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Red Hat releases version 7.3

The new version of the operating system includes access to experts and the Red Hat Network, as well as features such as videoconferencing and personal firewall software.

Red Hat released a new version of its Linux operating system Monday that is aimed at educators and small businesses.

Red Hat Linux version 7.3 adds to the company's current open-source operating system offerings with new features that include personal firewall configuration, and installation and video-conferencing software.

The new version also includes Web and telephone access to experts and the Red Hat Network--an automated Internet service for managing Red Hat Linux systems.

The company, which sells services and support for the ever-evolving Linux OS, said its new software also includes Mozilla, an open-source Web browser technology that competes with Microsoft's Internet Explorer, and an Apache 1.3 Web server.

Red Hat has been homing in on the server market and targeting larger businesses with Apache. GNOME (GNU Network Object Model Environment) video-conferencing software, MrProjects project management software and PostgreSQL database management are some of the version's other features.

The new software will be available on May 15, and orders are being taken as of Monday. A version for nonbusiness consumers will retail for $59.95, which includes 30 days of Red Hat Network service and Web-based support. A professional version for small business will sell for of $199.95, which adds a systems administrator's CD, 90 days of Red Hat Network service, and 60-days of Web-based and telephone support.

Red Hat will also upgrade customers by offering a $20 discount on Red Hat Linux 7.3 Professional, and $10 off Red Hat Linux 7.3 Personal.