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Red Hat: RHEL 5 Just the Beginning

Though Red Hat  has just released a massive upgrade to its Enterprise Linux, there are plenty of more announcements in the works including greater interoperability and a possible appliance model.

In fact there was even so much new stuff to cover, that Red Hat didn't even tell the world in its launch event everything that they were launching.

While the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5 (RHEL 5) release day activities were focused on the server, Red Hat is also rolling out a new desktop as well.

Mike Evans, Red Hat's vice president of partner development told internetnews.com that while the desktop wasn't a big part of the launch day discussions the RHEL 5 Desktop and Workstation edition did in fact launch the same day as their server cousins.

"Over the next several months we'll be saying more about our thoughts and plans but there are updated products available for Desktop now," Evans said.

In the next several months Red Hat will likely have lots of desktop related news in fact, with a good chunk of it related to interoperability with Microsoft Windows systems.

At the end of the launch day event, Red Hat's vice president of engineering Paul Cormier, revealed a bit of the company's future plans.

"A large part of the Samba team has come over to Red Hat in the last few months. That team is working with our directory team [and] you're going to see us to do a lot more work with interoperability in the coming months," Cormier said.

Samba is the open source application that enables file and print services sharing from Windows to Linux. It is also a key part of the November Microsoft Novell deal on interoperability and patents. Samba developers have spoken out about the deal and apparently they are siding with Red Hat.

"We're going to make it so it is just seamless interoperability between our directory and Microsoft Active Directory and Samba will be the lynchpin for that," Cormier said. "You'll see this support start to come in the RHEL 5 subscription stream as it's a big focus area for us."

Red Hat updates its Enterprise Linux with additional features over the course of its supported lifespan. RHEL 4 was actually recently upgraded to include additional virtualization support.

Red Hat is also very interested in the software appliance marketplace. Linux vendor rPath, which was founded by former Red Hat executives is making hay in that area and it's something that has not escaped Red Hat's notice. "We're already working with VMware on it and we're talking with ISV partners and end customers to see what the interest and demand is," Evans told internetnews.com. "I would expect that you'll see more noise from us in the whole software appliance area."

"We think it's an exciting area. It'll probably take some time to play out and will be an incremental gain as people see value in doing it," Evans added. "We think it's a very interesting model for the future."