Novell has signed agreements with IBM and HP to expand support for its Suse Linux operating system on their servers and PCs, respectively.
IBM could now preload Suse Linux Enterprise Server across its full range of servers, including eServer iSeries, pSeries, xSeries and zSeries, and its eServer BladeCenter systems, Novell said. It would continue its development and support of Suse Linux on IBM's servers.
Previously, IBM was able to provide Suse Linux on a CD along with its servers, but was not allowed to preload the operating system, IBM spokesperson, Mike Darcy, said.
IBM works with both Red Hat's Linux and Novell's Suse Linux, IBM's vice-president of Linux strategy and market development, said Scott Handy, said.
If a customer decides to use Linux, IBM will provide them with the free operating system from Red Hat or Novell's Suse Linux, depending on what the customer wants.
"We are distribution agnostic, and we leave it to the customer to decide, Handy said. "They choose one or other for a variety of reasons."
A customer using an IBM server running Suse Linux could license the software through IBM, a reseller or directly from Novell, Handy said.
HP has announced plans to begin certifying and supporting a desktop version of Novell's Suse Linux software, called Suse Linux Professional, by the second half of the year.
The company already supports Suse Linux on its server products, and, in certain regions, sells desktop systems with Linux from a variety of Linux vendors, including MandrakeSoft and Turbolinux.
Under the terms of the new agreement, however, Suse Linux will become HP's standard worldwide Linux distribution across its line of business desktop and notebook PCs.
The arrangement would make the Linux desktop more appealing for enterprise customers, some of whom had begun asking about Linux on the desktop, HP's vice-president for Linux, said.
Fink declined to say whether HP's Linux desktop offerings would cost less than its Windows products, because pricing would ultimately depend on how exactly HP chose to support the Suse Linux.
"There are a variety of different ways we can deliver this," Fink said.
Service for the desktop could be provided by either Novell or by HP, for example, and the Linux desktop could even be available as one of HP's managed desktop services, he said.
Novell bought Suse Linux in November 2003 for $US210 million in cash.
At the same time as Novell announced its acquisition of Suse, it also announced that IBM planned to make a $US50 million investment in Novell convertible preferred stock.
The two companies had finally signed a definitive agreement on this, Novell said.
IBM will buy Novell Series B convertible preferred shares that were convertible into 8 million shares of Novell common stock for $US6.25 each, Novell said.