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IBM gets closer to Linux partners, if that’s possible

Dec 21, 20052 mins
Enterprise ApplicationsIBMLinux

* IBM cozies up with Red Hat and Novell for the full Linux experience

As if it were not committed to Linux enough already, IBM last week elevated its relationships with two key Linux vendors to the highest level of partnership status that Big Blue offers.

Red Hat and Novell (which produces the SuSE Linux operating system) are now part of IBM’s strategic Alliance Program, joining the likes of Cisco, Microsoft and SAP. The deal will involve a tighter relationship in terms of development, sales, channel support and technical support of Red Hat and SuSE Linux operating systems. IBM is already moving in this direction in North America and will roll out worldwide efforts along these fronts in the New Year.

The move is aimed at tying Linux closer to IBM hardware – a connection that some Linux users have said needs to be tighter, mimicking the packaged support and maintenance contracts users of IBM AIX and OS390 software get when buying IBM servers. Despite close relationships in the past, users have said it can be a burden to manage Red Hat and Novell Linux subscriptions in conjunction with separate support contracts for IBM server hardware and professional services offered by the respective companies. Customers can now buy all of this from IBM.

IBM will also work closely with Red Hat and Novell to expand the development of other open-source platforms, such as the Apache Geronimo application server platform, which competes on some levels with IBM’s lower-level WebSphere offerings. (IBM itself has its own version of Geronimo it gives away, called WebSphere Community Edition.)