Red Hat's Bluecurve Tops GUI Desktop Improvements In Version 8.0


Company delivers upgrade by month's end as promised


Rebel operating system company Red Hat has delivered the facelift it promised by month's end for desktop Linux.

On Monday, the last day of September, the Raleigh-based company released an upgrade of its Red Hat Linux--version 8.0--that features significant improvements to the GUI in order to make Linux a more viable competitor to Microsoft's Windows and Office combo.

While the company has traditionally emphasized its Linux offering for the server side of the business, it is touting its newly designed Bluecurve GUI and user-friendly icons in this release.

In addition to the Bluecurve graphical interface, Red Hat 8.0 also offers a more unified look and improved menu organization that simplifies navigation and gives users access to frequently used applications. The software supports both the Gnome 2.0 and KDE 3.0.3 interfaces and features the updated Mozilla 1.0.1 browser and Ximian Evolution e-mail client, contact manager and calendar.

In addition, Red Hat 8.0 features the open-source OpenOffice.org productivity applications suite, a graphical tool for creating firewall and additional tools to simplify configuration of peripherals as well as the included Apache 2.0 Web server and Samba file server. The software also offers integration with Red Hat Network and new GUI accessibility features.

The delivery fulfills Red Hat's promise to make Red Hat 8.0 available by month's end.

The news follows Sun Microsystems' recent "Mad Hatter" announcements of new Linux-based enterprise clients also designed to compete with Microsoft's Windows and Office desktop.

While Microsoft still owns more than 93 percent of the client operating system market, its controversial Licensing 6.0 policies have led some in the Linux industry to pursue a more aggressive course on the desktop front.

In recent years, Linux has climbed up the server ladder and now garners more than 27 percent of the server operating system market, according to research firm IDC. However, IDC said Linux today owns only 1 or 2 percentage points of the desktop OS market.