Red Hat is setting up in Europe with two offices in the UK and Germany.
The company, which sells Linux and related tools, service and support, also announced last week that it intends to become the first Linux vendor to float on the US stock market.
Colin Tenwick, the new vice president of Red Hat Europe and former vice president of Sybase Europe, said: "By the end of February 2000, we will have about 60 people based at our UK office in Guildford, and we (also) want to set up in France."
Some parts of the Linux community voiced concern about Red Hat's commercial thrust. But in a surprise move, Red Hat sent an e-mail to selected members of the Linux development community, offering them shares at the initial price.
Bruce Perens, primary author of the Open Source Definition, commented: "This is no different from the sort of offer many companies give their board of directors, except the directors have a chance to purchase larger amounts. However, (Red Hat) is taking a public relations risk, and that takes guts."
Kirsten Ludvigsen, an IDC analyst, said the days when Linux vendors did not dirty their hands competing with each other are over.
"The vendors used to have a gentleman's agreement where they shared territories geographically: Red Hat in the US, Suse in Germany and Caldera in Latin America. This is changing," she said.
"Suse will compete with Red Hat for the European market, but it will be good for users, as they will have more Linux services to choose from," she added.
Some system vendors in Europe, such as IBM and Compaq, have made commitments to supporting Linux but have been slow to deliver on their promises, leaving established Linux players to exploit the market.
Red Hat plans to sell 6 million shares for $10 (£6.37) to $12 (£7.64) a share, giving the company an overall valuation of up to $800 million (£510 million), according to its filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
OTHER LINUX DEVELOPMENTS
- Giganet is expected to launch its cLAN clustering software for Linux this week.
Also expected soon is Network Engines' X Engine clustering hardware/software, previewed at Networld/Interop earlier this year.
- Unify announced the availability of its Vision AppBuilder and AppServer products for Linux last week. The two products handle e-commerce application development and deployment respectively.
- Oracle has finally released Oracle 8i (8.1.5) for Linux, available from technet.oracle.com/tech/linux/.
- Computer Associates has released UniCenter TNG Management Framework for Red Hat Linux, as announced in March (PC Week, 9 March). A free CD is available from www.cai.com/registration.
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