REASEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, N.C. – IBM is bound and determined to drive acceptance of open source solutions across desktops and enterprises, and that’s good news for Red Hat as well as Novell and other players outside the proprietary software space.

On Monday, IBM disclosed its “Open Client Solution” for enterprise PCs.

"We worked with the open source community and found a way to write software once that will work regardless of operating system." Scott Handy, vice president of Linux and open source at IBM, told Reuters. "It will run on Windows, Macintosh or Linux."

Calling the offering one that gives customers “freedom of choice,” IBM said it had worked with Raleigh-based Red Hat and Novel to help develop a solution for mixing and matching commercial software on PCs as well as other devices.

In other words, IBM said customers can now run Linux and Microsoft – with Macintosh to be added later this year.

Of course, one of the big beneficiaries for such an offering would be IBM’s own products such as Lotus Notes and Domino. Red Hat and Novell will provide support services for the Open Client Solution.

IBM’s “freedom of choice” selections include: IBM Productivity tools that support the Firefox Web browser, Lotus Notes & Lotus Domino, Lotus Sametime and IBM WebSphere Portal v6 on Red Hat Desktop Linux suite, or SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.

"Our goal is to provide a flexible open client platform that minimizes customer investment needs and gives users the option to choose the tools they need to do their jobs more efficiently," Handy said in a statement. "Increasingly, customers are asking for software and tools that are based on open standards that easily integrate within existing open IT environments, and have enterprise-level security features.

"We’ve addressed this market demand by creating an open solution that runs on multiple operating systems with components supported by services from IBM, Red Hat and Novell," he added.

Novell and Red Hat have had their share of battles in the Linux space. Novell is even working with Microsoft on a project.  They obviously set aside differences to work with IBM on this project, which targets Microsoft first.

Next comes Apple.