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TurboLinux boosts software support

TurboLinux, one of the major sellers of the Linux operating system, has inked a raft of deals to bolster its new software and to help its push in the United States.

TurboLinux, one of the major sellers of the Linux operating system, has inked a raft of deals to bolster its new software and to help its push in the United States.

In one deal, Linuxcare will provide round-the-clock technical support for TurboLinux. The deal marks a very different strategy from that of TurboLinux rival Red Hat, which provides its own technical support and plans to make that a big part of its revenue stream. Red Hat, which held a very successful initial public offering in August, is, so far, the leader of the commercial Linux sellers.

Linuxcare already provides technical support for Linux products from Dell Computer, IBM, and Sun Microsystems.

TurboLinux's other moves back up its "clustering" software, called TurboCluster, aimed at Internet service providers and others who need large numbers of server computers. As previously reported, the software allows people to join together many computers to handle network tasks such as serving up Web pages or delivering email.

In the clustering deals, GigaNet will help TurboLinux develop a single interface that can control lots of Linux computers joined together. Another company, Compaq Computer, will let developers try out TurboLinux software. Cubix will sell groups of servers with the clustering software.

And in the latest example of its strategy to benefit from the arrival of Linux, Santa Cruz Operation will offer professional services for the TurboCluster product.

The deals come on the heels of other backing for TurboLinux. Two weeks ago, Intel, Broadview, and August Capital invested in the company. TurboLinux has its Linux stronghold in Japan and is spreading to China and the United States.

SCO sells Unix software that's a cousin to Linux, and many observers say the company is threatened by the arrival of the lower-cost operating system. SCO, though, argues it's alive and well, pointing to its rising stock price and the opinion that Linux has made it easier to compete against Microsoft's widespread operating system products.

Whatever the effect, SCO has opted to try to benefit from the Linux craze by offering professional services to companies wanting to use Linux and investing in LinuxMall, a Linux information and software sales Web site.

Several other Linux deals are in the pipeline, said SCO's Mike Orr, senior vice president of marketing. "We have similar discussions going on, but none are ready to announce yet," Orr said.

TurboLinux will offer SCO's services to help use the TurboCluster product, in return for which SCO will deliver support services tailored for it, Orr said. No money is changing hands in the deal with TurboLinux, Orr said.