HP to offer 24-hour Linux support

Hewlett-Packard is throwing its considerable weight in the services arena squarely behind Linux, announcing full support and services for the ever-popular open source OS as of May 3.

As the last leg of a three-pronged push behind Linux, HP is adding worldwide 24-hour support to its Linux-ready line of hardware and software. HP will leverage its extensive existing services and support infrastructure to serve the burgeoning user-base of Linux.

"Our view of Linux is pragmatic but very optimistic," said Wayne Caccamo, director of HP's open source solutions organisation. "The question is what market Linux will dominate."

Included in the new services package is support for all major Linux distributions, including Red Hat, Caldera, Suse and Pacific Hi-tech. For a base fee per server per month, users will gain unlimited phone-in and electronic call submittal access with a commitment of a two-hour response time. HP is also providing free access to Linux information on its Web site.

"We're calling it open support for open source," said Kristy Ward, HP's Linux support marketing manager.

HP's interest and support of Linux is, not surprisingly, not as altruistic as the open source movement itself. The company feels that Linux levels the playing field in the development arena and can be used as a strategic advantage against arch rival Sun Microsystems.

"There are a couple of areas that it makes sense for HP to make Linux a strategic direction," said Caccamo. "Sun, for example, has no Intel solution, and they cannot respond to an HP/Linux server. So relative to Sun, there is a strong incentive for HP to hit certain market spaces that Sun is not able to."

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