28 March 2002 IBM and SuSE Linux have announced an alliance to provide corporate customers with Linux support and services. The deal will further raise the profile of the open source operating system and help Nuremberg, Germany-based SuSE reach larger enterprise clients, in effect turning IBM into a SuSE Linux distributor.
SuSE CEO Gerhard Burtscher stressed that it will meet the needs of the biggest corporate clients, which tend to expect a high level of support and service. Burtscher compared the pact with IBM to deals with other resellers it has signed in the past.
Under the terms of the deal, IBM is committed to supporting SuSE Linux Enterprise Server implementations from the design stage onwards across the world. SuSE will provide back-up with its own development and maintenance teams.
The new deal will also represent a stiff challenge to Red Hat, the market leader in Linux operating systems in the US.
Some multinational corporate clients, such as French telecoms equipment manufacturer Alcatel and German banking group Deutsche Bank, have said that their decisions to implement systems based on SuSE Linux were partly triggered by the SuSE/IBM pact.
Earlier in the month, SuSE released a 64-bit version of its Linux Enterprise Server 7 tailored to run on IBM’s PowerPC chip. IBM says that it spends about $1 billion (€1.14bn) a year on Linux research and development. It is in the process of launching its first ever zSeries mainframe based on Linux instead of its own OS/390.