United Linux completes beta, ready for launch

UnitedLinux LLP has completed beta testing of the first release of its open source Linux operating system and is ready to launch the product as planned next month, said company manager Paula Hunter Tuesday at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo in Frankfurt, Germany.

"We had over 15,000 downloads from our Web site by software developers, customers and partners," Hunter said. "This well exceeded our expectations and shows that there is huge interest in Linux."

Hunter declined to comment on the exact date of the launch or provide details about pricing, saying only that the company is now "packaging the product" and that any prices previously published by the media "are unofficial."

UnitedLinux Version 1.0 has been developed by the four software companies SuSE Linux AG, Caldera International Inc., TurboLinux Inc. and Conectiva SA, which in May elected to combine their development teams into one and distribute a common product.

The product will be globally available, with maintenance, support and upgrades -- but at a price. "We're in this business to make money," Hunter said.

By bringing together four companies, UnitedLinux is in a strong position to compete with Red Hat Inc., the leading distributor of Linux software, she said. "We're seeing some market consolidation in this sector and enterprises tell us this is actually good because they don't want to certify multiple products," she said. "Despite this consolidation, we believe there's sufficient choice."

Apart from price, UnitedLinux is introducing new features, such as larger memory support, to differentiate itself from the competition, Hunter said.

In September Hunter, a former executive with Xivo Corp., joined UnitedLinux LLT, in Boston, Massachusetts.

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