US Linux vendor Caldera has signed Interquad as its first UK distributor, and will now set about recruiting and training resellers. Caldera has also signed an Irish company to provide a technical support hotline for its customers.
According to Sean Fane, general manager at Interquad, Linux fits into the distributor's strategy of specialising in products involved in remote application deployment. Interquad wants to repeat its success introducing Citrix to the channel, he said.
Resellers won't make money from product margin, but "they have learned that the real opportunity is in developing a strong services business", Fane said.
Steve Boniwell, technical director at ABC Workstations, said that corporate customers in the UK are starting to replace NT server with Linux, but Linux will not be used on the desktop until more and better applications are available.
John Adams, managing director at Linux reseller Mintra, said: "There's more money to be made installing Linux machines than NT. The money we would normally pay Microsoft goes in my pocket."
But any extra margin VARs made could be offset by having to provide more costly support than with Microsoft products, said Boniwell. "ABC is looking at developing revenue streams from Linux," he said.
Richard Wiltbank, European director at Caldera, said the server market is where Linux will make most headway. "Linux is changing from a product for enthusiasts to a serious business tool," he said. Caldera is looking for resellers that can provide network integration, services and support.
Beside some technical advantages, Linux also highlights the value of services and support, Boniwell said. "NT clients always complain about having to pay for services," he said.
Adams claimed Caldera has more chance of building a channel with Interquad than Red Hat will have using Computer 2000 and Ingram Micro.
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