IBM, SuSe Linux AG Win Major Linux Contract With German Government


U.S., China, Australia and Singapore governments also IBM Linux customers


IBM and Linux partner SuSe have scored a big Linux contract with the German government.

On Monday, IBM said it had signed a deal with the German Federal Ministry of the Interior to supply IBM Linux services and eServers running Linux from SuSe Linux AG, a major Linux distributor based in Nuremberg, Germany.

While IBM didn't release the value of, or the number of seats in, the deal, the contract spans federal, state and local agencies of the German government, an IBM spokeswoman said. As part of the deal, at least some end users will be migrating from Microsoft Windows to Linux, the IBM spokeswoman added.

The contract follows a global alliance signed by SuSe Linux and IBM in March to jointly provide Linux support and services to large corporate customers.

In addition to Germany, Big Blue has also signed Linux deals with the governments of China, Singapore and Australia. In the United States, IBM has won Linux contracts with several agencies including the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Federal Aviation Administration and the U.S. Department of Energy.

While IBM has a tight relationship with leading U.S. Linux distributor Red Hat, it is stepping up services with other Linux distributors--including SuSe--as of late. Last week, for example, IBM publicly backed the creation of a UnitedLinux organization and UnitedLinux distribution being pushed collectively by SuSe, Caldera, TurboLinux and Conectiva. All of those Linux vendors compete against Red Hat, which is estimated to own more than 80 percent of the total Linux market in the United States, according to Gartner.

SuSe Linux AG is known as a leading Linux distributor throughout Europe and is trying to make headway in the United States, where it recently launched a channel program.