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Red Hat updating both Linux versions

The update for the company's Enterprise Linux product has been released with added support for x86 chips and IBM JS20 blade servers. Up next, the new release of the cutting edge Fedora.

Red Hat, the top-ranked seller of the Linux operating system, has expanded chip support for its corporate version of the open-source operating system and plans a major change to Fedora, its hobbyist product, in coming days.

In 3, Update 2, released Wednesday, the Linux seller added support for Intel's 64-bit "x86" processors and IBM's Power processor-based JS20 blade servers. In addition, the update adds 64-bit versions of developer tools for Intel's Itanium and Xeon chips and Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron.

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Red Hat also is wrapping up Fedora Core 2, the company's test bed for new technology intended to let enthusiasts and developers try out the latest software more quickly. It's free but lacks the long-term support that comes with the Enterprise Linux product.

Red Hat spokeswoman Leigh Day said the company expects to meet Friday's deadline for completion of Fedora with the new 2.6 kernel, or core. Fedora Core 2 is expected to be available for widespread download by Tuesday.

The Enterprise Linux product, in contrast, is a slower-moving product that won't get the full 2.6 kernel until 2005. Red Hat competitor Novell advocates a faster adoption of the 2.6 kernel, which among other things improves performance on multiprocessor servers.

Other changes coming with the updated enterprise edition include several bug fixes; version 1.1 of OpenOffice, a competitor to Microsoft's office; the addition of a graphical start-up process; and access to proprietary additions such as Agfa Monotype fonts, Macromedia Flash and Citrix ICA.

Separately, the Raleigh, N.C., company scrapped its paid subscription plan for Wide Open magazine. The new version will be free to those who meet qualifications and to existing subscribers.

The company had charged $35.95 for six issues annually, spokeswoman Kathryn Bishop said, and will refund subscribers.