The value of "trusted" operating systems is their ability to secure IT environments used by people with varying levels of security clearance, such as in a government intelligence agency. Yet these specialized systems often are costly, hard to manage, and lack a broad spectrum of applications--adding up to an undesirable operating system for most businesses.
IBM, Red Hat, and Trusted Computer Solutions want to change that. They're putting the Red Hat Enterprise Linux operating system through the National Information Assurance Partnership's Common Criteria program, aiming to have Enterprise Linux version 5, due in a year, achieve an Evaluation Assurance Level 4 rating, and adding features that make it a trusted operating system.
Trusted Linux will run on commodity X86-based servers and have an open-source license, making it appealing to "more mainstream customers in more industries," says Paul Smith, Red Hat's VP of government sales operations, "including health care and financial services."