Novell, Hewlett-Packard Push SUSE Linux for Schools
Somewhat buried in a press release today, Hewlett-Packard announced a new desktop Linux PC as well as an ongoing effort with Novell to push desktop Linux into schools. Will solutions providers move Novell’s SUSE Linux to the head of the class? Here’s the scoop from The VAR Guy.
First, the pure hardware news: The HP Compaq dc5850 desktop PC, slated to launch December 15 in North America at a U.S. street price of $519, will come with Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop preinstalled. That’s a nice start, but the Novell-HP desktop Linux work doesn’t end there.
According to the press release:
“For education customers, HP is working with Novell to develop and maintain a repository of more than 40 applications, including math, art and word games, to improve student learning. In addition, applications for school administration and instruction will be available for teachers and administrators.”
Another nice start, Novell. But The VAR Guy wants names: If Novell starts promoting specific vertical market applications for K-12 schools and colleges, the move could help to generate more customer and channel partner pull for SUSE Linux.
In the meantime, Novell deserves some credit on two fronts. First, the company hasn’t bowed to Ubuntu Linux, widely considered the most popular mainstream consumer Linux desktop distribution. In addition to the HP desktop win, Novell SUSE Linux also is available for Lenovo’s ideaPad Netbooks, which target students.
Second, Novell’s internal marketing and product managers are going viral with company news. That’s quite a change from Novell’s old corporate DNA. A decade ago, Novell’s PR team spent far too much time shielding the press from Novell managers. But these days, Novell insiders are finally lowering their guard, leapfrogging PR and reaching out directly to the IT media — and even anonymous bloggers like The VAR Guy.
It’s a calculated risk: Portions of the blogosphere tend to slam Novell regardless of the company’s message. But in the case of promoting Linux news, Novell is wise to open its mouth more regularly.