For Red Hat, the dominant enterprise Linux vendor, this week's acquisition of rival SUSE Linux by Novell was no surprise, said John Young, vice president of marketing at the company. Young said he's "not uncomfortable" with the development, and claimed that it doesn't significantly alter the competitive landscape.
"We are the leaders in the market. The assets that Novell is poised to acquire are old stuff for us. We're (already) building on top of where they (are now going)," Young said. "I don't doubt that that was a good move for SUSE. I just don't think that takes us off our mission ... and the success that we're having in the market.
Young also claimed that it will be no easy task for Novell to overcome the cultural obstacle inherent in adopting an open-source mind-set.
"Novell is traditionally a proprietary technology company," he said, "so they're kind of putting their foot into the water on both sides here." He noted that whether Novell can make that work is still to be proved.
"I'm not sure exactly how they'll manage that hybrid company," Young said. "I can't see any examples out there of how hybrid companies have achieved success. That's part of their challenges, in addition to the normal integration challenges" of bringing together Novell, SUSE and Ximian, he said.
For Red Hat, the future is clearer, according to Young. "We're absolutely committed to be 100 percent open-source, pure open-source," he said. "And at the end of the day, that unwavering commitment will be a source of value to customers."