IBM and Sun Microsystems have signed an operating system partnership which could see IBM supporting Sun's Solaris OS on its Intel-based line of servers.

Neither IBM nor Sun offered firms details on the deal, which is set to be disclosed during a conference call today, except to say that it concerns an "operating system agreement".

Sun president and CEO Jonathan Schwartz and IBM hardware group chief Bill Zeitler will host the call, indicating that IBM may be ready to support Solaris on its System x and BladeCenter systems.

In fact, IBM has listed Solaris as one OS option for System X and BladeCenter systems on its website since May, according to the Internet Archive website.

Sun has only one operating system technology: Solaris. The company has been trying to promote Solaris as an open alternative to Linux, whose popularity severely cut into Sun's bottom line in the early part of this decade. But Sun has so far failed to rally much support from rival server vendors like IBM, HP or Dell.