SAN JOSE, Calif. – In a sign that demand is growing for alternatives to Microsoft Corp.’s Windows software, Red Hat Inc. will release a version of the Linux operating system and other programs tailored for desktop computers in corporations, universities and government agencies.
Red Hat Desktop, announced Tuesday in London, will be targeted at organizations that are looking to upgrade their PCs but don’t want or need all the features that ship with the latest version of Windows, said Matthew Szulik, Red Hat’s chief executive.
“These organizations now, for the very first time, have an alternative to the historical Microsoft-desktop paradigm,” he said.
Red Hat Desktop includes the Linux operating system, a Web browser and office productivity tools. It’s entirely open-source software, meaning the underlying code is developed, freely distributed and improved upon by a worldwide network of programmers.
Szulik said Red Hat Desktop is less expensive to administer and more secure than Microsoft’s offerings. It will cost on average about $5 a month per machine, with additional support services available, he said.
“What we wanted to was make sure that we were able to build a product that solved economic problems for customers,” he said.
Linux today is much more widely used as a server operating system than a desktop OS, but observers expect it to start gaining momentum on the PC. Novell Inc.’s SuSE Linux distribution and Sun Microsystems Inc.’s Java Desktop System also target desktop computers.
Szulik said Red Hat Desktop will not be targeted at consumers.