HP Mini-Note 2140 Netbook with Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise 11Novell has found a creative way to put Netbooks and SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 in the hands of IT managers and channel partners -- even with Microsoft sitting in the same room. Here's the scoop from The VAR Guy.

After canceling its annual BrainShare event, Novell now plans to hit the road with Hewlett-Packard, Intel and Microsoft. A "data center evolution" tour kicks off March 24 and will visit dozens of cities -- reacing hundreds of IT managers and channel partners -- across the globe.

Now, for the interesting twist: Hewlett-Packard and Novell will give away one HP Mini-Note 2140 at each tour stop. And yes, the Netbook systems are preinstalled with SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 rather than Windows.

Put Down the iPod

Smart move, Novell. Many high-tech companies offer Apple iPods and other consumer device giveaways to boost event registration and attendance. But those efforts involve products that had nothing to do with the event at hand.

Thanks to Linux Netbooks, Novell will reinforce its own brand during the upcoming road show. The VAR Guy suspects that few IT managers have seen SUSE Linux running on a Netbook, and even fewer have tried it. That's about to change -- in a small but noteworthy way.

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