IBM said this month it will offer the open source system EyeOS on its latest batch of mainframes. EyeOS is seen as a threat to Google Chrome and IBM's support of it on System Z mainframes as a way to develop cloud computing applications will no doubt give the system a boost.
EyeOS defines the system as an open source web desktop that lets users access a virtual desktop through a Web browser. It is written in mainly PHP and XML and acts as a platform for web applications written using the EyeOS Toolkit. It includes a Desktop environment with 67 applications and system utilities and is accessible by portable devices via its mobile front end.
According to EyeOS, it is working with IBM to make available a sample virtual Linux desktop workload for Big Blue's overarching package known as Solution Edition for Cloud Computing. Starting in Jan. 2010, IBM will offer EyeOS 2.0 to customers who buy the System Z mainframe.
According to this MIT blog, “Unlike projects like Google's ChromeOS, which is designed to let people access the entire world of Web applications through the browser, EyeOS is designed to access a specific set of applications “installed” on the virtual desktop. Using the system, an organization could provide employees with productivity applications, its own custom applications, and access to proprietary data.”
The EyeOS move follows IBM's rollout of Linux-focused mainframe bundles that it says will provide discounts of up to 80% over previous offerings.
NetworkWorld noted in a recent story that IBM's mainframe business struggled in 2009, with year-over-year revenue declines of 26% in the third quarter and 39% in the second quarter. But Linux has been a bright spot, with 70% of IBM's top 100 mainframe customers running Linux, according to Gartner.
In an attempt to boost falling sales, IBM has taken several steps to lure new customers and capitalize on interest in consolidating Linux workloads on mainframes using IBM's virtualization technology. In August IBM released seven hardware, software and services packages which are known as the “Solution Edition Series” and are aimed at specific application workloads like data warehousing and SAP software. IBM also cut prices nearly in half for some specialty Linux processors known as Integrated Facility for Linux.