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Red Hat Linux

Red Hat Linux is one of the most popular distributionss of the Linux kernel and accompanying software, and is the most popular in the United States. It is assembled by Red Hat, Inc (listed on Nasdaq as RHAT).

It is one of the "middle-aged" Linux distributions; 1.0 was released in November 3, 1994. It is not as old as Slackware, but certainly older than many other distributions. It was the first Linux distribution to use RPM as its packaging format, and over time has served as the starting point for several other distributions, such as the desktop-oriented Mandrake Linux (originally no more than "Red Hat Linux with KDE"), and Yellow Dog Linux (basically "Red Hat Linux with PowerPC support"), ASPLinux (basically "Red Hat Linux with better non-Latin characters support").

Red Hat Linux used to be developed exclusively inside Red Hat, the only feedback from users would come through bug reports and contributions to the included software packages, not as contributions to the distribution as such. This was changed late in 2003 when Red Hat Linux merged with the community-based Fedora Core project. Red Hat nowadays draws most of the codebase from this project when creating new Red Hat Enterprise Linux distributions. Fedora Linux (alias Fedora Core) replaces Red Hat Linux download and boxed set version.

Table of contents
1 Market
2 Special characteristics
3 Version history
4 External links


Red Hat Linux is marketed primarily as a server operating system. It is also popular among companies running computing farms and the like as the built-in installation scripting tool "kickstart" enables fast configuring and set up of standardized hardware. With version 8.0, RedHat has also targeted the corporate desktop.

Special characteristics

Red Hat Linux is installed with a graphical installer called Anaconda, which is regarded easy to use for novices. It also has a built-in tool called Lokkit for configuring the firewall capabilities.

As of Red Hat 8.0, UTF-8 was enabled as the default font encoding for the system. This was done by switching the value of "LANG" in /etc/sysconfig/i18n from e.g. "en_US" to "en_US.UTF8". It doesn't have much effect on English-speaking users, but when using the upper part of the ISO 8859-1 character set, characters are radically different encoded compared to the old way. This has been seen by e.g. French or Swedish-speaking users as an aggressive move, because their old filesystems look very different and might be unusable afterwards. This change can be undone by removing the ".UTF-8" part of the "LANG" setting.

It is also shipped with a much critized and much applauded desktop theme called BlueCurve which looks much the same no matter if you're running it under GNOME 2 or KDE.

Red Hat Linux 8.0 and 9 are without MP3-playback abilities due to patent problems. Instead, Red Hat promotes use of superior OGG Vorbis format. MP3 support can be installed afterwards.

Version history

Fedora and Redhat Projects merged 2003-09-22. Fedora Core 1 (Yarrow), was published November 2003.

(Release dates were drawn from announcements made publicly on comp.os.linux.announce.)

External links