April 10, 2006
UGS Ships NX 4 For Linux
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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UGS Corp. announced the shipment of its NX 4 digital product development software on the popular Linux open source operating system. UGS is the world's first PLM software and services provider to offer a complete solution for the Linux environment.

"This is a landmark step in the PLM industry and creates significant advantages for UGS customers," said Chuck Grindstaff, executive vice president, Products, UGS. "We announced our Linux plans last year and are now the first among our competitors to provide a complete world-class PLM solution for this popular operating environment. UGS' ability to bring this solution to the market first is consistent with our PLM Open strategy that promotes enhanced collaboration through open, standards-based offerings. As a result, our customers can immediately take advantage of the low cost of ownership and excellent performance of the Linux environment."

As the world's leading open source operating system, Linux offers customers an enterprise class operating environment at a low cost of ownership. Linux and x64 are two of the technologies most requested by UGS customers. As part of its Linux strategy and commitment to open standards, UGS now offers its NX flagship product on the latest 64-bit technology from AMD and Intel. UGS will also offer Teamcenter on Linux later in the year.

"We already have migrated our whole CAE environment to Linux," said Erwin Pignitter, senior vice president, Information Management, MTU Aero Engines. "Now we are strongly looking at UGS to provide us with their products on Linux so that we can migrate the CAD and PLM environments as well. We have been beta testing NX 4 on Linux and are very pleased with its performance and stability. Now we are working closely with UGS to migrate 400 NX seats and all our Teamcenter components to Linux. We are very happy that UGS made clear commitments for Linux product releases. We expect to save 20 percent in total costs with our Linux initiative."

UGS chose Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for the superior scalability and reliability required for high-end engineering. "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. "Novell was the first to offer support for x64 technology and has a proven track record serving global enterprises." UGS and Novell are working closely to provide a robust and fully supported implementation of UGS software on SUSE Linux Technology.

"We are very pleased UGS has chosen SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as the platform with which to lead their open source strategy," said Jeff Hawkins, Vice President of Product Management. "SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is the Linux of choice for high-performance computing. Today it powers three of the top five supercomputers in the world. This offering will be of particular interest for customers looking to deploy Linux on the desktop by migrating their existing UNIX workstations to a cost-effective and highly scalable solution offered by Linux on standard PC hardware."

Functional benefits include:
  • UNIX Migration: Customers can now take full advantage of the price/performance benefits offered by the latest AMD and Intel x64-based workstations and servers.
  • High Performance: 64-bit applications can address the amounts of memory required for the design and management of extremely large, complex models, improving time-to-market.
  • Backward-Compatible: Customers can run the latest 64-bit applications along with existing 32-bit applications on the same machine.
  • Open Standard: UGS PLM Open ensures commitment to Linux and its standards base. UGS is also a member of the Free Standards Group, supporting their Linux Standard Base (LSB) initiative.
  • NX 4 is not the first nor the only CAD (let's confine this discussion to CAD and not PLM) system that runs or has run under the Linux operating system, but more about that later. Linux has gained some ground over the years in the CAD world, but is still just a small fraction of total sales, primarily based on the fact no vendor thumping its chest about its sales on the Linux platform. In fact, one vendor doesn't seem to really want to talk about it at all.

    As I'm sure most of you know, there are several flavors or distributions of Linux available. As a hobbyist, I've experimented with a couple of the different distributions and have found SUSE Linux (actually owned by Novell) to be the best one I've tried in terms of stability, ease of use, and compatibility with the hardware I have around the office.

    From what I've read and heard, UGS made a good decision in choosing SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 because it represents a big step forward for GUI-based enterprise server operating systems.

    Although it does have its faults and quirks, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 is regarded in many circles as the most powerful, comprehensive server OS on the market. It spans three major architectures, offers tools to accomplish just about anything that can be done with a networked server, and is relatively easy to install and use. And, it's inexpensive. It goes for $389 (US) for the 2-CPU edition, and there are no restrictions in licensing. By comparison, Microsoft Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition is nearly three times as much and you also have per-seat licensing for client machines to contend with. Windows Server 2003 has a tough road ahead when going head to head with SUSE Linux
    Enterprise Server 9. All things considered, out of the box there currently seems to be no serious competition for this production-quality server operating system.

    Now, on to other competing packages that run under Linux.

    Like most CAD packages today, CATIA is a Windows-based system. I found an old quote from 2001 about CATIA and Linux: "CATIA V5 runs successfully on Linux," says media relations spokesman Anthony Marechal. "From a marketing standpoint, we have made no decision so far but remain open to support CATIA running on Linux if the market pressure increases." That was five years ago. As to where things stand today regarding Linux is a mystery, as we attempted to contact several sources for official comment from Dassault, but got no response before our deadline for publication.

    As For PTC's stance on Linux, Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire for Linux was first available back in February 2003. Pro/ENGINEER today supports and runs on the Linux operating system. PTC has supported Linux for a while, since Pro/ENGINEER Wildfire 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0 all support it.

    So, while Linux is not exactly setting the CAD world on fire in terms of sheer volume, it definitely does have a presence and provide an alternative, and that's a good thing.

    The Week's Top 5

    At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

    Gibbs and Associates and Mori Seiki announced that they have entered into a collaboration agreement that will result in GibbsCAM configurations, post processors, and machine simulation models mutually developed by Gibbs and by Mori Seiki for their range of mill/turn machine tools. These will be checked for functionality in various scenarios for verifying that the MTM posts and simulation models generate proper output which customers can be confident are good. Mill/turn, or multi-task machining, is one of the fastest growing segments in the machine tool market due to its ability to reduce manual labor and completely machine parts. At the same time, the complexity that these machine tools
    represent also makes programming them efficiently extremely challenging. GibbsCAM usability plays an important role in GibbsCAM's ability to handle complex multi-task programs. As part of this agreement, GibbsCAM software will also be made available to Mori Seiki technical centers around the world. Mori Seiki application engineers will be able to use GibbsCAM to develop complex programs that will demonstrate the full capabilities of Mori Seiki's machine tools.

    MSC.Software Corp. announced that it has sold its PLM product reseller and services business to TechniGraphics Inc., a consulting and technical software reseller, based in Wooster, Ohio. The financial terms of the transaction are not being disclosed at this time. "Upon the closing of this transaction, we will have successfully completed the divestitures of the non-strategic components of our business," said Bill Weyand, chairman and CEO, MSC.Software. "The sale of our PLM business is the final step to improve our focus as an enterprise software company, while at the same time improve our business execution and positively impact our
    operating margins."

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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.


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