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Red Hat unveils channel product, support and authorisation plans

But are dealer programmes and support products enough to push Linux into the mainstream?

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Red Hat has released two new Linux packages aimed at more mainstream users than the Unix-derivative has so far attracted, plus new channel programmes to back the products. Red Hat Linux 5.2 System Builder Edition is aimed at resellers delivering Linux-based enterprise server solutions. It also forms the basis for the Commercial Server Edition, which adds 90-day 24x7 support to the software. Red Hat is backing the System Builder Edition with Red Hat Authorized Reseller Programmes for system builders and VARs. The programmes offer various levels of co-marketing and co-branding, and allow resellers to get staff accredited as Red Hat Certified Installers and Red Hat Certified Engineers. The accreditation training programme will kick off next February. Red Hat also launched a series of corporate-oriented support offerings, including per-incident based packages and unlimited support options. According to Red Hat VP of enterprise computing Paul McNamara, "these new products and channel programmes offer enterprise customers the support they've asked for through the channels they know." Certainly, anecdotal evidence suggests corporates would be keener to embrace Linux provided a sufficient support structure is in place. Given the money Red Hat has received from Intel, Netscape and co. it should be in a better position to build the kind of support infrastructure corporates will expect to call upon if they're to roll out Linux big time. ®

  • European Linux distributor SuSE will be bringing its own corporate-oriented support system to the US. The service, which is already operational in Europe, will encompass a two-tiered support programme, featuring SuSE Linux Premium Support -- SuSE's in-house corporate technical support programme -- and SuSE Linux Partner Support through third-party organisations. SuSE is currently working with a number of leading Linux support organizations, such as San Francisco-based LinuxCare.

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