Recently, there were several rumours of a possible buyout of RedHat Linux by the ISP everyone loves to hate, AOL.

These rumours were later proven false, but they did cause a little perturbation among some people for a while.

Most of the people that I talked to thought this was a bad thing--as I did, at first. However, after thinking some more, I realized that this could potentially be even something positive for the industry--rather an odd thought, but it could happen.

AOL's browser, as many people know, is a modified version of Netscape. Netscape is yet another of AOL's various and sundry holdings. Now, given AOL's liking for proprietary software, how could they use their new property, assuming the unlikely event of their actually buying out RedHat?

Currently, when an AOL user wants to use AOL's 'member only' services, they use their special AOL browser. This possibility was helped by AOL's purchase of Netscape. Now, take it one step further: AOL distributes not only proprietary software--but a proprietary OS. Now, you would have AOLinux dual-booting with Windows. In order to use the special AOL features, you would restart your computer with AOLinux, and run their programs and operating system.

This would give AOL even more chances for revenue, by selling add-on software to it's users (Who would, perhaps, not realize that they could run regular Linux software, with or without modification, on their systems).....and would allow them to annoy M$ even further. Beyond having the 'browser wars'......this would be a full-fledged OS war.

How would this be a good thing? Microsoft, in order to retain a customer base (assuming AOL implimented things correctly......unlikely, I know, but this is a hypothetical situation), would have to improve it's own operating system. Thus, potentially rather quickly, one might find a working, secure, and actually rather good version of Windows.

Yes, this is something of a castle in the air at this point.......but it's a rather intriguing thought, all the same.