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Dell dubs Linux ‘strategic’

Names Red Hat preferred distro

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Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

Dell yesterday reiterated its support for Linux, naming the open source operating system as one of its "strategic" OS products and Red Hat as its preferred Linux supplier.

Of course, use of words like "strategic" (at least in this context) is pretty meaningless. Ultimately, Dell doesn't much care what OS its customers want so long as they're buying Dell PCs and servers rather than a rival's. Yesterday's announcement simply says that Dell is offering and will support Linux alongside Windows and Netware.

That said, Dell's statement does show that the company is serious about offering Linux as an alternative to Windows - that the open source OS is more than an obscure option for a certain specialist band of customers.

Dell's announcement follows similar statements from Hewlett-Packard and IBM, made last year.

Appointing Red Hat as preferred distributor makes sense, since it allows Dell to trade on the strength of Red Hat's brand, arguably the most well-known in the market. Dell will offer other distros, but only if so requested by the customer - Red Hat Linux will be installed as default.

It's equally good new for Red Hat, which wants to grow its userbase in order to widen its opportunities to sell Linux and open source related services and consultancy, a crucial part of its plan to make a profit sometime next year. And, quid pro quo, it gets to trade on Dell's name, too. ®

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