Dell Computer Corp. on Wednesday began shipping its entire line of Dell PowerEdge servers with the most recent version of Red Hat Inc.’s Linux operating system preinstalled.

The company will also install Red Hat 7.1 on selected Dell Precision workstations, Dell said in a statement. Red Hat 7.1 includes Symmetric Multiprocessor (SMP) support, which is optimized for machines with up to eight processors, Dell said.

Large vendors have thrown increasing support behind the open-source operating system. Last month, Compaq Computer Corp. announced a series of programs to get Linux developers working on applications for everything from servers to PDAs (personal digital assistants). Meanwhile IBM Corp., a Linux advocate, recently said that it would pump US$1 billion into its own Linux business.

Now that the industry giants are supporting Linux, more and more IT managers are taking closer look at the operating system. Last year Linux-based servers generated $1.7 billion in revenue, a 132 per cent increase from 2000, analyst firm International Data Corp. said.

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