Linux vendors target students with discounts

More money-off special offers for tax dodgers...
Written by Stephen Shankland, Contributor

More money-off special offers for tax dodgers...

Red Hat and SuSE Linux, the top two sellers of the Linux open-source operating system, are launching new discounts to attract students and educational institutions - a strategically important customer set for technology companies.

Red Hat will sell students its Red Hat Academic Desktop product for $25 and sell schools its Red Hat Academic Server product for $50, including online software updates but no telephone support. The products will be offered first in the United States, but will be available internationally by the end of the year, said John Young, vice president of marketing.

SuSE on Wednesday began offering schools, students, universities and non-profit customers a discount of more than 40 per cent through two sales partners, CCV Software and Ricis.

An irony in discount plans is that analysts ascribe much of Linux's popularity in the education market to the fact that it can be obtained for free. The products from Red Hat and SuSE have been getting more expensive as the companies try to catch up with the support and quality control of the commercial software realm to attract more customers.

Educational institutions are crucial in developing and testing open-source software, "and we want to keep a tight linkage with that," Young said. "Open source is very fertile for education and training and research projects. There's nothing hidden about it, so building better mousetraps isn't a matter of finding out what's in the black box."

Stephen Shankland writes for News.com

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