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Oracle’s reported quest for a Linux operating system is likely to be good for Oracle and open-source partners, but Microsoft partners remain confident in their lineup, resellers said.

Oracle is considering launching a version of the Linux operating system and has looked at buying Novell, the number two Linux distributor, Oracle told publications on April 17.

By offering a fuller software portfolio, Oracle and Oracle partners would improve their footing in battling for a larger share of the enterprise environment, said Roger Harris, general manager of MSS Technologies in Phoenix, an Oracle and IBM partner.

“Anyone who watches this company knows it is up and coming,” Harris said.

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“Something like this adds to their suite of products and therefore adds to our suite of products. Every time they go and make an acquisition, whether it be applications they buy or moving to an operating system, it gives them one more thing to offer that strengthens their position and ours.”

Speculation that Novell was an intended target of an Oracle acquisition was not lost on the Linux vendor’s partners, but most remain skeptical, said Jim D’Esposito, a Novell sales representative with SoftChoice, a Toronto-based software VAR.

The real question is not who will own Novell, but who will benefit from Linux’s growth, D’Esposito said.

“I think in the Linux space in general, Linux is going to grow 40 percent YOY [year over year] for the next 10 years, regardless of Oracle,” he said.

“It is just a matter of who is going to get the revenue or it will force Microsoft to drop their prices so low they will eat into their cash to defend their position.”

Rumors persist that IBM is also interested in acquiring Novell.

Any strength in the market Oracle or Linux absorbed would likely come at the expense of Microsoft’s dominating position, D’Esposito and Harris said, but Microsoft partners are unfazed as yet by news of another Oracle offering and another Linux competitor.

“I don’t suspect too many people are worried about it,” said Mike Menard, president of DataSource, Worcester, Mass.

“In the competitive world, you’re always watching what the competitor is doing. Linux is out there and it’s not something that is going away. Anybody playing in this space has to be concerned about it, but as partners, this is a wait-and-see thing.

“I see too many opportunities out there right now as a Microsoft partner that an Oracle Linux release wouldn’t be relevant at this point,” Menard said.

“But it might be something to look at down the road, the kind of thing to keep your eye on the ball.”