Red Hat unveiled a new version of the Linux operating system designed for the corporate desktop.
Red Hat Desktop will be a companion product to Red Hat’s current desktop offering, Red Hat Enterprise Linux WS. Red Hat Desktop will be targeted at corporate users rather than engineers, software developers, and CAD users.
Red Hat Desktop will come equipped with a selection of software, including Open Office 1.1, the Evolution mail client, the Mozilla Web browser, the Citrix ICA (Independent Computing Architecture) client, and a software management module.
The new OS should appeal to “transaction-oriented” workers, such as call-center operators. The fact that Red Hat is already familiar to enterprises will help the product gain acceptance, said Dan Kusnetzky, an analyst at IDC.
“They’re going to need partnerships with every single one of the desktop hardware suppliers,” Kusnetzky said. “If there isn’t a strong story about how Linux comes preinstalled on the desktop hardware of your choice, then Linux will not be as broadly interesting.”
The lack of popular desktop applications, namely Microsoft Office, remains an inhibitor to widespread Linux adoption, but Linux’s advantages in the areas of software management, security, and licensing costs make it appealing for some users, Kusnetzky said.
Hewlett-Packard in March announced plans to make Red Hat rival SuSE’s Linux its standard desktop distribution. HP currently supports Red Hat Linux with some of its notebooks and is planning to support Red Hat’s Linux with some of its desktop systems, but the company had no comment on whether it plans to support Red Hat Desktop, an HP representative said.
Red Hat Desktop will be available within two weeks, but no hardware vendors are ready to announce support, according to RedHat.