Red Hat introduces new version of Linux

Red Hat Inc. on Wednesday introduced Red Hat Linux 3.0, the newest addition to its Open Source Architecture platform, and according to one analyst, its improved support for Java and threads will have many Red Hat users making an upgrade.

According to Raleigh, N.C.-based Red Hat, one of the key features of its new Red Hat Linux is its ability to support seven hardware architectures: Intel X86, Intel Itanium, AMD AMD64 and IBM zSeries, iSeries, pSeries and S/390.

Other features included in version 3.0 are: use of the latest stable Linux kernel; a new multi-threading capability to improve performance for multi-threaded applications; and enhanced Java implementations from BEA Systems Inc., IBM Corp. and Sun Microsystems Inc.

Stacey Quandt, a principal analyst at Open Source Development Lab (OSDL) said that a number of organizations will upgrade to Red Hat’s Linux 3, in particular those organizations that are looking for better thread support.

“Red Hat provides support for the Native Posix Threading Library, which will enable improvements in scalability for running databases and application servers,” Quandt said.

She added that Red Hat’s support for multiple 64GB platforms is a key advantage and places pressure on Sun and Microsoft Corp.

Although Red Hat 3.0 is an opportunity for the company to migrate Unix and Windows users to its version of Linux, Quandt said final migration decisions will depend on a company’s workload requirements including performance, scalability, manageability and availability.

“Red Hat 3.0 offers performance features that will be attractive to users who want to consolidate workloads currently running on larger Unix systems,” Quandt explained.

She added that for users who need to scale a workload beyond eight-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP), Unix is still the way to go, and that in general it is much harder to port Windows applications to Linux.

“Migrations from Windows to Linux usually take place when there is a cultural environment at the CTO (chief technical officer) and CIO (chief information officer) level that is amenable to open source software,” she added.

According to Red Hat, its Linux 3.0 is available as part of an annual subscription that includes Red Hat Network and services. Current network subscribers can upgrade now via Red Hat Network.

There is also some light at the end of the Red Hat Linux tunnel in terms of cost, according to Quandt, because Red Hat has been known to negotiate.

“While the high-end of Red Hat AS 2.1 was originally priced at approximately US$2,500 per system I have heard of organizations negotiating deals of US$300 per system.”

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