Novell started its Linux Champions Club for Asia-Pacific in July, and IBM is the first company to sign up for the programme.
The Champions Club has been running for a year in Europe, where it has around 3,000 members, according to Novell. The Club aims to build a community of Linux advocates among Novell’s partners and to create a Linux-friendly ecosystem in Asia Pacific.
A lot of IBM’s key software products run on the Linux platform, and belonging to the Club helps IBM access information quicker, says Kevin Wilson, IBM’s ANZ Linux business development executive.
“Across Australia and New Zealand, IBM has seen increased interest from our clients in reassessing their desktop and server strategies with a specific interest in Linux,” says Wilson. “It is important that our clients are receiving similar levels of support on Linux as they would on Windows or any other IBM software supported platform.”
The programme will give IBM access to Novell and Linux experts and regular technical updates, he says, and it will help IBM achieve Linux certifications.
Linux is also widely used on desktops within IBM around the globe, Wilson says.
Many customers have a perception that a Linux ecosystem does not exist in the Asia Pacific IT community, says Novell’s Asia Pacific vice president of strategic alliances and partners, Masanobu Hirano. “This is not true and the Novell Linux Champions Club aims to formalise this ecosystem,” he says.
Members of the Club will have access to Novell’s SUSE Linux software, supporting materials, consulting and engineering expertise from across Asia Pacific and Germany — the home of SUSE Linux, says Hirano. Members will receive regular technical updates, notice of training boot camps, joint workshops or product briefings, he says. Novell will also provide support for members who seek Linux certifications.
In February this year IBM announced software called the Open Client Offering, which is the Linux alternative to the standard operating environment, says Wilson.
The software, which combines Lotus Notes, Sametime, WebSphere, a special version of the open source OpenOffice.org software suite, and Lotus Expeditor, grew out of an attempt to move many of IBM’s own PCs to Linux in 2004, reports ZDNet.