Red Hat builds on top of Linux

Following the strategy of rivals such as Sun Microsystems, IBM and Microsoft, Red Hat has begun selling higher-level software that works on top of its operating system. The Red Hat Enterprise Applications suite, to be announced Monday, begins with portal server software to run customized Web sites and content management software for publishing information on such Web pages. The products run atop Red Hat's Enterprise Linux products and like the operating system, are supported through the Red Hat Network.

IBM, Microsoft and Sun also have been increasing their emphasis on higher-level software, a move that can be used to win new revenue while driving shipments of the operating system. Red Hat's chief revenue source is its Enterprise Linux operating system, which it sells in subscription form for as much as $2,499 a year. European retailer Carrefour and Germany's postal service Deutsche Post use Red Hat's Content Management System, Red Hat said. Dunkin' Donuts is using that software and Portal Server to run its northeast distribution center, the hub of a network that supplies 1,500 franchises with inventory and distribution information.

Red Hat's expansion into higher-level software began with its acquisition in 2000 of C2Net, which created the Stronghold version of the Akopia e-commerce software in 2001. Acquiring software and employees from the Ars Digita content management company in 2001 gave rise to Monday's new applications, formerly called Red Hat's content and collaboration managment products. Another part of the expansion came through the 2001 debut of the Red Hat Database.

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