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Linuxcare scores contract with Hewlett-Packard

The deal, in which Linuxcare will back up HP's own technical support for Linux, bolsters Linuxcare's effort to take on Red Hat and VA Linux Systems.

Linux support company Linuxcare has won a new contract with Hewlett-Packard, bolstering its effort to take on Red Hat and VA Linux Systems in helping the computer industry to use Linux.

Linuxcare will back up HP's own technical support for Linux. HP will be able to call on Linuxcare engineers around the clock and have the option to let Linuxcare take over thorny problems involving the Linux programming code itself, the companies said.

Linuxcare also has contracts to help IBM, Dell and Compaq with their Linux operations, and Sun Microsystems selected the company to support the Linux version of its StarOffice software package.

But Linuxcare is not the only game in town when it comes to helping customers and traditional computing companies navigate the Linux waters. Red Hat and VA Linux both are moving aggressively toward increasing their Linux services business, and both went public last year. Last month, Linuxcare filed to go public. And HP doesn't have an allegiance to Linuxcare, having selected VA Linux to help write software that will enable Linux to use HP's inkjet printers.

Also as part of the deal, Linuxcare will offer Linux training courses to HP's support employees, provide HP with quarterly news and certify that HP home and business desktop computers work with versions of Linux from Red Hat, SuSE and TurboLinux.

Terms of the deal with HP weren't disclosed.