Sun has struck a deal to incorporate SuSE Linux's version of the operating system on its servers running x86 chips from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.
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.
Both deals come as no surprise after Sun, which largely failed to establish its own customised 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. SuSE will help Sun with customer support, SuSE spokesman Christian Egle said.
Linux software from SuSE will be available on Sun systems in the third quarter.
"This is an important 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 and its threats of legal action against Linux users, the SuSE spokesman said the company believes the dispute should not have an impact on customers.
As part of the agreement, SuSE will also receive a licence to distribute Sun's Java Virtual Machine software across its Linux Enterprise Server product suite. This software allows programmes 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 has not entirely abandoned its "do-it-yourself" Linux strategy.
In its forthcoming bundle of desktop software, codenamed Mad Hatter, the included Linux operating software will be Sun's.
John Blau writes for IDG News Service
This was first published in August 2003