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Microsoft releases new server software kit

The software giant releases to manufacturers the final version of new software for creating special-purpose server "appliances."

Microsoft on Monday released to manufacturers the final version of new software for creating special-purpose server "appliances," and server maker RLX Technologies is the first customer using the software.

The Server Appliance Kit is software that lets server makers pluck only the software modules they need from the fuller version of Windows 2000 to make these server appliances. Linux and FreeBSD are competing operating systems used for similar jobs.

Microsoft released a beta, or test, edition of version 2.0 of the Server Appliance Kit in February. In a speech Monday at the Windows Embedded Developers Conference in Tokyo, Microsoft Chief Executive Steve Ballmer said the new version is shipping to computer makers.

The RLX System 324 is the first computer to use the software. RLX, a start-up founded by Compaq Computer server designers, is making small servers using processors from Transmeta.

RLX plans to unveil its "ultradense server design Tuesday.

Among the changes to the new version of the Microsoft kit is the addition of a customized version of WQuinn's software for monitoring storage devices. Earlier versions of Microsoft's software kit are used in servers from Dell Computer, Compaq, Maxtor and NEC.