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Oracle turns the screws in Red Hat switcheroo

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Oracle has spiced up its offer of low-priced support for Red Hat Linux users with the addition of systems management software.

The software giant is targeting users of Red Hat running its applications and middleware with an updated version of Oracle Enterprise Manager 10g that's available for free.

Oracle's new Management Pack for Linux allows for the provisioning of hardware servers, and provides a suite of patching, provisioning and managing capabilities. The pack is available for free to "basic" and "premier" members of Oracle's Unbreakable Linux Network (ULN), launched in a blaze of publicity last October.

It remains to be seen just how far Oracle can tempt Red Hat users into switching to an unproven and a - reportedly - unreliable Linux support network.

Meanwhile, Microsoft and Novell have announced Wal-Mart, the world's largest and possibly least popular retailer, has become the latest company to swallow their joint Linux sales pitch.

Wal-Mart is already a significant user of Microsoft products, so was a prime target for a Microsoft hoping to leverage its deal with Novell to shoo-in SuSE and stymie Red Hat. Under its deal with Novell, Microsoft has agreed to sell 70,000 SuSE subscriptions doing what Novell has fared so badly at: sell SuSE Linux.

Details of the size of the Wal-Mart deployment were not provided and the companies preferred to couch today's news in terms of "interoperability" between Windows and Linux, and IP protection.

No mention was made of the fact Microsoft's current chief operation officer Kevin Turner was previously president and chief executive of Wal-Mart's Sams Club, a factor that might have helped swing the deal in the two companies' favor. It was Turner that Novell chief executive Ron Hovsepian first contacted at Microsoft last year, to suggest a deal. ®

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