July 29, 2003 4:45 PM PDT

Red Hat releases high-end Linux beta

Linux seller Red Hat has begun beta testing for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0, its next high-end product due to ship this fall with support for several new servers.

Red Hat released the test version, called Taroon, last week, and the Linux company plans to release the final product this fall, spokeswoman Leigh Day said. The current product, version 2.1, supports servers and workstations with Intel Xeon and Pentium processors, but 3.0 will expand to include systems based on Intel's Itanium and AMD's Opteron and to all four of IBM's server lines.

The broader server support will catch Red Hat up to its smaller competitor, SuSE, whose Linux products already supports those servers. The vast majority of Linux installations, however, run on systems with Intel's Pentium or Xeon processors, analysts say.

Red Hat in 2002 split its product line into two main versions, Red Hat Enterprise Linux for business users and Red Hat Linux for hobbyists. Red Hat Enterprise Linux changes more slowly to make it easier for software and hardware companies to support it, includes higher-end features, costs more, and comes with better support. Meanwhile, Red Hat Linux is still available for free, changes more quickly, and has become a mechanism to help new technologies mature faster.

The new version is available on the company's FTP site. Taroon is named after a developer's home town--a nomenclature also used in the naming of previous Red Hat versions code-named Guinness and Pensacola, Day said.


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