Red Hat Linux 9 Scheduled For Release April 7

Enterprise Linux desktops due later in 2003 from Red Hat and SuSE

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The Red Hat Linux 9 upgrade is due to be officially released on April 7, sources close to the company said.

Version 9 is tentatively slated to be released on April 7 but will be available to subscribers of Red Hat Network for download starting March 31, sources said.

The next release of Red Hat Linux is due in the fourth quarter, sources said.

As it preps a more enterprise-oriented desktop for shipment later in 2003, Red Hat's version 9 upgrade offers many desktop enhancements for corporate users including an improved installation process, an enhanced Bluecurve GUI, drag-and-drop printing and enhanced font viewing, according to documents viewed by CRN.

Red Hat Linux 9 also incorporates updated core components including Linux 2.4.20 and Apache 2.0, latest updates of the Mozilla browser, Ximian Evolution e-mail client, calendar and contact manager and the office suite.

For developers, the version 9 update offers improved network printing capabilities and a native Posix Threading Library (NPTL). The inclusion of enhanced threading technology will enable the development of software with increased scalability and faster speeds, according to the documentation.

While the desktop upgrade incorporates several business-oriented features, it is primarily positioned--updated like its version 8 predecessor and others before it--as a consumer upgrade. The BlueCurve GUI, which gives business users and consumers a familiar graphical look and feel of Windows, has been extended to menus and layouts in Red Hat Linux 9.

Hewlett-Packard, which recently signed an expanded alliance with Red Hat, will not distribute version 9 but will likely provide customers with future enterprise desktop products, officials said.

"According to Red Hat, version 9 is a hacker product for the developer community and not part of the enterprise products that HP is supporting and reselling as part of our new joint agreement," said Judy Chavis, worldwide Linux director at HP."It's not a part of the enterprise push that HP and Red Hat are making together. Our developers will likely work with it though."

HP distributes Red Hat's recently released Enterprise Linux Workstation, which is part of the company's enterprise products portfolio including advanced and department servers.

Red Hat and other Linux software companies that ship popular servers are beginning to place a greater emphasis on the desktop, where Microsoft controls more than 95 percent market share.

In addition to Red Hat's enterprise desktop, which is expected to be delivered sometime this year, German Linux software company SuSE Linux--which also has major alliances with IBM Global services and HP--plans to launch an enterprise desktop on June 4, SuSE Linux executives said. It will incorporate Microsoft-compatible fonts and support for Microsoft applications via CodeWeavers' Crossover Office 2.1, SuSE Linux executives said at CeBIT 2003 in Hannover, Germany, earlier this month.

It is not clear when Red Rat's enterprise desktop offering will ship. Red Hat shipped its Enterprise Linux Workstation on March 12.

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