Red Hat offers alternative to Microsoft deal

Red Hat has jumped into the Microsoft settlement fray by offering to provide free open-source software to every school district...

Red Hat has jumped into the Microsoft settlement fray by offering to provide free open-source software to every school district in the US.

The open source company's offer comes in response to Microsoft's announcement of a deal to settle over 100 class action suits that accuse it of using its desktop operating system software monopoly to charge inflated prices. Microsoft has offered to supply hardware and its own software to thousands of the US's poorest schools.

Red Hat's alternative offer proposes to provide its own operating system software, along with applications and online support, to any interested schools.

Red Hat urged Microsoft to use the money it would have spent on its own software to instead increase the number of computers it will provide to struggling school districts.

The open source company claimed that redirecting Microsoft's money from its own software to buying hardware would increase the number of computers Microsoft could afford to purchase from 200,000 to over one million.

The offer of free software for interested schools will still stand if Microsoft rejects the alternative settlement suggestion, said Red Hat chief-executive Matthew Szulik.

Szulik claimed that Microsoft's proposed solution furthers its monopolistic grip on the software market and therefore is not an effective remedy.

"Would you want your son or daughter to come up learning a set of skills, or learning a specific vendor's product?" asked Szulik.

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