SAN JOSE, Calif. Red Hat Inc., the open-source Linux vendor, announced at the Embedded Systems Conference this week an Internet-based service for deploying and managing open source platforms. The Red Hat Network service will be available starting in December.
Red Hat said said the service will be the glue that links complete end-to-end solutions, from handheld devices to servers, with a common set of APIs.
"There are companies today who are building, with conventional OSes, so-called Internet appliances that don't have the intrinsic manageability and don't have the connection to open source that will enable the continuous rate of innovation we've seen in the Linux realm," said Michael Tiemann, chief technology officer at Red Hat (Durham, N.C.). "With embedded Linux the operating system problem has been solved, so now it's important to focus to the next great challenge, which is, once you've actually developed and deployed that application, how can you manage that application."
Red Hat Network will be a part of all Red Hat service offerings. Its features include customizable update management services, security evaluation, plus notification and analysis services intended to help system administrators maintain the security of their networks. Red Hat Network also includes a Web-based management interface for remote management, and provides customizable preferences for security alerts, and technical support to improve system administrator productivity and enhance the security, reliability and performance of networked systems.
In announcing the service to the press at the Embedded System Conference this week, Red Hat and some of its partners discussed the goals of Red Hat Network. Tiemann said the goal is to ease the process of maintaining and updating the software of Internet appliances. The service allows a customer whether the Internet service provider, or an OEM, or even an end customer to select an update policy, a security policy, and a monitoring policy to build into a system, then have Red Hat deliver those services.
Among those participating in the briefing were Ericsson, which announced a partnership with Red Hat in August to develop a range of non-PC home communication products. Frank McGee, product manager at Ericsson, described how Red Hat Network fits into the development of products like Ericsson's Screen Phone, which embeds the Red Hat Linux operating system.
The Screen Phone is a wireless Web pad with built-in telephony capability that connects to broadband links via a Bluetooth interface. "We went to Linux for this device, because this is a new space not a laptop, not a PC," said McGee. "We see a lot of applications for being able to talk back to the network, especially with the roll out of broadband. As broadband accelerates in the home, it's always on. So then this device is always wirelessly linked to the Internet. We think that's going to enable a lot of new applications. Services like Red Hat Network help support rapid updates of software and applications, and manageability is going to be key to make platforms like the ScreenPhone cost-effective."
Red Hat sees Internet service providers and cable providers as key markets for Red Hat Network.
Red Hat is offering a 60-day free trial of Red Hat Network for all users of Red Hat Linux 7. Services available during the 60-day free trial period include update management services, intended to keep systems secure and functional during rapid Internet discovery and development cycles. Customizable preferences will also be provided for notification of security issues, bug fixes and functional enhancements from Red Hat.
Red Hat Network is available now to all Red Hat Linux 7 users, and functionality will soon be added for Red Hat Linux 6.2 users. Beginning in December, Red Hat Network features will be integrated with all of Red Hat's service offerings. All Red Hat Linux users will be able to access certain levels of Red Hat Network for free, and greater levels of the service will be available for Red Hat's service customers.