Tarantella has announced a key reseller partnership with IBM, as part of the company's effort to recast itself as a viable alternative to Citrix in Linux-savvy enterprise data centres.

IBM's sales teams, especially those focussed on the burgeoning Linux server market, will sell Tarantella's Secure Global Desktop server software to enterprise network executives who want to create secure remote access to applications running on an array of server and host operating systems.

Both Citrix and Tarantella have a broadly similar idea: load your desktop applications on central servers, and run them there, serving the screen displays over wired and wireless links to traditional PC or workstation clients as well as thin clients.

But Tarantella is re-emphasising its support for non-Microsoft applications, allowing various clients to connect with these legacy applications and to a growing portfolio of programs shifting to Linux servers. Citrix has been improving its ability to access Unix and other applications, through a combination of its own and third-party software.

This shift in effect concedes to Citrix those companies that are mainly based on Microsoft applications and operating systems. Under the company's new strategy, put together over the last 6 to 9 months by a new executive management team, Tarantella will focus on those sites that have a multitude of legacy applications in addition to Microsoft, running on mainframes, Unix servers and, especially in the future, on Linux.

Tarantella was a spinoff of The SCO Group, which acquired the software from a British company in 2000. In 2003, Tarantella acquired another Citrix rival, even smaller than itself: New Moon Systems, with its Canaveral IQ product for Microsoft platforms.

As part of the deal, Tarantella devised a simplified pricing scheme, and one intended to be considerably cheaper than Citrix. Instead of per-user pricing, Secure Global Desktop now is sold via IBM based on three classes of servers, handling 200, 400 or 600 users. For 200 users, the price is $30,000 (£16,200); for 400, $60,000, for 900, $90,000.

Tarantella also signed a similar deal this month with Mainline Information Systems, a Tallahassee, Florida systems integrator focussed on the IBM mid-range market.