A Challenging Race
Kusnetzky said, however, that an alliance of these companies makes sense for other reasons. "Considering the size and state of financial health of the organizations, if they could spread their development and support costs over many more customers, it would make it possible to continue to compete," Kusnetzky said."Id never say never," DiDio said. However, she said, "Red Hat is solidifying its lead in the Linux distribution market and putting more distance between itself and the rest of the field in terms of quarterly shipments, quarterly revenue and customer base, both domestically and internationally. "In the most recent financial data, announced last week, Red Hat said that it shipped 190,000 units in the last quarter. By contrast, Novellits next closest competitorshipped about 19,000 units in the same period. Thats a huge disparity," DiDio added. Read more here about Red Hats latest announced financial results. "Additionally, Novells numbers seem to be static or up very slightly. Novells acquisition of SuSE, which is now 19 months old, has to date not resulted in a significant boost to that firms revenue, unit shipment or market share." Hence, DiDio said, "Its possible that a collection of Linux distribution vendors such as Mandriva, Turbolinux and Progeny could surpass Novell and make up some ground on Red Hat. But if Red Hats momentum continues at this pace, its doubtful that anyone will challenge them for the number one spot in Linux distribution." In conclusion, DiDio said, "The race is far from over, but Red Hat has built a commanding lead. It also has strong support and partnerships with IBM and Hewlett-Packard Co. Given all these facts, it will be hard for competitors to overtake the North Carolina firm. But that shouldnt stop anyone from challenging them!" And Kusnetzky points out that while "Red Hat and Novell/SuSE hold the lions share of the revenue-producing shipments of Linux server operating-environment software," making it "difficult and costly for others to directly challenge them," it is still the case that "with the right investment, of course, anything is possible." Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Yankee Group Research Inc. senior analyst Laura DiDio also said she thinks that a Debian-based alliance might work.