Red Hat brings Eazel under its wing

By Ashlee Vance, IDG News Service |  Operating Systems

Eazel Inc. secured a key partnership Monday when the company announced that Red Hat Inc. will bundle Eazel's Nautilus software on all of its upcoming versions of Red Hat Linux.

Just two days before the start of LinuxWorld in New York, Eazel forged the deal which will ensure that its flagship software is tied to the world's largest Linux operating system distribution.

Nautilus helps users gain access to files, applications, media, Internet-based services and the Web in one place. Eazel has long touted ease-of-use as a main feature of its Nautilus software and hopes this deal will encourage further use of Linux on the desktop.

"The most exciting thing in this deal from our perspective is that Red Hat is validating the model of delivering services to desktop users of Linux," said Stan Christensen, vice president and general manager of online services at Eazel. "Red Hat has over 80 percent of the market in the U.S., and we will now be anywhere that they are."

Eazel would not give details on when end-users will see an Eazel-ready version of Red Hat Linux. Eazel and Red Hat engineers have, however, already began collaboration on the software integration effort.

In a deal struck in late November last year, Dell Computer Corp. agreed to bundle Nautilus on select Linux PCs and to invest in Mountain View, California-based Eazel.

In a similar arrangement announced in December, Sun Microsystems Inc. said it would include Nautilus, which is based on the upcoming Gnome 2.0 GUI (graphical user interface), with Sun's Solaris Unix OS. Eazel built its applications on the Gnome desktop operating environment -- one of the two major interface choices among open-source providers. The other is K Desktop Environment (KDE).

Eazel seeks to offer users a variety of services over the Internet.

At the moment, the company provides users with an online software catalog as well as 25M bytes of free storage space. The catalog helps users find the latest Linux applications and aims to ease the installation process of the programs. The storage space is available via any Web browser and can be used from any machine running either proprietary or open-source code, according to Eazel.

As part of Monday's deal, Eazel will include the official Red Hat Linux RPM (RPM package manager) system within its software catalog service.

Eazel, based in Mountain View, California, can be reached at +1-650-940-2000 or http://www.eazel.com/. Red Hat, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, is at +1-919-547-0012, or at http://www.redhat.com/.

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