Linspire, Ingram Micro Bring Linux Desktop to the Channel

By Steven Vaughan-Nichols  |  Print this article Print


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For the first time, a major Linux desktop vendor has partnered with one of the big distributors, Ingram Micro.

Linspire announced Wednesday that major technology distributor Ingram Micro has begun selling the full range of Linspire products to its network of U.S. resellers and retailers.

Ingram Micro Inc. began shipping Linux and open-source products in March 2004. This partnership with Linspire Inc. is the first major partnership between a pure Linux desktop player and Ingram Micro or any other major distributor.

The Linspire operating system, Linspire Five-0, comes pre-bundled with major desktop applications, including OpenOffice.org (a Microsoft Office file-compatible office suite); Web browser, e-mail and instant messaging clients; multimedia viewers; photo and music managers; calendaring tools; and more.

Access to additional software and applications is available through Linspire's innovative CNR ("click and run") Warehouse, a software library where users can download and install more than 2,000 Linux programs with just one mouse click.

The Ingram Micro agreement, facilitated by its partner AccessChannel, means Ingram Micro's reseller customers in the United States will be able to sell Linspire's complete line.

AccessChannel, formed this summer, is a logistics outsourcing company that acts as an intermediary between Ingram Micro and small, new vendors.

These vendors typically don't have the volume or marketing savvy to justify the time of a major distributor.

AccessChannel's logistics outsourcing model lowers Ingram's cost and risk of picking up and managing emerging technology manufacturers while giving the distributor the ability to respond swiftly to customer requests to add lines.

The Linspire deal appears to be the biggest to date for AccessChannel.

Linspire hopes that it can leverage Ingram Micro's broad catalog and North American distribution center network to gain thousands of new customers, and markets will now for the first time have unfettered access to desktop Linux products and services offered by Linspire.

"Desktop Linux will now be on the shelves in places that it's never been before and in the hands of countless new builders, thanks to Ingram Micro's distribution network," said Kevin Carmony, Linspire's CEO in a statement.

"We're now able to get Linspire to more channel partners whose customers are demanding affordable, virus-free computing options," said Carmony.

Linspire already has a small channel program of its own and works with many small OEMs (original equipment manufacturers).

"Ingram Micro has long been a supporter of the Linux platform and focused on bringing new, innovative solutions, like Linspire's products, to the channel," said Diane Lees, senior category manager, Ingram Micro United States, in a statement.

"As this exciting market continues to grow, Ingram Micro will strive to offer the broadest choice possible to Linux-savvy VARs and system builders," said Lees.

Resellers and builders will have access to a wide range of Linspire products.

Boxed products that are available include Linspire Five-0; Linspire Five-0 CNR Edition, which includes a yearly subscription to Linspire's software download service providing access to more than 2,000 free programs; Linspire OEM edition, for bundling with PC or hardware purchases; and the add-on CNR Gold Service subscription.

Both Linspire Five-0 and Linspire Five-0 CNR Edition are available in 5-, 10-, and 25-user volume license packs.

System builders who are part of the Linspire-authorized Builder program can also purchase a variety of Linspire Builder License Packs to include with their pre-installed Linspire systems.

This is designed to enhance the out-of-box experience for end customers.

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols is editor of eWEEK.com's Linux & Open Source Center and Ziff Davis Channel Zone. Prior to becoming a technology journalist, Vaughan-Nichols worked at NASA and the Department of Defense on numerous major technological projects. Since then, he's focused on covering the technology and business issues that make a real difference to the people in the industry.

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