Red Hat set to roll out Linux 8.0

Hoping to better establish its version of Linux on the desktops of small and midsize companies, Red Hat Inc. on Monday will formally deliver Version 8.0 of the open-source operating system that features a spiffier graphical interface.

The new Bluecurve interface, based on Gnome 2.0, features themes, scroll bars and menus, and several new graphical enhancements and icons. The new version also contains a number of updated applications including the Open Office productivity suite, beefed up Evolution e-mail client, and the Mozilla browser 1.0.1.

Also included is a suite of configuration tools for setting up several different system services including Apache servers, Samba, network settings, firewall, and peripherals. The company has also included improved versions of its C compiler and operating system kernel.

"With this release we have given more attention than ever to usability," said Erik Troan, senior director of product marketing at Red Hat, in Raleigh, N.C. "We think this version shows we can deliver new functionality for hobbyists and professionals and at the same time make the product much more friendly for mainstream users."

Besides pursuing the small and midsize companies, Red Hat also plans to point the product in other directions to go after new markets that are unexplored by the company including call centers and trading.

The new product will be available at authorized retailers on Sept. 30, although users can place orders now over the Web at www.redhat.com.

The Personal Edition for single users is priced at US$39.95 and includes 30 days of Web-based support. The Professional version costs $149.95 and contains a System Administrator's CD, an Office and Multimedia Applications CD, 60 days of Red Hat Network Basic Service, and 60 days of Web-based support and telephone support.

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