Oracle on Wednesday trotted out a list of 26 customers who are paying the database and applications software company to support their Linux operating system as well.

The effort, which arrives a few months after the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based company started selling its own clone of Red Hat Enterprise Linux, presumably is aimed at convincing the world that it’s OK to let Oracle handle the support. Indeed, in the lead-off endorsement, chief information officer of pancake vendor IHOP asserts, “Oracle provides the responsive support we need to deploy and maintain Linux-based solutions, and the switch from Red Hat support couldn’t have been easier.”

A careful reading of the news release is illuminating, though:

• Although all 26 customers are buying Linux support from Oracle, only IHOP specifically says it’s using Oracle’s version of Linux; last week, Yahoo said separately it also is.

• Of the 10 quoted customers, four also say they’re using other Oracle software. Many believe the most likely prospects for Oracle Linux support or software are those who already are customers for other Oracle software.

• Although Red Hat is the most likely competitor in the Linux deals, given its market dominance, IHOP is the only Oracle customer to say it switched from Red Hat.

Oracle touted cost savings as a major reason for buying its Linux support; the company charges about half Red Hat’s list price. But Red Hat Chief Executive Matthew Szulik said Thursday the company so far hasn’t changed its pricing practices in response to the Oracle Linux products and services.

For the record, here are the 26 companies Oracle said are buying its Linux support: Yahoo, IHOP, Timex, Diebold, GlobeCast, ABC Stores, Stuart Maue, Replacements, Mutual Materials, Hays Medical Center, BNP Paribas, Raley’s, Powell Industries, Columbia Forest Products, Deseret Power, Fulcrum Analytics, New York State Insurance Department, the Cobalt Group, Stemilt Growers, the Gem Group, Stanford University, Vcommerce, Knife River Corporation, Primavera Systems, Centre de Services Partages du Quebec and Spaulding Equipment Company.