Dell to install Red Hat Linux on servers

Red Hat Software's joint announcement with Dell adds little to earlier deals between both companies, analysts say, but investors were impressed enough to send Red Hat stock soaring to new highs.

Dell will factory-install Red Hat Linux on all current and future server models, expanding earlier commitments to the platform. As part of the worldwide agreement, the servers will come with 90 days of technical support from Red Hat.

Red Hat stock, which has seen an impressive run-up in recent weeks, rose strongly on the news, ending the day at $US232.125 per share, up $31.125.

"If Novell and Dell had announced [a similar pre-installing deal] with NetWare 5.1, would anyone have looked up?" said Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at IDC. "Probably not." He said Dell is and remains operating-system agnostic.

A Dell spokesman said the company has seen shipments of Linux servers double from the second to third quarters but added that total sales numbers are still "not enormous" compared with other operating systems.

Kusnetzky said the service part of the agreement is helpful to Red Hat. The Linux company is unlikely to receive more than a token amount from Dell for bundling the open-source software, he said, whereas Linux services are a more lucrative opportunity.

Previously, 90-day support for Dell's Linux workstations and servers was delivered by Linuxcare in San Francisco. Linuxcare chief technology officer David Sifry said Linuxcare will continue to deliver the support for Dell's desktops running Linux and Dell server buyers can still elect to have their 90-day support delivered by Linuxcare.

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