October 26, 2001, 12:00 AM — Linux vendor Red Hat Inc. on Monday updated its Red Hat Linux operating
systems for consumer PCs and for business workstations and servers.
Both operating systems use the Linux 2.4.7 kernel and the GNOME 1.4
desktop environment. Red Hat also announced pricing for its upcoming
Red Hat Embedded Linux Developer Suite, setting the price at US$2,500.
The Linux 2.4.7 kernel makes the open-source operating system more
scalable by improving its performance in computers with more than one
processor, expanding its system memory up to 64G bytes and using Ext3
journaling and a logical volume manager to better manage large file
systems. It also has advanced power management features. The 2.4 Linux
kernel was released by Linux creator Linus Torvalds in January.
The updated Red Hat consumer Linux flavor, Red Hat Linux 7.2, comes
with improved USB (Universal Serial Bus) support, the GNOME and KDE
desktop environments, game demo software, a Nautilus file manager from
Eazel Inc. and a Mozilla Web browser. It also comes bundled with Sun
Microsystems Inc.'s StarOffice 5.2 office applications, and compilers
for C, C++, Java, Python, Perl, and PHP interpreters.
The GNOME 1.4 open source desktop used by Red Hat isn't perfectly
compatible with the version developed by open source software vendor
Ximian Inc., said Marty Wesley, a Red Hat product manager. "We're both
pulling from the GNOME base, but from a different point in time," he
said. Ximian tends to use later versions of GNOME in order to stay
cutting edge, while Red Hat tends to work longer on its GNOME products
in order to improve stability, he said.
Linux isn't perceived as user friendly when compared to the Apple
Computer Inc. or Microsoft Corp. desktop environments -- an issue the
open-source community has tried to address with the GNOME project for
an open-source desktop. Just as Red Hat banks on Linux, Ximian Inc.
banks on GNOME, producing its own flavor of the Linux-compatible
As Red Hat's modifications to GNOME are published under the GNU General
Public License (GPL), the two versions will grow more compatible, he
said. "Ximian tends to stay a little closer to the tip of the tree ...
but all of these branches eventually fold back into the trunk."
The updated operating sytem for business PCs and servers, called Red
Hat Linux Professional, comes with everything in the consumer version,
along with Web server applications software, application development
tools, an e-commerce package, workstation applications including Adobe
Systems Inc.'s Acrobat reader and IBM Corp.'s Java Run Time
Environment. It also comes with system administrator software and two
months of support, along with a six month subscription to Red Hat
Network Software Manager for one system.
Red Hat plans to release an advanced server version of Red Hat Linux
7.2 for data center use within the next six months.