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Red Hat Rolls at Home And Abroad

Red Hat is bolstering its product lineup with a pair of new initiatives that will expand the Linux vendor's desktop efforts and add a new virtual appliance to the product mix.

The new client-facing efforts come as Red Hat contends with pressures from Dell pre-loading Ubuntu Linux and Novell and Microsoft continuing to make hay about customer wins as a result of their collaboration.

But that doesn't scare Red Hat's CEO Matthew Szulik.

As part of the company's effort to further improve and expand its competitive positioning, it announced today it would soon be rolling out a new Global Desktop effort, though details are sketchy at best.

According to Red Hat, the new Global Desktop will run on a wide range of hardware with minimal system requirements. It will be built off of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Desktop 5 release that came out in March as part of Red Hat's platform update.

As part of the new Red Hat roadmap for the desktop, the Linux vendor also announced that in the future it intends to roll out, "a new model for protecting the privacy of critical data."

On the management side, Red Hat announced that it is working on building an appliance operating system that will support Intel's vPro technology.

The new appliance OS will enable enterprises to roll out software appliances in a virtual machine and still have full manageability of the environment. The plan is to have the appliance OS be able to handle items such as provisioning, monitoring and network security by working in tandem with Intel's vPro.

Red Hat also revealed some details about how well it is doing in overseas markets.

In China where Linux is on the rise according to a recent analyst report, Red Hat is doing particularly well.

Alex Pinchev, executive vice president of worldwide sales at Red Hat in an afternoon conference call from the Red Hat User Summit, said that Red Hat had recently won the China Construction Bank, which is the second-largest bank in China, as a customer.

Red Hat is also making waves in Germany, which is the home of Novell SUSE Linux development. Pinchev said he could not even count the number of SUSE customers in Germany that have moved to Red Hat.

Red Hat's boisterous claims come as Novell and Microsoft have issued a new claim of their own. The companies said an additional 12 customers had bought into the Novell Microsoft intellectual property and interoperability deal, which has already seen Microsoft resell some 40,000 Novell SUSE Linux subscriptions, according to Novell. And earlier this week, Dell announced it will also be purchasing Novell subscriptions from Microsoft.

"Is competition increasing?" Szulik asked rhetorically in an afternoon analyst conference call from the Red Hat user summit. "Hell Yeah! There was a time when I thought we would be a category leader in a category of one. "

In Szulik's view, the increased competition validates the market in which Red Hat operates.

"There was a time at a Linux expo when it was just myself and 12 other hackers across the table, and that was the Red Hat Summit."