Novell has a much more impressive Web site dedicated to partners: PartnerNet. The portal has links to help review sales leads, track revenue, generate reports, store contact information, and access sales, product and training information. Despite being newer to Linux than Red Hat, Novell's partner program is more mature than Red Hat's -- no doubt due to the company's longer incorporation.
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The Microsoft and Novell Interoperability Lab in Cambridge, Mass., launched in November 2006, was the byproduct of the vendors' five-year partnership to assist each other with Linux and Windows operability. While most Linux diehards bemoaned this relationship -- many even dropped SUSE as a result -- others in corporate America remain hopeful that it might increase interoperability between Windows and SUSE Linux. Through another collaborative effort, IBM and Novell business partners will soon be able to offer customers a special bundle that couples clients for Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop with IBM's Lotus Notes groupware and Lotus Sametime. While Novell continues to lag behind Red Hat in North American sales, it has a large following overseas and among its older Novell customers. Novell's flagship enterprise product is referred to as SLES(10), which compares to RHEL(5), while openSUSE compares to Red Hat's Fedora, both of which are available in free versions from their respective vendors. Perhaps not as well-known as Fedora, the openSUSE project is a community program sponsored by Novell that has received glowing reviews with its 10.2 release.
Novell also provides six partner options, from Novell Reseller Community to Platinum Specialist. The Gold and Platinum memberships require a certain level of revenue achieved in the prior year, while the Silver Linux Specialist has a $500 annual fee but no such revenue thresholds.
How Red Hat and SUSE Linux partner programs compare