Red Hat offers software assistance

Network World |  Operating Systems

Red Hat last week announced a service to simplify the administration of systems running its software, as well as a new release of its operating system.

The service, called Software Manager, is included as part of the standard installation in the new Red Hat Linux 7.1 and lets IT managers receive customized information about each computer on their networks, including virus alerts, notifications of bug fixes and software updates. The program will let managers remotely view the software configurations of each system and install or remove software. Software Manager can be manually configured over the Web or through an automated feature included in the operating system.

As more devices are connected to corporate networks, IT managers' time is becoming more valuable, says Marty Wesley, product manager for Red Hat Linux. Software Manager offers IT managers easier, more efficient administration and lets them support more machines using the same resources, he says. Red Hat expects the service will be used most by midsize companies that need the kind of support offered by the service, but can't afford to hire enough IT staff to handle it themselves, although large companies and even individuals will also use it, he says.

Software Manager will be a $20 per PC, per month subscription service, although it is available at the special price of $10 per PC, per month until Sept. 1.

Software Manager is the first service to be offered through the Red Hat Network, a technology that enables delivery of services and applications to computers running the Red Hat operating system, Wesley says. The Red Hat Network will eventually offer customers options such as subscriptions to their favorite applications, he says, which would, like Software Manager, provide them with bug fixes and updates as those become available.

Red Hat also announced the release of Red Hat Linux 7.1, the latest version of its Linux operating system. The operating system is built around the new 2.4 kernel and offers improved symmetric multiprocessing support, new configuration tools and a new installation interface.

The software is available at Red Hat's Web site and will be in retail stores tomorrow.

The operating system is offered at three price levels: $40 with technical support and Software Manager included for one system for 30 days; $80 for technical support and five Software Manager licenses for 60 days; and $180 for support and 10 Software Manager licenses for 90 days. Red Hat Linux is available as a free download at the company's Web site.

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