The Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 beta, posted on the company's servers for download Monday, is the company's first official release to include the Linux 2.6 kernel. Red Hat has also incorporated the version 2.6 kernel in its general-purpose Fedora Core 2 offering, a community-based Linux distribution that does not include technical support.
Novell's SuSE division is the only other major Linux developer to offer an enterprise Linux distribution based on the version 2.6 kernel. The company released its SuSE Enterprise Linux Server 9 distribution in August.
The Linux 2.6 kernel, released for production in December 2003, was the first major kernel upgrade in almost three years.
The beta is available in four versions, including the Red Hat Linux AS, ES and WS server distributions and the Red Hat Desktop client. The beta also supports the company's Security Enhanced Linux (SELinux) distribution. The beta release is available for Intel x86-compatible systems as well as systems using 64-bit Intel, AMD and IBM processors.
Besides incorporating the Linux 2.6.8 kernel, the Red Hat Enterprise 4 beta includes the Gnome 2.8 user interface along with the OpenOffice 1.1.2 office suite, the Evolution 1.5.94 email client, and current versions of the Mozilla, Firefox and Epiphany Web browsers. The beta also includes the gcc 3.4.1 and GNU libc 2.3.3 software development tools.