May 09, 2005
UGS Announces Linux Support Plans For Teamcenter And NX Solutions
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by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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UGS Announces Linux Support Plans For Teamcenter And NX Solutions

UGS Corp., a leading global provider of product lifecycle management (PLM) software and services, today announced its plans to add the Linux open source operating system to the list of supported environments for Teamcenter and NX solutions, the company's flagship digital product lifecycle and digital product development software portfolios respectively.

Chuck Grindstaff, UGS executive vice president of PLM Products made the announcement at the 2005 PLM World Conference in Dallas, Texas, during his keynote product strategy presentation. In response to growing customer demand, Teamcenter and NX are both being ported to the Linux environment on x64 technology, the 64-bit architecture supported by AMD and Intel. The PLM World Conference is the annual conference for users of UGS software, the world's largest PLM user community.

"Linux on x64 is attractive for many of our customers," said Grindstaff. "Linux offers an excellent migration path for our UNIX customers looking to move to the price performance benefits and multiple offerings available in x64 based workstations. The x64 platform also permits 64-bit applications to address large amounts of memory facilitating the development of large, complex models. In addition, since the x64 is backward compatible with the x86 architecture, customers can run the latest 64-bit applications along with any existing 32-bit applications on the same machine."

UGS is expected to begin shipping completed products starting in Q4 of 2005, with additional products following in 2006. Initial support will be for Novell's SUSE Linux Desktop and Enterprise Server 9.

"Having a mature and established platform is critical to enable UGS to develop, deliver and support our products with the quality our customers expect," said Chris Brosz, vice president of Technical Operations, UGS. "Linux has evolved from a do-it-yourself project, to an integrated and supported operating environment with the necessary tools for development."

SUSE Linux, a business unit of Novell, is just one of the many "flavors" of Linux, but one that seems to be one of the more popular, just based on the sheer number of software applications that are compatible with it. All in all, though, it's not too surprising that UGS would make the leap to an open source, UNIX-based operating system, because of its UNIX legacy from the old EDS days. Also, the x64 (64-bit) architecture doesn't hurt things, either, because it can take advantage of much larger amounts of RAM than can 32-bit systems. This announcement, however, is further evidence of the "new UGS" that has continued to occur since it spun off from EDS and was funded by independent
investors last year.

SUSE Linux, like a few other distributions (or flavors of Linux) have distinct advantages, such as being relatively easy to install, come with lots of software applications, and are compatible with a wide range of existing hardware. Additionally, while things are improving slowly, it's no secret that there are myriad problems, weaknesses, and vulnerabilities with Windows - whether it's viruses, phishing, adware, hacking, or just general instability. Add to that the infamous blue screen of death,other types of unexplainable crashes, and the other assorted headaches caused by Windows. In effect, the computer desktop becomes a perpetual nightmarish reality where things must be constantly
"fixed" or at best, "dealt with." It's not to say that Linux is by any means perfect, because it's not, or that it doesn't have its own issues, because it does, but I have felt it somewhat refreshing that there is an alternative when things get out of hand and frustrating in the Windows world.

Although there are not yet a wide assortment of CAD/CAM/CAE tools available for the Linux environment, a prominent SUSE Linux partner is Fluent, probably the world's largest provider of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software and consulting services. Expect to see other engineering-oriented software applications beyond the UGS NX and Teamcenter products move into the Linux fold in the not too distant future. It's not that Windows is going to diminish much in stature, it's just good to know that there are some emerging choices and alternatives out there.

Jeffrey Rowe is the editor and publisher of MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached here or 408.850.9230.

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