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SuSE poised to sign Sun and HP to desktop deals

SuSE Linux is close to wrapping up deals with Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard to bundle its version of the open-source operating system on select client and server systems from Sun and on HP's lower-end servers.

Sources said Sun will bundle SuSE Linux 8.2 with its lower-end Intel-based desktops and servers, while HP will bundle it with several of its low and mid-range servers.

The two deals figure to help the German-based company, now number two among Linux distributors, to gain some ground on market leader Red Hat.

SuSE has been gathering some momentum in the Linux-based desktop market of late, landing a couple of sizeable deals including a contract to supply the city of Munich with 14,000 copies of its version of the operating system, throwing out Windows in the process.

With the upcoming bundling deals, SuSe relationship with Sun appears to be strengthening. Earlier this month SuSE rolled out its SuSE Linux Desktop aimed specifically at enterprise desktop users, which is bundled with Sun Microsystems' StarOffice 6.0 and OpenOffice.org 1.0.2.

SuSE president and CEO Richard Seibt said that while servers would continue to account for the majority of his company's sales, he will continue to push his company's desktop applications aggressively.

"While the server business will remain most important to us, we think the desktop business will be much larger for us over the next 24 months than it is now. We think it could become 30% of our business," Richard Seibt said.

SuSE officials declined to comment on any talks with either Sun or HP.

Ed Scannell writes for InfoWorld


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