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Red Hat Grows Earnings as Canonical Challenges Secure Boot

  • June 25, 2012
  • By Sean Michael Kerner

Red Hat is making large splashes on the Linux Planet. This week, the company kicks off its Red Hat Summit event on the heels of a busy week of releases and earnings. Not to be outdone, Ubuntu Linux has weighed in on the UEFI Secure Boot issue with a solution of its own.

1) Red Hat Earnings

Red Hat is the first pure play Linux vendor to earn $1 Billion in revenue in a single year. It's a feat the company is eager to repeat for its fiscal 2013 year and it's starting off on solid footing.

Red Hat's first quarter fiscal 2013 revenues were 19 percent higher than first quarter fiscal 2012, coming in at $314.7 million. Net Income grew to $35.7 million up from $32.5 million for the first quarter of 2012.

How is Red Hat growing? Well for one, the keep signing their top customer up for renewals with bigger deal. The other key reason is that Red Hat is still going after Unix to Linux migrations as well as Windows to Linux migrations.

"One of the larger deals this quarter was a significant Windows-to-RHEL migration with a European financial services customer with global operations," Red Hat CFO, Charlie Peters said during the company's earning call. "This customer is looking to achieve greater security, reliability, scalability and cost savings by standardizing on RHEL in their offices in over 20 countries and across multiple workflows."

2) Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.3

In addition to posting strong financial results, Red Hat also released its latest RHEL (Red Hat Enterprise Linux) update.

The new release dramatically expands the scalability of virtualization on Linux. RHEL 6.3 is now able to support 160 virtual CPUs up from the previous limit of 64. As well, memory per virtual guest can scale as high as 2 TB, up from the previous limit of 512 GB.

Even with the newer high levels of scalability, there is still room to grow, according to Red Hat.

"Ultimately, our objective is to provide a seamless experience for customers moving from bare metal to virtual, and to cloud," Tim Burke, Vice-President of Linux Engineering at Red Hat, told InternetNews. "Virtualization used to be just about workload consolidation, and it's still a primary driver, so this isn't an academic exercise and we are seeing hands-on deployment."

3) Canonical's Solution to Secure Boot

The issue of Linux living on hardware certified to run Microsoft's Window 8 operating system continues to be a challenge for Linux vendors. With the UEFI Secure Boot only operating system software that has been signed by a secure key will boot on the certified hardware. It's a challenge that could potentially block Linux from running on new hardware.

Red Hat's solution is to buy a key from VeriSign and then have it included as part of the Microsoft Secure Boot program. Ubuntu Linux, now looks like it is set to follow that lead with a similar solution.

However, Ubuntu will not be using the GRUB2 bootloader as part of their implementation as Red Hat does, instead they are opting to use Intel's efilinux loader.

"We've generated an Ubuntu signing key for use with UEFI," Ubuntu's Steve Langasek wrote in a mailing list posting"Booting our CDs will rely on a loader image signed by Microsoft's WinQual key, for much the same reasons as Fedora: it's a key that, realistically, more or less every off-the-shelf system is going to have, as it also signs things like option ROMs, and the UEFI specification only allows an image to be signed by a single key."

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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