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Red Hat chatter heats up as quiet period ends

As Red Hat Inc.'s (Nasdaq: RHAT) quiet period drew to a close Tuesday, underwriters handed out bullish ratings. The company also announced that Gateway (NYSE: GTW) will become an authorized reseller of its software and it will open a new division in Japan.

Shares in the provider of Linux-based operating systems were up 11/16 to 85 5/8, approaching the high of 90 11/16 they reached just after Red Hat stormed up 272 percent in its IPO. Gateway shares were up 1 1/16 to 99 9/16.

The company was initiated with a rating of "long-term buy" by Hambrecht & Quist, a co-manager for its initial public offering, who also called Red Hat a "preeminent brand" with "first mover status" giving it a critical advantage.

Upon customer request, Gateway will install Red Hat's powerful, open source Linux-based OS on its servers for network business environments. Gateway's built-to-order servers will be certified as "Red Hat Ready" and tested for optimal performance. Gateway will acquire licensing and factory-install Red Hat Linux on qualified server platforms for $229 each. Technical support for end-users is provided on a fee-basis directly by Red Hat.

"Gateway customers are asking for Linux solutions and the freedom of open source environments," said Ron Smith, vice president, marketing, Gateway Business in a company release. Gateway professionals will receive training as Red Hat Certified Engineers and will be supported by Red Hat's open source expertise, according to the statement. As an authorized reseller, Gateway will acquire licensing and factory-install Red Hat Linux on qualified server platforms for $229 each. Technical support for end-users is provided on a fee-basis directly by Red Hat.

Red Hat also said Tuesday that a new Japanese operation, Red Hat Japan, will deliver the company's Linux software and services directly to the Japanese marketplace through expanded headquarters and staff, and a new leader for Red Hat's operations in Japan.

Masanobu Hirano will become president of Red Hat Japan. Prior to Red Hat, Mr. Hirano was president of Hyperion Japan, a subsidiary of Hyperion Solutions, an online analytical processing (OLAP) solution vendors. He also served as vice president and was a board member of ASCII Corporation.

"The demand for complete open source solutions such as Linux is on the rise in Japan, and now Red Hat Linux is there to meet this demand,'' said Masanobu Hirano, president, Red Hat Japan, in a company release.