Linux distribution makers say it will be several months before an enterprise-ready operating system based on the 2.6 version of the Linux core will be released.

Chris Mason, a SuSE Linux software developer, confirmed the company will release

Enterprise Server 9 by late spring – a few months before Red Hat Software Inc., the world’s largest Linux distributor.

Asked why SuSE plans to go to market ahead of Red Hat, Mason said: “As part of us getting the jump on Red Hat for release dates, it’s a burden on us to make sure that we have everything right.”

Red Hat will distribute the 2.6 kernel for free in a general purpose operating system through The Fedora Project in the beginning of the year. Enterprise Linux 4, the company’s product available through the channel, will launch in the fall, said Leigh Day, Red Hat spokesperson.

“We need to take time to test and harden the technology to make sure that it’s fully integrated into the distribution,” Day explained.

Jim Elliott, IBM Canada’s Linux advocate, said the company will start its formal testing of the enterprise versions for hardware and software certification when it gets the beta versions from SUSE and Red Hat early this year. As for product release dates, Elliott estimated a launch probably sometime late third quarter or early fourth quarter.

Two days before the 2.6 kernel was announced, on Dec. 16, Novell Inc., whose US$210 million merger with SuSE is expected to be completed this month, released Nterprise Linux Services 1.0 as an alternative to Windows servers.

“By offering our customers the choice of running traditional NetWare services on the Netware or Linux kernel, there will be a lot more happy customers regardless of the platform they choose,” said Kevan Barney, a Novell spokesperson.

Nterprise Linux Services runs on NetWare and Linux platforms and provides users with integrated file, print, messaging, directory and management services. The software bundle is available through Novell resellers at US $59 per user.


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