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2/14/2007
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Red Hat Joins Microsoft Interoperability Group

Most of the Linux distributor's work within the group will focus on making its middleware more compatible with Microsoft's.

In the latest example of a Linux distributor looking to get closer to Microsoft, Red Hat said Tuesday that it has joined the Interop Vendor Alliance, a group of tech companies working to make their products more interoperable with those produced in Redmond.

Red Hat says most of its work within the group will focus on making its middleware more compatible with Microsoft's and will build on efforts previously undertaken by its JBoss division. The goal, Red Hat says, is to ensure that its products can perform well in environments in which Windows also plays a large role. Shaun Connolly, Red Hat's VP for product management, says the company is looking to make its user experience "transparent and seamless in spite of heterogeneous environments."

Red Hat's announcement came a day after Microsoft and Novell outlined a roadmap for products designed to work in either Windows or Linux environments. The companies said they will focus their joint efforts on building more efficient, cost-effective products for facilitating server virtualization, Web services implementations, directory and identity interoperability, and document format compatibility.

An increasing number of Linux distributors appear to be concluding that their best chance for achieving growth is to ensure that their products are compatible with Windows, which holds by far the largest market share in desktop and server operating systems despite recent inroads by the Linux community. According to tracking site W3Counter.com, 85% of the world's Web sites run on Windows, while just 2% run on Linux.

Over the past 18 months, JBoss -- acquired by Red Hat last April -- has completed a number of projects designed to make its open-source enterprise middleware compatible with the Microsoft environment through the adoption of standards-based addressing specifications and security protocols used by Microsoft. Now, Red Hat says it wants to create operating-system-level compatibility between its JBoss products and Windows.

Other members of the Interop Vendor Alliance include BEA Software, CA, EMC, and Sun Microsystems.

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