Linuxcare will provide technical support for the use of Linux by partners in the Compaq Solution Alliance, a group of companies that provide software for Compaq computers based on either Intel chips or Compaq's own Alpha chips.
Under the deal, Linuxcare will provide technical and engineering support for those who need help with the upstart, open-source operating system. In essence, Linuxcare will help software companies revamp their programs so they works on Linux. Because Linux is a clone of the well-established Unix operating system, that revamping often isn't terribly difficult.
Linux competes with Windows as well as Unix, but often is a less-expensive alternative because it can be obtained for free or very low cost. However, its relatively recent arrival into the mainstream computing community has led to some caution in adopting it.
The increasing popularity of Linux has helped boost several initial public offerings, and Linuxcare itself has an IPO planned. Other Linux companies often make money by selling products such as boxed software or Linux computers, but Linuxcare is selling only services such as technical support, training and customization.
Linuxcare's chief competitors in the services business are Red Hat, VA Linux Systems, the Santa Cruz Operation and IBM. However, Andover.Net also is hoping to make more money through its own services business, announced today.
Compaq is particularly fond of Linux as a way to improve the business prospects of its Alpha-based computers. The 64-bit Alpha enable a computer to perform mathematical calculations faster, hold more memory and use vastly larger databases of information.