Alstom IT has been chosen to distribute Red Hat's Linux software alongside existing supplier, Ingram Micro.
General manager, Greg Newham, said Alstom would look to bundle the new addition with its existing range of IBM, Oracle and Sun software.
"From our point of view, Red Hat products are an ideal product inside our portfolio because of what we don't distribute: Microsoft, for example," he said. "We want to show the benefits of Red Hat over Microsoft."
Newham said the distributor expected the software to become an important part of its business in the next five years. He forecast most of the growth would come from its existing reseller base.
"This is the most significant product we have added for a number of years in terms of where we expect it to go," he said.
Red Hat director of partners and alliances, David Ramsay, said it had decided to take on a second distributor to advance partner sales. Alstom had been the most suitable choice because of its robust relationships with key open source supporters including Sun, IBM and Oracle, he said.
"We're enthusiastic to work with a company which has a partner community with the three major Linux players," he said.
The vendor would continue to work with existing distributor, Ingram Micro, as both targeted different market segments, Ramsay said.
"Ingram provides access through to the hardware guys with the IBM and HP teams there and we work closely with them on the OEM business," he said. "Alstom plugs into the software space. So we see the two as very complementary."
Both Newham and Ramsay said they would initially focus on educating the market about Red Hat, as well as enabling the channel to skill up on the software platform.