Sun, SuSE form Linux pact

Customers of Sun Microsystems Inc. who are interested in the Linux operating system will soon be able to choose between two leading suppliers of the open source software.

Continuing its strategy to partner with Linux vendors, Sun has struck a deal to incorporate SuSE Linux AG’s version of the operating system on its servers running x86 chips from Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., SuSE said Thursday in a statement.

The deal with SuSE follows an earlier agreement for Sun to sell and support all three Enterprise Linux operating systems offered by SuSE rival Red Hat Inc.

Both deals come as no surprise after Sun, which largely failed to establish its own customized version of Linux in the market, said in March that it would seek distribution arrangements with two to three well-known Linux distributors.

Under the deal with SuSE, Sun will sell and provide full customer support for SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 on its x86 systems, according to the statement. SuSE will help Sun with customer support, SuSE spokesperson Christian Egle said.

Linux software from SuSE will be available on Sun systems in the third quarter, he said.

“This is an important OEM (original equipment manufacturer) deal that will give Sun customers greater choice,” Egle said.

Asked if customers should be concerned about the copyright infringement claims raised by The SCO Group Inc. and its threats of legal action against Linux users, the SuSE spokesperson said the company believes the dispute shouldn’t have an impact on customers.

As part of the agreement, SuSE will also receive a license to distribute Sun’s Java Virtual Machine software across its Linux Enterprise Server product suite, according to the statement. This software allows programs written in the Java language to run on any operating system.

Although Sun seemed at one time to have pulled the plug on its own Linux distribution, the company hasn’t entirely abandoned its “do-it-yourself” Linux strategy: In its forthcoming bundle of desktop software, code-named Mad Hatter, the included Linux operating software will be Sun’s own, a Sun executive said earlier this week.