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Red Hat Looks Beyond Operating Systems

It's laying the groundwork for other open-source software product lines, including an application server and file-clustering software.

Linux software vendor Red Hat Inc. is laying the groundwork to expand beyond the operating system into other open-source software product lines, including an application server, file-clustering software, and other open-source middleware technology. Red Hat's upcoming Enterprise Linux 3, the next release of the company's flagship product that's due out late next month, will be the core of what the company calls an open-source architecture. Red Hat's plans were outlined by CEO Matthew Szulik and engineering executive VP Paul Cormier on Tuesday.

The strategy calls for developing open-source products that run on top of Red Hat's version of Linux. "Microsoft's approach is to stuff everything into the operating system," Cormier says. "Our approach is layering. We're taking a modular approach."

In a few weeks, Red Hat will debut file-clustering software to supplement the basic clustering capabilities already built into Linux, Cormier says. That will be followed early next year with an open-source application server based on the Tomcat open-source app server and incorporating technology Red Hat is developing with the ObjectWeb consortium. New open-source provisioning software, used when setting up a server, will be ready around the same time, Cormier says.

The goal is to make it easier for customers to assemble a Linux-based IT architecture, Szulik says. Noting that integration services is a $6 billion to $8 billion annual business, he adds: "I think customers are getting tired of that [integration] challenge."

Next month, Red Hat will debut a slimmed-down version of Linux for blade servers and computing appliances. The company is also revving up a program called Fedora to put newly developed technology online that will give customers a chance to test and even add to the products.

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