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Asia To Benefit From Linux and Apache, Says Red Hat CEO

Emerging economies have a great deal to benefit from the use of open source software like the Linux operating system and Apache Web server, according to Bob Young, CEO of Red Hat Software.

"We see Asian countries as a prime market for Linux and Apache," Young said in an exclusive interview. Red Hat, based in North Carolina, is the leading distributor of Linux and Apache on Intel, DEC Alpha and Sun SPARC platforms.

Red Hat recently scored a victory in Latin America through the Mexican government's choice of Linux and Apache for wiring 140,000 elementary and middle-school computer labs around the country.

"We have also been working with the United Nations Development Program's catalytic initiative, the Sustainable Development Networking Program (SDNP), in 40 developing countries worldwide," Young said.

"The beauty of open-source technologies is that they provide cutting edge technology and worldwide support at a minimal cost," he said.

There are localized versions of Red Hat Linux in France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Taiwan, Korea, and Brazil. Red Hat has struck alliances with IT companies like IBM and Silicon Graphics. Intel, Netscape and venture capital firms Greylock and Benchmark Partners have taken minority equity positions in the company.

"The Internet has been central to our success. We have been able to build a user base of over 5,000,000 users with only a very limited advertising and marketing budget, because of the power of the Internet to distribute the news about our operating system," Young said.

More than 10 million users currently run the Linux operating system, invented eight years ago by Finnish programmer Linus Torvalds at the University of Helsinki. Apache, the Linux-based Web server, has been the most popular server on the Internet since April 1996.