Fujitsu Ltd, Japan's biggest seller of business computers, will sell machines that run Red Hat Inc's version of the Linux operating system software, expanding the number of possible clients for the US company.
Red Hat, which sells software and services to Fujitsu's corporate customers in Japan, now will market to Fujitsu clients elsewhere.
The agreement is similar to those Red Hat has reached with International Business Machines Corp, Dell Computer Corp and Hewlett-Packard Co, said Mike Evans, a Red Hat vice president.
The agreements help Red Hat sell to companies that are cutting costs by using Linux instead of Microsoft Corp's Windows or the Unix system.
The market share for Linux-equipped server computers will grow to 25 percent in 2006 from 15 percent this year, while Windows machines will decline to 57 percent from 60 percent, according to research firm IDC.
"Linux is still at the early stages of the market, so for a company with Fujitsu's heritage to be bold and strong on Red Hat is a big deal," Evans said.
The Fujitsu agreement will help both companies sell Linux in Europe and Asia especially, Evans said, by including Fujitsu Siemens Computers Holding BV, the parent company's Hanover, Germany-based affiliate.
Engineers from Fujitsu and Red Hat also will work together to improve subsequent versions of Red Hat Linux, the companies said, declining to elaborate.
Red Hat customizes programs based on Linux, whose source code is available for free on the Internet, and sells them to companies including Google Inc and Morgan Stanley.