Suite. Driving Linux to the desktop is a bit trickier, Martino has acknowledged, but HP is hoping, like other Linux desktop advocates, that “proprietary” might someday become an archaic term.

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