Red Hat to target workstations, telcos

Linux vendor Red Hat Tuesday detailed the release of its operating system for workstations, and announced that it has enhanced its Linux Advanced Server operating system to add support for "carrier-grade" Linux applications.

The announcements were made at the Enterprise Linux Forum Conference & Expo, where Matthew Szulik, Red Hat's chairman, president and chief executive officer, delivered a keynote address. Features that Red Hat will be incorporating into Linux Advanced Server include multithreading and clustering, Szulik said. Red Hat has customers that are deploying thousands of servers and "it's absolutely imperative that we deliver" on new high-end capabilities, he said.

Red Hat's workstation release will be available in the first quarter of 2003, the company said in a statement. Developers will be able to use the release to create applications that can be deployed on Red Hat Linux Advanced Server. It is also being designed for use specifically in the fields of digital content creation and electronic design automation, the company said.

Red Hat and Hewlett-Packard (HP) have already targeted the Linux workstation market with the September release of two HP machines running Red Hat Linux Advanced Workstation.

The software vendor is aiming to more closely align its workstation and server operating systems so that developers can create client-server applications using a common code base, the company statement said. Similarities between the two operating systems are also expected to make support and administration easier.

SuSE Linux AG is also expected to release an operating system specifically designed for workstations, executives have said. Sun Microsystems, which recently unveiled its own Linux strategy, is also planning to come out with a Linux workstation.

Enhancements to Red Hat Advanced Server being disclosed Tuesday are the result of recommendations from the Carrier Grade Linux Working Group, which operates within Open Source Development Lab Inc. (OSDL), a non-profit research lab backed by Intel, IBM, as well as many of the top Linux distributors.

The new features in Advanced Server aimed at supporting voice and data applications will include improved application portability and performance, support for POSIX-compliant threading, diskless blade systems, improved system responsiveness, advanced debugging and systems analysis, and additional high-availability clustering capabilities, the company said. Red Hat plans to make this carrier-grade Linux release available in the middle of 2003.

In addition, product line extensions for Red Hat Linux will include versions of the operating system that span a range of devices and computers, from high performance computing (HPC) machines down to point-of-sale (POS) devices, said Mark de Visser, vice president of marketing for Red Hat.

Other things to look for in Advanced Server, probably in the second half of 2003, include a logical volume manager, compliance with LSB (Linux Standard Base) 1.2, and a version for the Defense Information Infrastructure (DII) Common Operating Environment, which would allow it to be incorporated into Department of Defense systems, de Visser said.

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