Queensland distributor Manaccom has scored a deal with Red Hat to bring its Linux 7.1 products to a wider range of resellers in Australia.
The distribution agreement is aimed at both corporate and retail markets, but Red Hat is hopeful Manaccom will be able to draw on its strength in retail distribution to build the Linux brand in the consumer sector.
"Corporate demand for the Red Hat Linux operating system is surging," said Manaccom business development manager James Mackay. "But while we know corporate demand is growing, we think that retail demand just hasn't been nurtured properly and we will be doing our best to pick things up there.
"We hope to implement the same strategies - visibility, availability, market penetration, and reseller support - as we did to make PC-cillin the fastest growing antivirus in Australia."
Although Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik indicated late last month that Red Hat would shift its focus from retail box sales of its operating system to developing closer ties with its business customers, the Australian focus is still very much on building its retail presence.
"I think it has to do with the relative maturity of the different markets," said Red Hat sales director for Asia Pacific, Chris Sharp. "North America has long been serviced by a retail channel. We are not scaling back - we are just not signing up new distributors. It can end up so that people are competing with each other which isn't good for the channel.
"In the South Asian market, we are trying to make sure Red Hat product is available to our users where they need it."
Red Hat's product range includes Deluxe Workstation, Professional Server and the official Red Hat Linux 7.1.
It is the second large distribution deal this year for the Manaccom - in April the company signed with US-based Software Abroad to republish and distribute titles throughout Australia in return for the distribution of Manaccom titles throughout the US, Europe and the UK. The company joins the likes of ACA Pacific in the distribution of Red Hat software.
Mackay believes the deal will allow resellers to source the software through a broader channel.
"Linux is experiencing strong growth in the market and as Red Hat is the market leader, it makes perfect sense to broaden our range of products to include it," he said.
Manaccom will also work to build the Red Hat brand amongst consumers.