In recent weeks, Microsoft has faced a user revolt over its controversial new licensing regime and has also been criticised for perceived security weaknesses in its Internet Information Server (IIS) Web server software.
SuSE Linux, Red Hat and MandrakeSoft hope to offer disgruntled Microsoft users viable alternatives on both the server and desktop with their latest releases.
SuSE Linux version 7.3 carries the promise of enhanced security, high stability and an improved user interface. The KDE and Gnome interfaces are intended to narrow the gap between Microsoft and Linux, one of the main barriers to Linux adoption on the desktop.
Malcolm Yates, strategic alliance manager at SuSE, said that the company is beginning to see a demand from disillusioned Microsoft users.
"I think there is a certain disappointment with Microsoft," he said. "Windows XP and Microsoft take people into a single supplier [model] and make it difficult for them to leave," said Yates.
Using SuSE would help users avoid any increased costs associated with Microsoft's new software licences, added Yates.
Red Hat announced a migration pack aimed at companies that currently run IIS on a Windows NT server, for example, but want an alternative that is free of licensing costs and does not require users to continually update hardware.
MandrakeSoft released Mandrake Linux version 8.1, which introduces the company's Mandrake Online service designed to issue alerts on security or package updates and offers rebates for the company's online top-level support platform.