Support deal boosts Red Hat, Compaq partnership

Red Hat established a little more credibility among corporate accounts for Linux yesterday, signing a deal to provide technical support for Compaq's enterprise users.

Under the terms of the agreement, Compaq's Customer Services group will present the more difficult support issues to Red Hat's support organisation. As Compaq makes changes to Linux during support efforts, Red Hat will test those changes and make them available in future versions of the operating system.

Red Hat will also distribute those changes, making them available to the open-source community under the General Public License.

Red Hat officials are holding up the deal as a shining example of how major players, such as Compaq and Red Hat, can work together effectively to show off the benefits of Linux and open-source development to corporate accounts.

Earlier this year, Red Hat and Compaq signed a partnership agreement that included an equity investment as well as joint marketing, development and certification efforts to strengthen Linux compatibility with Compaq's Tru64 Unix operating system and Alpha-based servers.

Compaq plans to roll out a suite of services specifically aimed at Red Hat Linux later this year, according to Compaq officials.

The new deal puts in place "a key building block" on which Compaq can support its users deploying Red Hat Linux in Internet and technical computing applications, said Peter Mercury, vice president of Compaq's Customer Services in the US.

Officials from both companies said the deal should also cut down on the finger-pointing problems users typically encounter when working with both a hardware and software company to pull together a single solution.

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