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IBM and Novell have launched a program to accelerate the development and certification of Novell's SUSE Linux on IBM's eServer and middleware platforms. IBM hopes the scheme will help double the number of Linux apps independent developers make for its servers within the next two years.

The scheme will give independent software developers access to the technical resources and tools available at nine IBM Innovation Centers in North America (San Mateo, California; Waltham, Massachussets and Chicago, Illinois), Europe (Hursley, UK; Paris, France and Stuttgart, Germany), Sydney, Australia and Asia (Bangalore, India and Shanghai, China).

Novell will dispense copies of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and supporting documentation for software developers, and make it easier for them to join Novell's Technology Partner Program by setting up on-site registration at IBM's centres. IBM, in turn, will offer ISVs "consulting support and technical expertise" to help them migrate, develop and implement their applications for SUSE Linux on IBM platforms. Both companies said the scheme recognised the transition of Linux from a niche operating system to a mainstream platform for business applications.

Buell Duncan, IBM's general manager of ISV and Developer Relations, said that 2,000 of 6,000 Linux app for IBM platforms have come from ISVs. "IBM has a goal to double that number in the next two years," he said. ®

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