"Linux is ready to blossom on the desktop," said Samuel Docknevich, an IGS Linux Services executive, at the Boston-area conference last week. "Support is a big issue in the world of desktops. Big customers want Level 2 and Level 3 support. We're not there today but will be there next year."
IGS's announcement comes on the heels of Novell's $210 million acquisition of SUSE Linux and its stated intentions to expand globally its channel and 24x7 tech support program for its Linux server and desktop products.
"Having both [IGS and Novell support programs] will make it far easier to recommend Linux as an end-to-end solution," said Chris Maresca, president of Olliance Consulting, Palo Alto, Calif.
Linux currently holds less than 2 percent market share of the desktop, but Novell and Red Hat executives confirmed they have significant desktop products under development. Novell's Ximian, for instance, will integrate Ximian Desktop 2 with Novell's forthcoming Linux file, print, messaging and directory services.