Dell has begun to sell servers running a version of Linux Red Flag Software as part of its efforts to expand in China.
Red Flag sells versions of the Linux operating system for servers,
desktops and consumer electronics devices such as set-top boxes. The company came out of the Chinese Academy of Sciences and counts the government as an investor. Company CEO Liu Bo, a survivor of the Cultural Revolution, is a fixture in China's information technology community and worked for several years as an executive in Microsoft's Beijing office.
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Thus, Red Flag is seen as an important ally in gaining customers. In September, Hewlett-Packard signed a development and marketing deal with the company. Similarly, Oracle and IBM are working with Red Flag to bundle their respective databases with Red Flag's Linux.
Round Rock, Texas-based Dell said Thursday that it completed certification on Red Flag's version of Linux in November and will immediately begin to bundle it with select PowerEdge servers.
"Dell has committed significant engineering and development resources to Linux in direct response to customer requests for Unix alternatives. We will continue to advocate Linux for use in high-performance computing clusters and Oracle database support," said Piau Phang Foo, president of Dell China.
Although direct sales is still something of a foreign concept in China, Dell has become one of the largest multinational PC makers in the country. Right now, Dell ranks behind only Lenovo (formerly Legend) in PC shipments, according to Michael Dell.