The alliance elevates the Linux prospects of two companies striving to deal with larger or better-known competitors. San Francisco-based Penguin Computing plays second fiddle to Linux specialist VA Linux Systems, and Penguin Computing and Bull both face competition from big-name companies such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Compaq Computer and Dell Computer.
The deal gives Bull access to Internet servers such as Penguin Computing's Relion line of rack-mountable models.
The investment from Bull, an undisclosed sum, will help Penguin expand into the European market, the company said.
"Bull is an ideal European partner for Penguin Computing because Bull has the organizational strengths and expertise necessary to provide the ongoing Linux support and training that (European customers) require," Penguin Computing chief executive Sam Ockman said in a statement.
Bull, based in Paris, began offering Linux services two years ago, Gerard Roucairol, vice president of research and development, said in a statement. Services offerings currently include consulting, phone support and integration of software with computers. The company had revenue of $3.26 billion (3.8 billion euros) in 1999.