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DistributionWatch Review: Red Hat Linux 6.1 - page 3

Red Hat Linux: A Mainstream Linux

  • December 6, 1999
  • By Kevin Reichard
All three editions of Red Hat Linux 6.1 feature kernel version 2.2.12-20, GNOME 1.0.39, XFree86 3.3.5-3, Netscape Communicator 4.61-12 and KDE 1.1. The documentation is in three volumes: a smallish (80 pages including a padded Preface and the index) Installation Guide, a 354-page Getting Started volume and a 482 page Reference Guide. Don't let the fat page counts fool you: the type on the pages is absurdly large, rivaling that of the Large Type edition of The New York Times for the sight-impaired. While Microsoft and Apple both do a pretty poor job of supplying documentation for their operating systems, there's no reason why Red Hat Linux couldn't have done better, and presented more in-depth documentation.

If you've purchased an official copy of Red Hat Linux, you're entitled to technical support. This is another area where Red Hat Linux is distinct from other Linux distributions. Getting any sort of support for the $29.95 piece of software is a plus, and offering 30 days of phone-based installation support for the Deluxe and Server editions puts Red Hat Software among the leaders in the Linux space--but somewhat short of the more liberal help offerings from Microsoft, Apple and most hardware vendors, whose phone-based support is measured in years, not days. (Again, this is a situation where Red Hat Linux must be judged on two different levels.) Additionally, Red Hat informs registered users about new RPMs and products via e-mail and a monthly newsletter.

Red Hat Linux comes in Alpha and SPARC editions, as well as French, German, Italian, and Japanese versions.

We're not going to cover all the packages included with Red Hat Linux 6.1 (if you're interested, you can read a list here), but some unique highlights include AfterStep 1.7.142-1, action (a movie player for KDE), AnotherLevel (a customized fvwm2 configuration), Apache Web server, APM BIOS utilities for laptops, a host of shells (including ash, bash, pdksh, sash, tsh, and zsh), auth_ldap (an LDAP authentication module for Apache), cdparanoia-alpha9.6-1, cleanfeed (a spam filter for Usenet news servers), various tools for Red Hat 5.2 backwards compatibility, the egcs compiler, ImageMagick, ircii for IRC, a set of really weird and probably unnecessary ispell files (including Catalan and Esperanto ispell files; only a Klingon ispell file is missing), ORBit (a CORBA Object Request Broker), pam-ldap (a LDAP pluggable authentication module), PostgreSQL and more.

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