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October 4, 1999

Red Hat Launches Streamlined 6.1 With Star Office and LDAP

By CBR Staff Writer

By Rachel Chalmers

Red Hat Inc has announced the release of Red Hat Linux 6.1, its branded distribution of the open source operating system. Like all modern Linux distributions, Red Hat 6.1 is based on version 2.2.12 of the kernel, but Red Hat has tweaked the plain vanilla OS to make installation easier, to improve update information and access and to add new system management capabilities. Graphics-based directions should speed new users through the notoriously tricky installation process, allowing them to choose between the GNOME and KDE user interfaces and to opt for server or custom settings. Throw in software RAID integration and the new Red Hat Update Agent and you get a package aimed squarely at the business market – not to mention the OEMs that supply it. It comes as no surprise that Michael Lambert, senior VP of Dell Computer Corp’s Enterprise Systems Group, says his company plans to offer Red Hat 6.1 on products from notebooks to servers in the months ahead.

Nor is it surprising that the OS upgrade includes what Red Hat claims is the first distributed English version of Sun Microsystems Inc’s Star Office 5.1a, with word processing, email, spreadsheets, graphics, web publishing, scheduling and database management applications. There’s also a full implementation of the lightweight directory access protocol (LDAP), which should make it easier for the administrators of large networks to manage the Linux-based desktops in their care. US and Canadian customers will also be able to use 128-bit signature technology to verify the source code using Red Hat’s own public key. Red Hat says it has worked with Intel Corp to optimize version 6.1 for the Pentium II and to add support for the Wired for Management Baseline 2.0 specification. The software is available for free download or on CD priced from $29.95. Whether it will emerge as a serious challenger to Microsoft Corp’s Windows operating systems on the desktops of corporate America remains to be seen.

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