Hewlett-Packard (HP) has forecast a bright future for its Linux channel strategy, but has labelled two of Linux's main distributors "channel-unfriendly".
Judy Chavis, director of worldwide Linux industry standard servers at HP, said the firm sees the operating system (OS) as another services opportunity.
"As far as HP is concerned we have three OSs: UX, NT and Linux. The latter is coming into wider acceptance with independent software vendors and OEMs," she said.
"We have lots of partnerships with the likes of Red Hat and SCO, and we have been trying to involve VARs for a long time. But when you look at companies such as Red Hat or SuSE they are not channel friendly."
Chavis said the majority of customers using Linux are enterprise customers and are dealt with directly.
"That might be the reason why Linux has not taken off in the SME space," she said. "However, HP is committed to Linux. It is core to our business and it runs in the blood of all our product groups."
Jasmin Ul-Haque, commercial director at SuSE Linux, said the firm is working more closely with VARs than ever before.
"Obviously we do still sell some direct, but we are building our channel. One of our main problems has been engaging with business partners and many still don't have enough Linux skills to be able to support customers as competently as desired," she said.
SuSE has a number of channel programmes in place designed to facilitate channel training, Ul-Haque said.
"But until now resellers have not seen enough demand to invest time and effort in Linux," she added.
Mark de Visser, vice-president for marketing at Red Hat, said: "We work intensely with vendors such as HP, but until recently we were vigorous competitors as well.
"Red Hat's value proposition is an enterprise-quality Linux platform, sold both directly and through the channel, that has support from the open-source community as well as the major software application vendors."
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