Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 Desktop, which is expected to ship later this year, offers an improved desktop with enhanced graphics, OpenOffice 2.0, support for the Oasis file format, a new Access-like database application, improved wireless support and improved compatibility with Microsoft Office, according to a Red Hat document released at the company's recent summit.
RHEL 5 Desktop, the first major upgrade of the corporate desktop since version 4 shipped in January 2005, is based upon the Fedora 5 code. Fedora 5 was made available on the Web in March.
One IBM partner said obstacles to deployment remain, but added customers are beginning to grasp that Linux offers them a strong cost saving and tighter security on the desktop.
"I see many opportunities with clients that are looking to get away from the Microsoft desktop and Office," said Frank Basanta, director of technology at Systems Solutions, New York. "The only problems that can arise are where they are running a specific vertical market application that only runs on Windows."