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Linux Magazine’s Top 20 Companies to Watch in 2007

We pick the companies that are defining the future of Information Technology and will have the most impact on the Open Enterprises of 2007. It's the inaugural edition of our 20 Companies to Watch list and we guarantee that every company here will challenge how you think about Linux and Open Source before the year is out.

Oracle

In a surprise move, Oracle announced that it would provide enterprise class support for Linux in the same way it does for its other database, middleware, and applications products. Chief executive Larry Ellison noted that Red Hat only provides bug fixes for the latest version of its software, and Oracle believes that this tactic requires customers to upgrade to a new version of Linux whenever there’s a problem.

Enter Oracle’s Unbreakable Linux, a program aimed at providing bug fixes for all future, current, and previous releases. The support effort is available to Linux users at a starting price of $99 per system per year. And to sweeten the deal, Oracle threw in a free trial and 50 percent discount that expires at the end of January 2007.

Initially balking at Oracle’s claims, Red Hat quickly put up a section on its Web site called “Unfakeable Linux,” but did acknowledge that the behemoth’s unexpected strategy will create major opportunities for the free and open source operating system. Although Oracle’s Ellison did have some critical comments of Red Hat’s bug fixes, he also affirmed that the relationship between the two companies, and promised that every time Red Hat distributes a new version, Oracle will resynchronize with their code.

How to tell if Oracle is really serious about crafting Unbreakable Linux into a comprehensive support program that makes it into a major Linux company to watch? Well, look at it this way: there has to be some awfully big enthusiasm there somewhere for Ellison to end his speech to a revamped version of “The March of the Penguins,” complete with live penguins waddling across the stage.

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