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Red Hat preps Linux for technical workstations

May pave way for mass-market desktop version

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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Red Hat Inc is lining up the release of an enterprise workstation version of its Advanced Server Linux operating system. To be released in the first quarter of 2003 the workstation operating system will be aimed at technical users, but could lead to a focus on the general-purpose desktop market, according to Red Hat's vice president of engineering, Paul Cormier.

Cormier said that the operating system, known as Red Hat Technical Workstation, will be built on the same code and kernel as Red Hat Linux Advanced Server, Red Hat's enterprise server operating system. It will also be available for both 32- and 64-bit environments and will subsume Red Hat's 64-bit Advanced Workstation version, which Hewlett-Packard Co offers on its zx2000 and zx6000 Intel Itanium-based workstations.

Cormier said Technical Workstation will be aimed at developers and graphical application users, and will provide an enterprise development platform for applications to be deployed on Advanced Server. "Any place you see Unix workstations today, be it for development or graphics, that's where you'll see it," he said.

An early version of Technical Workstation has been used by animation film company Dreamworks LLC as part of its Linux animation and rendering platform, which was used to produce films such as "Shrek" and "Spirit, Stallion of the Cimarron".

While Raleigh, North Carolina-based Red Hat is aiming the product at developers and electronic design automation and digital content creation markets, Cormier also said that it is likely that the technology could "bleed down into more general usage" if there is enough market demand for a more general purpose Red Hat Linux desktop.

Meanwhile, Red Hat has also announced that it has plans to extend its support for carrier-grade Linux applications on the Advanced Server operating system to make it a more suitable platform for mission-critical telecommunications applications.

The company said that enhancements will be based on the recommendations of the Open Source Develop Lab's Carrier Grade Linux Working Group, of which it is a member, along with Intel Corp, IBM Corp and HP. Carrier-grade features to be added to Advanced Server for release in mid-2003 include support for Posix compliant threading, diskless blade systems, improved systems responsiveness, and advanced debugging and systems analysis.

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