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Open-Source Start-Ups Challenge Red Hat, Novell

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At the end of 2003, Srinvasan Krishnan decided to do some shopping. When Red Hat announced the end of free support for its Linux distribution, the CTO of Mississauga, Ont.-based Farematrix evaluated various alternatives and settled on Debian as the most stable and best supported product.

"This has worked out very well with no problems in the last year," says Krishnan.

Krishnan's shopping excursion is one story that illustrates a trend in the open source industry. Organizations are looking to cut costs while more vendors are stepping up to the plate with competing products and services. Despite Red Hat's dominance of the top spot and Novell's position at No. 2, there is healthy competition in the open source market and companies have more choice -- sometimes at a lower cost.

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