Red Hat, IBM strike Linux deal

IBM and Red Hat Software have struck a deal to offer Red Hat's version of the Linux operating system with IBM servers and PCs, Red Hat officials said yesterday.

The companies said the combined platform will provide customers with powerful systems for running electronic commerce and other enterprise applications.

IBM and Red Hat plan to open a development lab to optimise Official Red Hat Linux for IBM's Netfinity servers, PC 300 commercial desktops, IntelliStation workstations, and ThinkPad notebooks, Red Hat officials said. The systems will be delivered through IBM resellers and other IBM business partners.

Last month, Hewlett-Packard officials said it will offer integration and support services to customers using Red Hat Linux, and also announced plans to develop a version of Linux for future servers based on Intel's upcoming 64-bit Merced processor.

IBM and Red Hat will jointly market the Linux systems to enterprise customers. Red Hat will also perform hardware certification testing and provide dedicated customer training, Red Hat officials said. To demonstrate the strength of the platform, Red Hat said it will use IBM Netfinity servers to power several of its high-traffic Web sites.

IBM said its customers have been asking it to provide Linux systems. It was not immediately clear when the first IBM Red Hat Linux systems will be available.

Linux is an open source operating system with similarities to Unix. Open source means that the underlying source code is made freely available and can be modified by users to suit their needs. Red Hat makes money by selling Linux along with various support services, and is the most well-known Linux distributor in the US.

According to IDC, Linux was the fastest-growing server operating environment in 1998, capturing more than 17 per cent of all server operating system shipments.

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