Fujitsu Siemens has boosted its technical support and consulting services for customers using Linux, through a deal with services company Linuxcare.
The companies will collaborate on consulting for open-source projects, and provide multilingual technical support for customers and partners in many countries.
As part of the alliance, the pair will offer driver development and application porting services for Fujitsu Siemens Computers servers and workstations. Linuxcare will also provide project support for Fujitsu Siemens' customers and partners for optimisation of Linux on Intel's forthcoming 64bit microprocessor platform, Itanium.
Joseph Reger, vice president of strategic marketing at Fujitsu Siemens, said: "Our customers will benefit from Linuxcare's extensive knowledge and experience, and their ability to support projects regardless of which Linux distribution they are using."
Barry Cochrane, Linuxcare's UK country manger, said that the alliance with Fujitsu Siemens goes further than its support contracts with other manufacturers, such as IBM, because it involves Linuxcare working directly with the vendor's partners and customers.
"IT directors in large companies need somewhere to go for pro-active support if Linux is to take off. We will provide a full service-level agreement that will cover things such as support times," said Cochrane, who added that the company would also provide risk analysis for vendors deciding whether or not they can trust putting mission-critical applications on Linux.
Chris Martin, an analyst at Xephon, said Linux support has been a concern but user confidence is now growing, particularly because of the investment and resources IBM has put into developing the operating system.
"This is a sign that another big player in the server market is putting its weight behind Linux. With hardware vendor support will come more applications and then the whole thing will snowball," said Martin.
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