Red Hat Certified Y2K OK

With less than 129 days until the highly anticipated new millennium, Red Hat, Inc. (Nasdaq: RHAT) has announced that its Linux operating system (OS) package won’t shut down or otherwise adversely affect users due to a Y2K computer glitch.

The Durham, North Carolina-based developer and provider of Linux open-source solutions for users disclosed that Red Hat Linux 5.2 and 6.0 have been certified Y2K compliant. The announcement is based on tests run through Software Laboratory Limited, an independent testing lab based in the United Kingdom.

“Independent certification provides neutral, independent validation to ensure customers that Red Hat’s powerful Linux-based OS solutions are fully Y2K compliant, and will continue to operate smoothly into the next century,” commented Erik Troan, director of engineering for Red Hat.

Some 1,000 separate tests were run on ship versions of the company’s Linux distribution package in a controlled environment. According to the Software Laboratory, Red Hat Linux versions 5.2 and 6.0 were deemed “highly compliant.” Specific tests results are available online.

Are The Bulls and the Bears Marking Open-Source Territory?

In another sort of test, Red Hat recently submitted itself to a trial by Wall Street with a high profile IPO (initial public offering). Having raised $4.8 billion (US$), and expanded the open-source movement into a new arena, the company would seem to have passed with flying colors.

Despite the inevitable projections for a major sell-off — and bitter recriminations by some Linux developers who were essentially barred from participating in the IPO — analysts are looking for the next Red Hat. According to Rob Zimmer, director of RadioWallStreet, there are some 30 companies being seriously examined as Red Hat competition.

Some industry experts feel that Caldera Systems, Inc. — the manufacturer and distributor of OpenLinux 2.2 — could be the company to watch. MTI Technology apparently agrees, and earlier this month completed an equity investment in the Orem, Utah-based company. By picking up 5.3 million shares of Caldera System’s common stock for $6 million, MTI has made Linux a centerpiece of its expanded e-commerce strategy.

“As one of the leading providers of Linux for business, Caldera Systems is well-positioned to continue to expand the market for sophisticated enterprise applications that require large amounts of storage in high-availability data processing environments,” commented Earl Pearlman, president and CEO for MTI.

“We are making sure we have all the business practices and the business model in place so we can have the option of going public or being acquired,” commented Benoy Tanang, vice president of marketing for Caldera Systems, in a June 1999 CNET report. VA Linux Systems is also reportedly contemplating taking an IPO plunge.

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