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Dell to increase Linux support

Getting Linux on a Dell Computer server or workstation will get easier next week when the company announces a broader deal with Red Hat Software.

Getting Linux on a Dell Computer server or workstation will get easier next week when Dell and Red Hat Software announce that specific Dell servers and workstations have been certified to run Red Hat's version of Linux.

As reported yesterday, the Round Rock, Texas-based computer maker, among other hardware vendors, is working with Red Hat to ensure that its hardware will be compatible with the increasingly popular Linux operating system, especially on hardware destined for small and medium-sized organizations.

Red Hat distributes a commercial version of Linux, a free or low-cost variant of the Unix operating system.

Under the alliance, Red Hat will announce that specific configurations of two Dell servers--the PowerEdge 1300 and PowerEdge 2300--have been certified to work with Red Hat's Linux, said a Dell spokesman. In other words, customers can get these specific configurations and not have to worry about incompatibility.

Red Hat will also certify configurations of the 410 and 610 Dell Precision workstation containing a Diamond Multimedia graphics subsystem.

Dell already sells copies of Red Hat's software through its DellWare program and will install Red Hat through its DellPlus program. Certification essentially will smooth out doubt regarding compatibility.

Although Dell has offered Red Hat products for some time, the program represents a small historical break with Microsoft. Windows operating systems have largely been the OSes of choice at Dell. The Precision 410, for instance, comes with Windows 95, 98, or NT as a standard feature. The Precision 610 comes with Windows NT.

Dell servers have largely been promoted as being compatible with Windows NT or Novell's Netware.