Red Hat Cans Linux Distribution

Leading Linux distributor on Monday to narrow its focus on the enterprise space, telling customers that it will end its Red Hat Linux line after the end of April 2004.

Leading Linux distributor Red Hat Inc. on Monday made clear its intention to focus on the enterprise space, telling customers that it will no longer be maintaining or releasing any of the its Red Hat Linux line after the end of April 2004.

The Raleigh, N.C. firm sent its Red Hat Network customers an e-mail, informing them of the upcoming discontinuation of Red Hat Linux and providing them with "resources to assist you with your migration to another Red Hat solution.

"As previously communicated, Red Hat will discontinue maintenance and errata support for Red Hat Linux 7.1, 7.2, 7.3 and 8.0 as of December 31, 2003. Red Hat will discontinue maintenance and errata support for Red Hat 9 as of April 30 2004. Red Hat does not plan to release another product in the Red Hat Linux line," the email said.

The move is designed to push customers to migrate to Red Hats Enterprise Linux line of products, which carry an annual subscription fee.

"With the recent announcement of Red Hat Enterprise Linux v.3, youll find migrating to Enterprise Linux appealing. We understand that transitioning to another Red Hat solution requires careful planning and implementation.

"We have created a migration plan for Red Hat Network customers to help make the transition as simple and seamless as possible," the company said in the e-mail.

As an incentive to help drive customers to the more costly enterprise products, which are paid for on an annual subscription basis, Red Hat said those customers who bought its Enterprise Linux Workstation or Enterprise Server Basic product before February 28, 2004, would get two years subscription for the price of one.

The company has also created a Red Hat Linux Migration Resource Center.

A Red Hat spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

The move follows the release last month of the companys strongest financial results since its listing, on the back of strong growth in sales of an-nual subscriptions.

At that time, Kevin Thompson, Red Hats chief financial officer, said sales of annual subscriptions for Red Hat Enterprise Linux technologies grew by 10 percent, or 2,300, to about 26,000, with some 1,700 of these being new Red Hat Enterprise Linux customers. Subscription revenues from enterprise technologies grew 21 percent quarter-on-quarter and 123 percent year-over-year.

Renewal rates for the second quarter remained strong at 90 percent, Thompson said, adding that the company expects "a reasonable renewal rate of 75 percent going forward. Our strong quarterly operating results reflect the strong demand for standards-based Red Hat Enterprise Linux solutions in the en-terprise," he said.

Also at that time, Red Hat Chief Operating Officer Tim Buckley said many of the companys Red Hat Linux customers are upgrading to Enterprise Linux or have indicated that they will.

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