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Computer Corporations to Invest in Local Software Company

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DURHAM — More good news for a Triangle software company.

IBM,Novell,CompaqandOracleare investing in Durham'sRed Hatsoftware company.

Red Hat is the country's leading builder of the Linux computer operating system.

Tuesday's announcement means the momentum behind Linux keeps growing and that's good for Red Hat.

Some developers at the company began working with Linux as a hobby. Now, its open source code is a favorite of software experimenters. Investment by IBM, Oracle, Compaq and Novell means Linux and Red Hat get a big push.

"Having these guys on board with Red Hat means that we're going to be able to push Linux and the open source model, and obviously Red Hat's products, into corporations that were previously very cautious about adopting us," said Robert Young, CEO of Red Hat Software.

As Linux's popularity grows, big players want part of the action.

"We created the Internet Equity Fund to invest in companies that we felt would accelerate the growth of the directory market. Red Hat certainly is one of those companies," said Dan Nartschenko, a representative for Novell.

Young claims Linux's open source is a better way to build technology because it allows input from developers around the world. He hopes these investments will lead to more Linux-based software.

"Attracting more applications to our platform means we attract more users, which means we attract more applications and the momentum keeps building," said Young.

Developers at Raleigh's DB Basics write programs around Microsoft's wide range of applications. They don't see Linux as a threat.

"When you look at the completeness of the solutions, Microsoft is there, almost insurmountable," said David Gardner, a partner at DB Basics.

Maybe, but Red Hat's Linux lovers are a happy bunch.

"They're pretty happy," said Donnie Barnes of Red Hat Software. "It legitimizes a hobby they've been involved with for a long time."

Red Hat is not the only builder of Linux operating systems, but it is one of the most popular with 70 percent of the U.S. market.