IBM and Novell are beefing up their existing partnership on two fronts and the latter is increasing support for IBM's Notes desktop collaboration software and its open source WebSphere Application Server Community Edition (WAS CE).
The collaborations, announced at the LinuxWorld conference in San Francisco, are designed to counter Microsoft 's Exchange software and Red Hat 's JBoss application server.
On the desktop side, IBM and Novell business partners will be able to offer customers an open collaboration client for Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop. The client includes IBM's Lotus Notes groupware, its Lotus Sametime instant messaging software and some productivity tools.
Antony Satyadas, IBM's chief competitive marketing officer for Lotus software, said the company is hoping to strike a similar relationship with Red Hat.
A combination of Notes and Suse Linux could be substantially cheaper than the Microsoft alternative of Office 2007 and the Windows Vista Business operating system, Satyadas said. Using approximate pricing, he estimated that the Notes and Suse offering could be $300 to $500 cheaper than the Microsoft software on a per user basis.
Novell does have its own GroupWise collaboration software, but that product has trailed behind market leaders Notes and Exchange.