Can Red Hat Stay Red Hot?

The scrappy upstart may never be more than a passing fad

Whether it's his slight frame or his low-profile career in the computer-leasing business, CEO Robert F. Young is no giant killer. But you would never guess it from the attention Young and his four-year-old company, Red Hat Software Inc., have been getting from mighty Microsoft Corp. In confidential memos, Microsoft researchers warned Chairman William H. Gates III that Linux, the operating system software Red Hat sells, poses a threat to the company's Windows NT software. Microsoft lawyers even hoisted a copy of Red Hat's latest release during the software giant's antitrust trial as proof that it faces plenty of competition.

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