Dell joins Novell / Microsoft Linux pact

Written by Brett Thomas

May 7, 2007 // 3:24 p.m.

Tags: #dell #microsoft #novell #open-source #suse #ubuntu

I'm sure many of you remember the famed "Deal with the Devil," where Novell partnered with Microsoft for a "technology exchange" (amongst other things). The deal was meant (at least publicly) to emphasise Microsoft's new commitment to interoperability with open-source products, including Novell's popular SUSE Linux. For those unfamiliar, SUSE is a pretty popular distro nowadays, particularly for server architecture - which is why it would sometimes have problems with all of the Windows based desktops connected to it.

Well, Novell now has another hand to shake - Dell, the world's leading computer manufacturer, has just entered the deal. This marks the first large-scale manufacturer to enter the collaboration, a move that may trigger other top-end server vendors like HP to follow suit. To not do so in the face of a competitor already getting the first press would make other server giants look like they have lacklustre support for what has become a renewed passion in the tech world - a love for Linux.

Dell will kick off the deal by offering SUSE as its premier choice for enterprise server clients. Though the Texas company has previously offered SUSE as an install option, it was actually more expensive than Microsoft's Server 2003 OS and Dell never really offered support. To correct this, Dell has now begun to purchase certificates through Novell directly, which will offer its end users a wealth of resources along with the OS pre-installed.

On top of the certificate purchase, Dell has pledged a large marketing swing to promote SUSE to enterprise server clients that are not already using the OS. This will also include migration assistance to users, to help them get familiar with the changes and get their systems up and running quickly. One can only hope that this tech support is better than the support that the company is becoming infamous for in the home and small office realms...

It seems like Dell is really embracing this swing towards open source, with its recent choice for Ubuntu on desktops and now a public pledge with Novell. About the only question that remains is, what does this mean for Microsoft's presence? The server industry in particular has been steadily losing patience with Redmond since the decline of Windows Server 2000...could we be seeing the company taking a long bow out of the market?

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