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Red Hat unveils new support network for users
(IDG) -- Calling it one of the most significant announcements in its short history, Red Hat on Monday unveiled Red Hat Network, an Internet-based subscription service that will deliver open-source software innovations, upgrades, and security features direct to developers and users.
Some of the key features of the network, which will be part of all Red Hat services offerings by December of this year, include: customizable update management services that keep systems secure during rapid open-source development cycles; use of Red Hat's RPM Package Manager for packaging source code into source and binary forms; and a number of support services from experts across the open source community.
"The Red Hat Network is a connection between the user's machine and Red Hat, where customers can receive a managed stream of innovation coming down the pipe. They also have access to a variety of management services such as security, performance, and system health monitoring," said Paul McNamara, vice president of Products and Platforms at Red Hat, based in Durham, N.C.
With some functional similarities to the online data base jointly announced by IBM, Microsoft, and Ariba earlier this month, the Red Hat Network will serve as a central warehouse where developers can register information on their hardware and software systems, enabling other developers to better pursue joint projects.
McNamara feels the network will serve as a platform for the exchange of open-source components, a way to "process" those raw materials into something that is useful and available to the entire community.
McNamara said as updates become available, developers with an interest in particular updates are automatically notified. Customers are then given a range of choices as to how they want to receive those updates including declining it, downloading it for the purposes of evaluating it later, or installing it directly on a server or desktop system direct from the network.
The first major component of the network will be its software delivery and updates feature, which will be available starting next week, company officials said.
Developers will be able to create subgroups such as the ability to put all of their file and print servers in one group and their Web servers in another. This makes it easier to apply patches and upgrades to a particular sub group. Companies can also manage an entire subgroup from a single image, according to McNamara.
"If you have 1,000 geographically dispersed file and print servers, you can manage them as a single image," he said.
The company will also announce next week a 60-day free trial of the Red Hat Network, available through www.redhat.com , that will include access to directory services, outbound user notifications, an automated stream of open-source software, and access to community support forums.
Individual proactive subscription services for information and technology will cost as low as $9.95 a month. Small companies can receive network features as part of an integrated technical support offering, with prices starting at $400 per year per system. Larger companies can buy service packages that feature the network and options for 24-hour technical support and broad systems management capabilities starting at $500 per system annually.
In concert with its Network, the company will also announce Version 7.0 of Red Hat Linux, with several new features including an enhanced version of Xfree86, which offers significantly better 3D graphics support, USB support for printers, mice, keyboards and scanners, OpenSSL for more secure communication over the Web, and a more customizable desktop environment.
The new version, which can take advantage of the upcoming 2.4 version of the Linux kernel, is available in three versions: Red Hat 7 Standard Edition is priced at $29.95 and comes with 60 days Web support; The Deluxe Edition, which costs $79.95 and comes with 90 days Web support, and Red Hat Linux 7 Professional Edition, which lists for $179.95 and comes with 90 days Web support, 180 days of Red Hat Network support, and 30 days phone support.
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