Motor giant Ford is switching to Linux for its sales systems, human resources, customer relations and infrastructure, according to a report in yesterday's Scotland on Sunday. But although the company is undoubtedly a megawin for Linux, Register sources suggest that the real battle was between the Linux vendors, with maybe just a soupcon of Sun.
Ford is of course a global company, with major sites in the US, Germany and the UK. Our understanding is that the battle boiled down to one between Red Hat and SuSE, with the signs earlier this year being that Red Hat might just have got the deal. Ford seemed to want a Red Hat systems admin in Detroit back in January, anyway, but it'd maybe make some sense to use the local player in Germany, and our sources claim SuSE and Red Hat both pitched in the States, so you could maybe view the job as being more about bringing Linux servers into the infrastructure than specifically running Red Hat.
Whoever won, the contract is a serious step forward for Linux in the corporate market, but it can really only be seen as a defeat for Microsoft if you count not being seriously considered as being a defeat. But presumably there are still going to be Windows clients in there - by coincidence, we note that this quarter Dell will begin saving the company from the legacy diskette drive. Ford standardised on Dell for Intel clients in 1999. ®