A New Feather In Red Hat

Just because Red Hat's leaders are billionaires doesn't mean that they've stopped working. On Oct.

Just because Red Hat's leaders are billionaires doesn't mean that they've stopped working. On Oct. 4, Red Hat Software released the newest Linux distribution: Red Hat Linux 6.1.

While lagging behind its major competitors, Caldera Systems, SuSE, and TurboLinux (all of which released minor upgrades earlier this year), Red Hat's newest release, based on the 2.12 kernel, raises the Linux operating-system standard a trifle higher.

That new Linux joins the others in featuring a newer, easier installation routine. If you do desk installations, you'll love that. But what, if it works as advertised, will prove more interesting is Red Hat's inclusion of Intel Preboot Execution Environment (PXE) 2.0 technology. PXE, as part of Intel's Wired for Management Baseline 2.0, is supposed to enable a network administrator to remotely configure systems, with a PXE compliant BIOS, from a bare hard drive to a functioning Red Hat system without lifting a finger at the local workstations. The potential timesaving for mass Red Hat Linux installations is obvious.

Red Hat's close working relationship with Intel is apparent in other ways. Red Hat Linux 6.1 is the first distribution to come out with Intel-blessed kernel optimizations for the Pentium III. Indeed, you can install Red Hat 6.1 out of the box in a default configuration that's been optimized for the Pentium III Xeon.

Network administrators will also be glad to see additional RAID support, more Lightweight Directory Access Protocol integration, and, for U.S. and Canadian customers only, 128-bit secure signature technology using Red Hat's own public-key infrastructure.

For end users, the news is that this version includes Sun's first version of Star Office 5.1a. In addition, that version makes it much easier for users to decide between GNOME, KDE, server or custom interface settings.

At the same time, other companies, like Magic Software with its Magic for Linux Enterprise Server V.8.3, are continuing to move their programs first to Red Hat Linux and then other Linux distributions. This fourth-generation language tool will aid developers in moving enterprise level applications from such platforms as the AS/400 to Linux, or vice-versa.

Red Hat 6.1 is currently only available via ftp from Red Hat's ftp site. Shrink-wrapped versions will be available direct and through channel partners by Oct. 18.