"AOL Time Warner Inc. is in talks to buy Red Hat Inc.,
a prominent distributor of a computer operating system, an
acquisition that would position the media giant to challenge arch
rival Microsoft Corp., according to sources familiar with the
Red Hat, a publicly traded firm based in Durham, N.C., sells
products and services based on the Linux operating system, the
freely available software developed collaboratively by volunteers.
Linux is designed for a wide variety of gear, running corporate
computer servers and consumer devices such as personal computers,
cell phones and video games.
The Red Hat negotiations â€"which are still fluid
â€" are the latest indication that AOL Time Warner, the
world's largest media company, is looking for alternatives to
software made by Microsoft, whose Windows operating system runs 90
percent of the world's PCs. The longtime competitors have fought
over an array of rival consumer technologies lately, including
online subscription services, instant-messaging systems and
Web-based video and audio players."