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New Linux center a catalyst for economic development

Len Santalucia grew up in Endicott and graduated from the School of Management in 1973. And although he now lives in Manhattan, he’s still committed to Greater Binghamton and interested in finding ways to revitalize the area’s economy.

About a year ago, he gave a speech about the promise of Linux, an opensource operating system, to members of the Southern Tier Opportunity Coalition (STOC) and suggested that a research center devoted to it might help bring businesses back to the region.

Last week, that concept was realized with the creation of the Binghamton University Linux Technology Center (LTC), one of just a few research programs in the nation dedicated to Linux and the associated opensource software. The center will focus on improving research in Linuxbased and open-source applications by drawing together key competencies from the University and industry leaders IBM and Mainline Information Systems Inc.

“This is a triumph brought about by the networking and cooperation of many

people representing various entities,” said Diana Bendz, STOC president. “It is a perfect example of the Southern Tier Opportunity Coalition’s mission to leverage technology in support of business growth.”

Unlike proprietary systems such as Windows, Linux and all the underlying code are available to the public without any restrictions or licensing fees. Computer programmers with an understanding of Unix can learn Linux quite easily.

By expanding the Linux knowledge base, the LTC will foster job creation and economic growth in the Southern Tier. Students and faculty from the Thomas J. Watson School of Engineering and Applied Science as well as the School of Management will provide research expertise and gain hands-on contract and development experience.

“The LTC joins institutions that are committed to opensource development in a partnership that puts this region on the forefront of Linux-based research skills and abilities,” President Lois B. DeFleur said. &ldqu

o;By working with each other to vet ideas and solutions, we will be able to offer local and regional businesses a valuable resource while providing unique research and educational opportunities to our faculty and students.”

Santalucia, who is responsible for selling and implementing Linux across IBM’s server, software and services offerings throughout the Americas, said using the system is cost-effective, and its performance, reliability and security are well-established.

“Linux really provides the best platform for innovation and collaboration in the world today,” he said.

His customers like it because they’re not locked in with a certain vendor, which means no one can dictate what’s available to them.

“Wall Street is on fire with Linux,” he said.

IBM makes money through Linux because the system drives new server and software business that wasn’t otherwise available to the company.

IBM will support the LTC with equipmen

t, software, personnel and other services. Mainline Information Systems will deliver leading-edge expertise with Linux applications and assist with the development of Linux-based opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses.

The LTC has already partnered with a local firm, Custom Systems Integration (CSI) of Endicott.

“After completing our project with the LTC, we have the potential to start out with a CSI standard product that we can leverage into expanded marketplaces,” said Dave Jones, general manager.

Merwyn Jones, an IBM computer scientist, will serve as director of the LTC, which will be based on campus.

“The LTC brings tremendous open computing possibilities to science, business and engineering,” he said. “Building upon IBM’s strong commitment to open computing and Binghamton University’s strong research capabilities, the LTC will accelerate innovation in the information technology arena and put the University in a leading role.”
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Last Updated: 10/14/08