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IBM continues to ramp up its efforts to bring Linux to small-to-medium sized businesses (SMBs) and to migrate Windows users to Linux.

The Armonk, N.Y., company on Tuesday increased incentives for its business partners who help SMBs implement Linux solutions. IBM doubled the financial incentive for partners who team up with distributors, resellers, consultants, integrators and ISVs to help SMBs implement Linux. IBM said these cooperative efforts ease implementations and lower start-up costs.

In a separate announcement, IBM said it has signed up four new security firms to its Windows NT-to-Linux-Migration program. New partners include Trend Micro Inc., an antivirus vendor in Cupertino, Calif.; Secure Elements, a Herndon, Va.-based enterprise security software vendor; Blade Fusion, a security appliance company headquartered in Tel-Aviv, Israel, with U.S. offices in Fairfax, Va.; and Sourcefire Inc., a security monitoring and threat management company in Columbia, Md.

IBM’s migration program seeks to lure users of Microsoft Corp.’s Windows NT, which will lose support on Dec. 31, 2004, to the Linux operating system.