Lenovo Novell SUSENovell is losing money in the desktop Linux market, but those desktop deals are driving big wins in the server arena, according to Senior VP and Chief Marketing Officer John Dragoon. A case in point: Novell's desktop Linux relationship with Lenovo -- the big PC maker -- will extend to servers this September, confirms Dragoon.

The VAR Guy first reported Lenovo's server plans in August. At the time, Scott Di Valerio, president, Americas Group, said the Lenovo servers would be certified to run Windows as well as two Linux distributions. (Naturally, the smart money was on Red Hat and Novell.)

Lenovo will officially unveil its servers in New York at Interop, scheduled for Sept. 15-19 in New York. And Novell will be on hand for the announcement. Among those attending will include Justin A. Steinman, director of product marketing for Linux and Open Platform Solutions at Novell.

Money Matters

That's good news for Novell's server business. But can Novell turn a profit with desktop Linux? "It's a great question and one that we're asking ourselves," concedes Dragoon. "But there's also the fact that being on the desktop stirs conversations right up the software stack. We hear about opportunities in identity management and systems management. And desktop pre-loads open doors for us on the server."

Meanwhile, Novell's desktop push continues with PCs, thin clients and so-called NetBooks. During a meeting with Novell officials earlier today, The VAR Guy heard -- repeatedly -- how Novell planned to work more closely with PC makers as well as thin client companies (i.e., Wyse Technologies).

But even if Novell continues to lose money on the desktop, those efforts are opening doors on the server.