SUSE reaffirms vows with HP and IBM

Linux polygamy in Salt Lake City

Broken CD with wrench

Last week the SUSE Penguin marched into Salt Lake City and announced significant extensions in its relationships with two of the organisations leading the promotion of Linux into the Enterprise - HP and IBM, writes Bloor Research analyst Tony Lock.

The announcements Novell BrainShare in Utah kicked off with news of a joint agreement to certify and support the Novell SuSE Linux operating system on selected HP Compaq client systems. As part of the agreement, SUSE Linux will become HP’s standard Linux distribution across its business desktop and notebook PCs in North America.

It is expected that a similar agreement will cover European and Asia-Pacific markets at a later date. In line with the company’s existing certification of SUSE Linux on HP’s ProLiant and Integrity servers, Novell will now offer support for Linux business PCs. In certain support scenarios, HP will provide "qualified" customers indemnity against possible litigation from SCO.

At the same time, Novell also confirmed news of its expanding links with IBM that will see the server supplier given the ability to pre-load SUSE LINUX across the entire range of IBM Servers. The deal complements nicely IBM’s arrangements with Red Hat that saw the organisation given the rights to pre-load Red Hat Linux onto its extensive range of PowerPC servers.

The SUSE tie-up coincides with confirmation of the signing of a definitive agreement with IBM in connection with IBM’s previously announced $50m investment in Novell, that was revealed in conjunction with Novell’s SUSE LINUX acquisition in November last year.

Together, these movements will reinforce the growing maturity of Linux in the enterprise space and are likely to boost the overall acceptability of the open source platform in the eyes of the market. It also set things up for a battle royal between SUSE and Red Hat on the operating system side and similar face-off between IBM and HP on the server platform arena.

Although it has been a good coupe of weeks for Linux, one should not lose sight of the fact that the existing proprietary Unix operating systems, Microsoft’s server offerings and the other "conventional" server platforms still hold sway in major sections of the IT infrastructure where their inimitable qualities are still valued.

Linux is an offering well suited to deployment in many scenarios but it is not the best solution in every situation. The incumbent platforms are not yet ready to fade away and we are now poised for a period when new equilibriums will be established.

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