Intel Throws its "Red Hat" into Linux Ring

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Event Summary

10/26/99 - Red Hat said on Tuesday that Intel plans to make Red Hat Linux software available on powerful server computers designed to run websites.

Red Hat said Intel plans to bundle the Red Hat Linux operating system on servers Intel is supplying to ISPs1 . Intel has launched a program aimed at boosting its share of the server market, which has been dominated by Sun Microsystems, whose computers use Sun's own chips instead of Intel's.

Market Impact

Although 90% of Linux installations are on Intel systems, Intel's decision gives more legitimacy to the efforts to increase Linux's market and mind share. This announcement will help increase Intel's presence in the ISP market, but we believe the greater impact will be on the Linux and OS markets. Combined with the recent support of Dell, Compaq, and Gateway, this will increase Linux market growth. Growth will be primarily at the expense of Sun, because of its current dominance of the ISP market.

The combination of this event and Intel's enabling of Gigabit Ethernet performance on Linux (by virtue of the drivers for their PRO/1000 Gigabit Server Adapter) indicates that Intel is committed to Linux for the near term.

We do not expect this to cause market consolidation in the short term (12 months), but rather a leveling among market share figures between Solaris/Unix/Linux. Linux will not overtake Solaris, just get closer.

User Recommendations

This announcement is of interest primarily to ISPs, and possibly ASPs2 (who operate in a similar environment to ISPs) - mainstream users will not be affected, except as a result of their ISPs switching over to "Lintel". For those presently-not-Sun ISPs facing purchasing decisions, this provides another alternative from which they can pick. For users considering Linux seriously, but concerned about major-company support, this announcement should provide some reassurance.

1ISPs: Internet Service Providers
2ASPs: Application Service Providers

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