Red Hat to open management software

Red Hat is arguably the most enthusiastic commercial advocate of open-source software. But one component of the company's technology, the software that powers its online update service, isn't.

That's going to change starting this year, according to Rich Friedman, director of product management.

Red Hat has begun a project to build a new management system that will work both with the Red Hat Network that keeps Red Hat Enterprise Linux up to date and with the JBoss Operations Network that does the same for the company's Java server software.

"The two teams are coming together to define the architecture," Friedman said, adding that the first fruits of the project will begin emerging this year.

Given that the technology is central to Red Hat's lucrative subscription-based support business, an open-source technology to distribute software to thousands of customers could be helpful for others trying to duplicate the Linux seller's approach.

Matt Asay, vice president of marketing for open-source document management software company Alfresco, reported Red Hat's move on his blog.

The RHN project employs software to which doesn't have Red Hat open-source rights, Friedman said. JBoss ON uses the open-source Hyperic systems management software. It's possible the Red Hat project will include existing open-source components.

Given the cooperative nature of the open-source realm, Red Hat's move could help others with similar challenges. That includes Asay.

"We've been looking for something so that we don't have to build our own," Asay said in an interview.

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