Red Hat Expands Compaq Relationship

Building upon a development and marketing agreement struck earlier this year, Wall Street sensation Red Hat Software, Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT) and Compaq Computer Corp. (NYSE: CPQ) are partnering on enterprise-level user support for Linux in the corporate market.

Under the terms of the new agreement, Compaq will offer international enterprise users call center support for Red Hat’s distribution of the Linux OS through its Customer Services organization. More advanced issues, however, will be forwarded to Red Hat’s services and support structure.

Customization and Collaboration

Compaq will also be involved, with the assistance of its clientele, in customizing the Red Hat package through the support process. Red Hat will examine subsequent modifications for possible inclusion in future versions of its OS.

Modifications that Compaq makes to Red Hat Linux will then be made freely available to the open-source software community under the GNU General Public License (GPL). Programmer collaboration is what helped Linus Torvalds turn his version of UNIX into the full operating system that is now a viable and freely available alternative to Microsoft Windows.

“Compaq and its customers — some of the most innovative users in the world — will be contributing to the growth and development of Linux-based operating systems under the open source model,” added Young. “This is a perfect example of how commitments to open source by major software and hardware vendors like Compaq and Red Hat can further propel the benefits of Linux-based operating systems to enterprise organizations worldwide.”

Building On An Earlier Agreement

This latest move builds upon a previous agreement between the two companies involving enhanced compatibility between Compaq Tru64 UNIX and the Red Hat Linux OS package. The earlier deal also made available additional Linux-ready platforms — certified via Red Hat Linux — for selected Compaq Deskpro systems, along with AP, SP, and XP professional workstations.

The technological side of the previous agreement involved making Linux support available for Compaq’s AlphaServer series, and its Intel-driven ProLiant and Prosignia servers, along with the XP1000 professional workstation.

On the marketing front, the previous agreement set in motion initiatives involving Compaq’s ActiveAnswers and Red Hat’s Kick Start programs, and focused on training for the Compaq sales force and channel partners; documentation and tools to improve serviceability, performance and ease of installation; andcustomer-focused activities such as seminars, trade shows and the ever-popular telemarketing.

The partnership history between the two companies also includes an equity investment completed earlier this year by Compaq. Neither company disclosed financial terms of the latest agreement.

About Red Hat

Founded in 1994, Durham, North Carolina-based Red Hat, Inc. sells Linux-based OS packages and bundles support and services for its customers. The company, which has established strategic partnerships with such industry mainstays as Computer Associates, Dell, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Novell and Oracle, offered an initial public offering (IPO) of its common stock in August that brought in close to $5 billion (US$).

Red Hat has recently made version 6.1 of its open-source OS package publicly available through its Web site. The updated release, which focuses on ease-of-use and installation features, is aimed at pushing business-level Linux adoption.

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