Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 to support Indian languages

Red Hat Inc.’s Enterprise Linux 4 products, scheduled for release early next year, will support five Indian languages, reflecting the growing importance of the Indian market, according to an executive of the Raleigh, N.C.-based Linux company.

“Enterprise Linux 4 will support 15 languages, and the five new ones will be Indian languages,” said Michael Ferris, product manager for Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux. “Our intent is to support these (Indian) languages not only in the software, but to also offer localized phone support in these languages.”

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3 products support 10 languages, including traditional and simplified Chinese.

Red Hat sees a great opportunity in India for Linux desktop deployments in education, e-governance, and small and medium-size enterprises, Ferris added.

Ferris was in Bangalore, India, Wednesday for an Asia-Pacific regional tour by Red Hat executives to brief the IT and business communities on open-source software’s benefits.

Red Hat announced Monday the availability of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux Version 4 Beta 1, code-named Nahant, and described this public beta as a preview of the next generation of Red Hat’s suite of enterprise operating systems, including its desktop Linux product.

Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 will be the first Red Hat Enterprise Linux release based on the 2.6 version of the Linux kernel. The current version 3 of Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux products is based on the 2.4 version of the Linux kernel. Although the 2.6 version of the Linux kernel has been available since last December, Linux vendors have been slow in bringing products to market based on the new kernel.

“Our focus has always been to release technology that we believe is enterprise quality and is ready to be adopted by customers,” said Ferris, adding that Enterprise Linux 3 has features from the 2.6 version of the Linux kernel.

“Because of our close relationship with the open-source community we watch what is happening in upstream versions of the kernel,” Ferris said. “So when we released Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3, we knew what was coming in the soon-to-be-released 2.6 kernel and we back-ported most of the major features from 2.6 into 2.4. These were features that our customers were requesting, and we thought were ready for prime-time release.”

Security is a primary focus of Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux 4, which will include support for security-enhanced Linux (SELinux) technology, Ferris said. Red Hat is working with the U.S. National Security Agency on SELinux, he added.

“We are building security into the platform, rather than merely protect it with firewalls and other environments,” Ferris said.

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