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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.

Red Hat

Shortly after the beta release of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.0 (RHEL5), buzz was already building about the changes and additions that are part of the update. RHEL5 is the first implementation of Red Hat Linux that offers integrated support for the Xen virtual machine hypervisor. Pundits have noted that the release should put Red Hat in better position to compete with Novell.

The beta version also has new diagnostic tools, according to the company, including SystemTap, which lets administrators monitor software for bottlenecks even while the system is in use. RHEL 5 also has components designed to support a technology known as “Stateless Linux,” a feature that reconfigures servers or PCs for different storage tasks.

How Red Hat handles the major challenge from Oracle should also be illuminating. Although both companies have insisted that they will maintain a happy working relationship as Oracle rolls out its Red Hat competitor, Unbreakable Linux, some of Red Hat’s comments seem to be made through clenched teeth. In fact, just days before Oracle announced its initiative, Red Hat sent out a press release that boasted acceleration for Oracle solutions on Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

Already, the company is hyping how its support is unique, playing up features like RHCE certified staff members, analyst reports that put it ahead of other vendors, and customer satisfaction stories. In the coming months, as Oracle and other firms try to eat away at Red Hat’s support base, it’s likely that the company will focus even more strongly as establishing itself not just as a leader in the industry, but as the experts in open source technologies.

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