E-smith Adds To Linux Fervor

E-smith, formerly known as Powerframe Internetworking, joined the recent flurry of Linux-related activity by announcing version 3.0 of a server and gateway product that turns a PC into a turnkey Internet server.

The e-smith server and gateway — which is designed to provide small and medium-sized businesses with Web hosting services — features an Apache Web server and the latest version of the Red Hat Linux distribution. E-smith spokesperson Kim Morrison told the E-Commerce Times that the product “offers all of the benefits — such as scalability, reliability, functionality and performance — that come with Linux, adding incredible ease-of-use.”

“It installs automatically and the end user doesn’t ever need to know a UNIX command,” commented Morrison. “They configure the system using a very simple console, and after that, the network is administered using a Web-based interface from their desktop.”

Simplifying the process of adopting the Linux operating system (OS) is central to the e-smith corporate mission, as well as making it accessible for small and mid-sized businesses. According to the company, the product — which combines e-mail, file sharing, routing and security capabilities — can even convert a retired 60Mhz Pentium computer into an Internet server for a sizable office.

E-Commerce Is the Next Step

Although the latest version of the e-smith server and gateway lacks transaction capabilities, the company is looking to e-commerce for future releases. E-smith has been considering Health Kitchens (HKS), a Linux-based operation, for possible collaboration in the development of transaction processing.

“There’s also definitely the possibility that another organization out there that we’re collaborating with might want to use the e-smith server and gateway as the development platform for other kinds of applications,” said Morrison. “I’m sure that that’s going to happen, and I imagine that e-commerce will be one of the first ones to be developed by another organization.”

Additionally, the Ottawa, Canada-based e-smith offers server and gateway product users a “server-only” option for use behind firewalls, support for both DHCP and Dynamic DNS service and support for dial on demand service.

Linux Mania

With a recent high profile IPO (initial public offering) which raised $4.55 billion (US$), Red Hat, Inc. has expanded the open-source movement into a new arena. Despite the inevitable projections for a major sell-off — and bitter recriminations by some Linux developers who were essentially barred from participating in the IPO — analysts are looking for the next Red Hat. This week, a couple of companies took a significant step toward claiming the title.

Among them was Corel (Nasdaq: CORL), whose stock surged more than 24% at the close of trading last week. The Toronto, Canada-based company will soon be introducing both a Linux version of WordPerfect Office 2000 and its own distribution of the open-source OS.

Applix, Inc., another provider of Linux-based solutions, experienced a meteoric 64% stock increase last week. This development only added to an environment where investors who had never heard of open-source software began talking GNU, and companies who had only flirted with the notion of a Linux-based offering raced to prepare a market-ready product. According to many experts, the trend will be increasing in coming months.

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