Novell has signed an agreement to deliver 1,600 Linux powered desktop computers to high schools in the state of Indiana.
Officials in Indiana intend eventually to supply Linux computers to all of the state's high schools, offering 300,000 students experience in working with Linux on the desktop.
While the final contract for the larger deal has not yet been signed, Novell believes it is in with a good shot, David Patrick, vice president of open source platforms at the company, told vnunet.com.
"[The deal] is not exclusive, but we have been able to capture the largest chunk of the business with the idea that if we are successful, we will get the whole deployment," he said.
Novell also unveiled a deal with US retailer RitzCamera in which the equipment dealer will adopt Linux desktops across its organisation including cash registers. Ritz has 10,000 employees.
The prospect of Linux on the desktop has been bleak, especially in the developed world. The software lacks functionality and has trouble competing in a market where everybody is used to Windows.
Although the new deals prove that Linux is gaining share on the desktop, Patrick explained that they also underscore the notion that the software will be used primarily for transaction oriented installations such as cash registers, or large groups of computers that have identical requirements such as at schools.
Novell does not expect that this situation will change at least until the launch of the next version of its SuSE Linux operating system next year.
Until then Novell is going to remain focused on enterprise servers, according to Patrick. "For us the Linux desktop is still the long road," he said.
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