Linux, which boasts greater stability and lower system requirements than Windows NT on networks and servers, has about 10 million users at present. An internal memo at Microsoft last year identified Linux as a growing rival in the operating systems market.
RED HAT Software, a distributor of the open source Linux operating system , last week said that Compaq, IBM, Novell and Oracle had made investments in the company. The four companies had previously said they would support Red Hat Linux on a variety of their servers and workstations. Intel and Netscape bought into the company last year along with two venture capital companies.