AOL is not in negotiations to purchase Linux developer Red Hat, a spokesman said yesterday, despite rumours to the contrary sparked by a Washington Post article published at the weekend.

The newspaper cited sources close to the matter in its report that AOL Time Warner was in 'fluid' negotiations with Red Hat and considering pairing its America Online Internet software, for which the company claims a user base of 33 million subscribers, to Red Hat's version of the Linux open-source operating system.

AOL spokesman Andrew Weinstein said the company is not in formal negotiations or informal discussions with Red Hat. A Red Hat spokeswoman declined to comment.