Without a lot of fanfare, the first beta of Red Hat 7.2, code named Roswell, has appeared on the company's FTP servers.
With this release, Red Hat is promising a step forward for the adoption of Linux in enterprise circles. Namely, it includes the option of Ext3 journaled file systems and continues the IA64 support. "Yes, we have products and services specifically targeted at this enterprise market," explained Paul Gampe, Product Manager, Red Hat Asia Pacific. "At the same time, we will continue to promote Red Hat Linux as a consumer operating system."
For consumers, there are a number of significant changes. GRUB has replaced LILO as the default boot loader, GNU Parted has been added as the partitioning backend and GNOME 1.4 with the Nautilus file manager is now included.
The GNOME 1.4 update causes a significant problem with this release, as the Red Hat GNOME 1.4 RPM packages are incompatible with those from Ximian - a company dedicated to improving the GNOME desktop (www.ximian.com). "We expect that this issue will be resolved by working through the open source community to encourage a convergence of both Ximian GNOME and the GNOME shipped with Red Hat Linux," said Gampe.
Regarding Red Hat's business customers, the improved installation combined with planned additional Red Hat Network functionality is expected to provide the incentive to upgrade to the final release.
Roswell consists of two binary CDs, with the sources provided on two additional CDs. The former Powertools CD, a set of additional applications not included in the standard release, has been dropped for Roswell and is unlikely to return. "Our investigation indicated that a relatively small number of customers actually used packages contained on the Powertools CD. We chose the most popular packages and added them to the main distribution," said Gampe. "We plan on making the rest of the former Powertools packages available via the Red Hat Network."