SUSE, Red Hat deliver new Linux server OS offerings

Linux vendors SUSE Linux and Red Hat have unveiled new versions of two of their key operating system products, offering customers a host of new features and capabilities.

In an announcement today, Nuremberg, Germany-based SUSE debuted its new Openexchange Server 4.1 product, which provides messaging, collaboration and groupware capabilities for use with Microsoft's Outlook client software. The new server operating system takes over where Version 4.0 left off last year, according to SUSE, and now offers a connector that adds full real-time support for Outlook.

Raleigh, North Carolina-based Red Hat today released its upgraded Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 operating system, which includes a new default Logical Volume Manager for storage management, as well as support for the new Native Posix Threading Library. That means the operating system will support thousands of program-instruction threads rather than hundreds, making it more scalable and expanding its multitasking capabilities for high-intensity uses.

The new operating system, which is based on the Linux 2.4.21 kernel, replaces the previous Red Hat Advanced Server product line and will support as many as 16 CPUs (central processing units) and up to 64GB of memory. That's up from support for eight CPUs and 16GB of memory in the previous version.

The upcoming Linux Kernel 2.6 is still in the early stages of development and probably won't be included by Red Hat until the next version of the enterprise server operating system is released late next year. Work continues on Kernel 2.6 to give it support for thousands of SCSI devices, up from today's limit of 256.

The operating systems will run on hardware ranging from Intel x86 and Itanium processors to Advanced Micro Devices's AMD64, as well as IBM's zSeries, iSeries, pSeries and S/390 servers.

Versions of Red Hat Enterprise Linux are available for workstations, general use or data center needs, with prices ranging from AUD$495 for the x86 desktop/client edition with basic support to AUD$2,495 for the x86 data center Advanced Server edition with standard support. Versions of the software for both AMD 64-bit and Itanium-based processor systems are priced from AUD$1,295 for the workstation version to AUD$4,795 for the data center (Advanced Server) version.

The new versions are available for free to existing users who have support contracts, according to Red Hat.

SUSE's latest Openexchange Server 4.1 will be available Nov. 17 and is priced at US$1,240 with 10 groupware clients and an unlimited number of e-mail clients.

The new version now supports up to 2,500 users per instance, up from 500 in the earlier version, said Lionel Marks, a SUSE technical services manager.

The improved compatibility with Outlook clients means users will no longer have any of the collaboration delays seen before, he said, making it easier to use calendaring, e-mail, address books, whiteboards and other features. Another new feature will be "public folders," which enable team management of appointments, contacts and tasks, with changes being made available immediately.

Also included is DyCE Instant Messenger from Darmstadt, Germany-based vendor Go4teams, which allows users to establish instant messaging (IM) accounts instantly without having to register. The system uses existing log-on account information to establish an IM account automatically, making it easier to get IM up and running.

All common Web browsers can be used to access full e-mail functions remotely, according to SUSE, running any common operating system, including Windows, Linux, Unix, Macintosh and Palm OS.

Late next month, SUSE expects to release a migration tool to its business partners to help customers migrate their e-mail systems from Microsoft Exchange 5.5.

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