AOL Time Warner Inc. is in negotiations to acquire Red Hat Inc., a Linux distributor, the Washington Post reported Saturday, citing unidentified sources familiar with the matter.
The talks were fluid and it was unclear how much AOL, which runs the biggest U.S. Internet service provider and the second-largest U.S. cable television system, would pay for Red Hat, the newspaper said.
Red Hat is the leading distributor of Linux, which unlike software such as rival Microsoft's Windows operating system, is an "open source" platform that anyone can change to suit their needs.
Spokespeople for the three companies declined to comment, the newspaper reported.
Linux has gained growing favor with businesses, especially to power heavy-duty server computers that dish up Web pages and run corporate networks.
The attempted acquisition is the latest indication that AOL is seeking alternative software to that made by rival Microsoft, the maker of Windows which runs 90 percent of the world's personal computers, the Washington Post said.
To counter Microsoft, AOL could couple its Internet service with Red Hat's operating system technology and could be configured to override Windows while launching a version of Linux, sources told the newspaper.
Copyright 2002 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters.
Reuters shall be not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.