Red Hat Inc. Monday announced the availability of its Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 beta, code-named Nahant.
This is the first public beta of Red Hats next-generation enterprise Linux operating system. It is also the first version RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) to appear that is based on the Linux 2.6 kernel.
Before this, Fedora Core 2, Red Hats community-based Linux, was the companys only 2.6-based offering. However, Fedora, a general-purpose Linux distribution, comes with no technical support. Its audience is not the enterprise, but rather Linux users who are willing to put in the time to make the most of a cutting-edge Linux distribution.
The RHEL 4 beta, however, is a preview of Red Hats next suite of desktop and server enterprise operating systems.
Novell Inc.s SuSE Linux division became the first major U.S. enterprise Linux distributor to bring a 2.6-kernel based Linux with its August release of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.
According to Red Hat spokesperson, Leigh Day, Red Hat expects the production version of RHEL 4 to ship in early 2005.
RHEL 4 beta includes updated versions of many major system components. The Linux Kernel 2.6.8 is the foundation for this new distribution with GNOME 2.8 as the basis of its user interface. For office use, the beta comes with the OpenOffice.org 1.1.2 office suite, the Evolution 1.5.94 e-mail client and, for Web browsing, a choice of Mozilla 1.7.2, Firefox 0.9.3, and Epiphany 1.3.8.
For developers, it comes with gcc 3.4.1 and the GNU libc 2.3.3. Red Hat will be tracking bugs in this beta distribution with its Bugzilla system.
This release supports most of Red Hats hardware platforms, including the 32-bit x86-compatible; 64-bit AMD64 and Intel EM64T; and 64-bit Intel Itanium2 families. It also supports IBMs 64-bit eServer iSeries and pSeries and Power (ppc64) lines, as well as IBMs mainframe 31-bit IBM S/390 and 64-bit IBM eServer zSeries (s390x) families.
The distribution also supports all three of RHELs server families and the Red Hat Desktop.
RHEL 4 Beta 1 is available for download via FTP and the Red Hat Network.. Beta testers are required to login with a valid Red Hat Network account or create a new one before they can download the operating system.
Red Hat will be updating Nahant throughout the beta and it is strongly encouraging testers to register their system at installation time, and use the Red HatUpdate Agent to keep test systems up-to-date with the latest beta packages.