New Linux versions from Red Hat, SuSE hit shelves

After seven months of upgrades, tweaks and adding new features, Red Hat Inc. is unveiling the latest version of its open-source Linux operating system.

In an announcement Monday, the Raleigh, N.C.-based software company said several versions of Red Hat Linux 7.3 will be available for retail sale starting May 15.

Red Hat’s news comes several weeks after competitor SuSE Linux AG of Germany released its latest version, SuSE Linux 8.0, which also included updates and new features.

The new features of Red Hat Linux 7.3 include personal firewall configuration at installation and GNU Object Model Environment (Gnome) videoconferencing software. Also included are the Evolution e-mail client and contact manager, MrProject project management software, Mozilla Web browser, Apache 1.3 Web server, PostgreSQL relational database management system; and KDE 3.0 and Gnome 1.4 desktops.

“Small businesses and enthusiasts are looking for a combination of performance, ease of use and value in their technology infrastructure, which is hard to find with today’s proprietary operating systems,” said Paul Cormier, Red Hat’s executive vice-president of engineering, in a statement. “Red Hat Linux 7.3 delivers this through a combination of open-source software, support and automated remote services for confident Internet-based computing.”

Red Hat Linux 7.3 Personal edition for individual users is priced at US$59.95, including 30 days of Red Hat Network Basic Service and Web-based support. Red Hat Linux 7.3 Professional edition, for small businesses, is priced at US$199.95, including a systems administrator’s CD, 90 days of Red Hat Network Basic Service, 60-day Web-based support and telephone support. Competitive and upgrade rebates are being offered.

The latest version of Red Hat Linux comes seven months after Red Hat 7.2 was released last October, continuing the evolution of the open-source operating system.

SuSE’s new Linux releases feature three-step installation and new security, desktop and multimedia features.

Included in SuSE Linux 8.0 is SuSE Personal Firewall 2 for added security online, while the GNU Privacy Guard allows encryption of stored e-mail files to make them available only to authorized users.

Also included is the latest KDE 3 desktop environment and the KOffice suite, featuring KWord, KSpread, KPresenter, an illustration module, and the KMail e-mail client.

SuSE Linux 8.0 Personal edition is priced at US$39.95, including 60 days of installation support, while SuSE Linux 8.0 Professional edition is priced at US$79.95, including 90 days of installation support.