IBM and Linux distributors going Microsoft-free

IBM joins up with Canonical, Novell and Red Hat to offer Linux-based business desktops worldwide

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By  Mark Sutton Published  August 7, 2008

IBM has announced that it will join up with Linux distributors Canonical, Novell and Red Hat to offer ‘Microsoft-free' desktop computers on a worldwide basis.

The alliance intends to offer Linux-based PCs running open source IBM applications to businesses and public sector organizations, to provide complete desktop solutions. Hardware vendor Lenovo is also reported to be in talks to join the alliance.

The move is an open challenge to what IBM describes Microsoft's "costly" Windows and Office passed computing.

Speaking at the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco this week, Kevin Cavanaugh, vice president for IBM Lotus Software said: "The slow adoption of Vista among businesses and budget-conscious CIOs, coupled with the proven success of a new type of Microsoft-free PC in every region, provides an extraordinary window of opportunity for Linux. We'll work to unlock the desktop to save our customers money and give freedom of choice by offering this industry-leading solution."

The desktop PCs will have Linux preinstalled along with IBM's Open Collaboration Client Solution (OCCS), which includes Lotus Notes, Lotus Symphony, a free office suite and Lotus Sametime instant messaging and web collaboration solutions.

The four vendors will then work with local channel partners to tailor the desktops to the need of customers in different vertical sectors, including software development with local ISVs using Lotus Expeditor universal desktop client integration framework.

The new agreement builds on previous success IBM has had in providing Linux desktops to organizations in Eastern Europe, where the company reports a particularly strong response from companies in Russia. Austria-based partner VDEL reports that is has provided desktops to the Russian postal service and to hotel chain Rushotel saving 30-35% of the cost Microsoft equivalent systems.

Milan Prohaska, general manager of VDEL commented: "IBM software and Linux on desktop combined is not just a better price/performance substitute for the Microsoft offering, but it provides a new platform for customers and business partners to add true value by creating tailor-made solutions."

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