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Oracle says may launch own Linux version

Ellison tells newspaper he'd like to offer a "complete stack" of software products, including an operating system.

U.S. software maker Oracle is considering launching a version of the Linux operating system and has looked at buying one of the two firms dominating the technology, the Financial Times newspaper reported on Monday.

The report, citing an interview with Oracle's chief executive officer, Larry Ellison, said the move would redraw the software landscape and open a new front in Oracle's long rivalry with U.S. rival Microsoft.

It said Ellison told the newspaper that Oracle wanted to sell a full range of software that, like Microsoft, included both operating system and applications.

"I'd like to have a complete stack," Ellison was quoted as saying.

"We're missing an operating system. You could argue that it makes a lot of sense for us to look at distributing and supporting Linux."

The report said that like IBM, Oracle has counted on Linux--an open-source system whose code is open to anyone to view and adapt--to act as a counterweight to Microsoft's Windows, which has expanded rapidly from desktop PCs into corporate IT systems.

As part of a recent study of the open-source software market, Ellison told the newspaper, Oracle had considered buying Novell, which after Red Hat is the biggest distributor of Linux.