Red Hat announced today that it will be releasing a desktop Linux distribution, named Global Desktop that is designed for small businesses and local governments in developing nations.
The announcement was one of several it made at the Red Hat Summit conference, which started today in San Diego, including a partnership with IBM under which Red Hat Linux will run on System Z mainframes.
Red Hat also announced a partnership with Intel Corp. under which Red Hat would develop systems-management software that would allow customers to create “virtual appliances” to add security or manageability to networks with systems running Intel vPro processors — which are designed to provide security functions such as remote systems monitoring and reboot that are built into the chips on a PC rather than in software that runs on top of the OS.
The more egalitarian Global Desktop will be distributed exclusively through whitebox OEM systems builders using Intel chips. It is essentially a slightly stripped-down variant of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) Desktop with most applications, such as developer tools, removed, said Scott Crenshaw, vice president of Red Hat’s enterprise Linux platform business.
The operating system would also have a shorter support life span — two years, as opposed to the seven years for RHEL Desktop. Primary support for systems sold with Global Desktop would go to the system builders, which would then be able to escalate to Intel and Red Hat as needed. Red Hat declined to say how much Global Desktop would cost to systems builders.
Global Desktop will not be available in the U.S. when it rolls out in June, but Crenshaw said it is “very likely” to be expanded later.