Red Hat Software Inc has confirmed that Intel Corp, Netscape Communications Corp and venture capital firms Greylock and Benchmark Partners have taken minority equity positions in Red Hat, which sells distributions of open source operating system Linux. Netscape already supports Linux and has pledged to port all its server software to the platform, but Intel’s involvement with Red Hat has been widely interpreted as a belated formal acknowledgement that millions of machines based on the company’s x86 hardware are already running the OS. Red Hat president Bob Young takes a different view. He observes that Intel and Netscape are very pleased with themselves for being astute enough to choose Red Hat as a partner. Without taking too much away from them, he said, it was really the other way around. We’re pretty Machiavellian that way. We made a short list of partners we wanted to have, and we’re delighted to have won the partners we wanted. But the whole thing is more to do with partnership than with money. Indeed if you are Red Hat and you need to get credibility with the enterprise market, having Intel and Netscape as investors shouldn’t hurt a bit. Netscape provides crucial e-commerce software and the involvement of Intel hopefully means that at least Linux won’t be locked out of future x86 development. Not that enterprise acceptance is the pipe dream it used to be for Linux. The last few months have seen Oracle, Informix, Sybase, Computer Associates, Corel and IBM declare their support for the platform. Even rival Unix vendors are having to sit up and take notice. SCO has sponsored Linux International, and on Tuesday Silicon Graphics Inc CEO Rick Belluzzo told the ISPCon crowd that while he didn’t consider Linux an immediate threat to SGI’s Irix: It has some potentially interesting aspects that we need to look at and consider.