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12/9/2009
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Red Hat Open-Sources Virtualization Protocol

The SPICE protocol is designed to improve desktop virtualization for bandwidth-intensive applications, such as video or voice over IP.

Red Hat released to the open source community its SPICE protocol for virtual desktops.

SPICE, or Simple Protocol for Independent Computing Environment, is a core component in the Linux distributor's Enterprise Virtualization for Desktops product, which is currently in beta and is scheduled for general availability next year. Red Hat took possession of SPICE in the September 2008 acquisition of Qumranet.

The technology is designed for desktops which use remote servers for data processing. SPICE improves the user experience when rendering bandwidth-intensive applications, such as video or voice over IP.

"The SPICE protocol is designed to optimize performance by automatically adapting to the graphics and communications environment that it is running in, so vendors have a terrific opportunity to enhance it for their specific applications," Brian Stevens, chief technology officer at Red Hat, said in a statement released Wednesday.

As a Linux distributor, Red Hat's release of technology to the open source community is not unusual, given its close collaboration with the group on product development. In fact, the company in October filed a friend of the court brief with the U.S. Supreme Court, asking it to uphold a lower court's ruling that software isn't patentable.

Last month, Red Hat jumped into the virtualization management field with the introduction of Enterprise Virtualization Manager for Servers. The centralized management system is aimed at IT shops virtualizing servers based on the KVM hypervisor built into Linux.

Red Hat added support for KVM, or kernel virtual machine, in Enterprise Linux 5.4, which the company released in September. Red Hat also offers a stand-alone version of the KVM hypervisor and a drastically slimmed down version of RHEL 5.4 for server virtualization projects.

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