Major information technology firms, including Oracle, IBM and NE , will set up a consortium to sell servers and systems running the Linux operating system in Japan, a financial daily said on Thursday.
It would be the first time in the world that major IT firms join hands to market equipment running the free software, the Nikkei newspaper said.
Linux is the most popular type of so-called open source software, which began as a grass-roots approach to program development, and where improvements are shared among programmers.
The cooperative nature of the Linux community has united its supporters against Microsoft and its Windows system, although Linux developers also compete among themselves.
The firms aim to launch the operation as early as in June.
More than 10 companies, including major server manufacturers such as Hitachi, Hewlett-Packard and Dell are expected to participate, as well as systems developers such as NTT Data Corp. .
The move is in response to a Japanese government procurement guideline that promotes the use of the open-source Linux operating system within the government starting in July.
The government sees that excessive reliance on Microsoft's Windows operating system will result in less freedom in systems development and other harmful effects because Windows' source code is not disclosed.