IBM has marked its 10 years of participation in Linux and open source by introducing new software, upgrades to existing platforms, as well as an open source code contribution focused on supercomputing.

The company said its HPC Open Source Software Stack, which includes IBM's Extreme Cluster Administration Toolkit, was its first ever contribution of open source code for supercomputing.

The announcements were made at IDG's LinuxWorld/Next Generation Data Center conference, that opened Monday.

The company also introduced a software appliance toolkit and announced it would pre-load Novell SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 in Lotus Foundations to battle Microsoft Small Business Server.

IBM also said it would expand its real-time Linux initiative and it introduced version 5.4 of z/VM, its virtualisation platform.

IBM plans to marry its Lotus Foundations, hardware and software pre-configured into a bundle, with Novell's Linux operating system. IBM already has users testing an appliance made up of Domino mail/collaboration, file management, directory services, firewall, back-up, recovery and the Lotus Symphony productivity applications.

The company hopes to challenge Microsoft's Small Business Server, a bundle of infrastructure software designed for small and mid-sized businesses. IBM also unveiled an ISV Software Appliance Initiative to help ISVs deliver their applications on an appliance.

"We will push Foundations as a head-to-head competitor with Small Business Server," said Jeff Smith, vice president of open source and Linux middleware. "We think it is a very compelling alternative and brings openness to the world of small businesses."

IBM also said it would work with Canonical/Ubuntu, Novell and Red Hat and a number of hardware partners it did not name to deliver in 2009 "Microsoft-free" PCs with Lotus Notes and Symphony.

The company said integration between Linux and Microsoft desktops and the proliferation of client computing devices such as the Smartphone would provide the opportunity to finally make a noticeable dent in Microsoft's stranglehold on the desktop.

IBM said its supercomputing code donation would be housed at the University of Illinois, and announced it is adding support for Novell's SuSE Linux Enterprise Real Time on some of its BladeCenter servers and with WebSphere Real Time.

In addition, IBM introduced version 2.1 of WebSphere Application Server Community Edition, which is based on Apache Geronimo. The new version includes enhanced server monitoring features and an updated administrative console.