Red Hat is on track to ship its Enterprise Linux 5 by the end of the year but certification, testing and standardizing the testing process have become more important to customers than the operating system, its CEO said.
At Red Hat Summit in Nashville, Red Hat CEO Matthew Szulik said Fedora Core 6 -- the open source precursor to Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5 -- is due out in September and that the company remains on track for "end-of-year" delivery of the commercial product.
Still, Szulik said little about RHEL5 at the summit. Instead, he focused the spotlight on a series of new open source projects underway at the company including its "Dogtail" testing tool, a new open source social networking service dubbed "Mugshot" and new 108 portal for developers.
"Dogtail" and "Autobuild" are just two automated certification and testing tools Red Hat will hand over to customers and partners as a way of standardizing the testing process and building consistent, high quality Linux infrastructures, the CEO said.
Initially it will be offered to customers as part of Fedora but could become a commercial value-added service in the future, Szulik said.
"Increasingly over time the role of the operating system is becoming a smaller part of the [equation]," Szulik said. "It's certification and testing now and what kind of dialogue we can have with customers to build more reliable software. Customers spend a lot of money on certification and testing tools and their computing environment continues to change."
The Fedora effort will enable partners and customers to harness Red Hat's internally developed testing tools and automatically generate tests in-house for themselves, company executives said. Red Hat also plans to provide a repository of testing tools that can be downloaded and used by any customer.
Growing adoption of open source middleware, internal OS development, Linux-enabled mobile devices, multiplatform environments and distributed web-based computing has put an enormous strain -- and increased costs -- on enterprises' QA groups, he said.
Red Hat will try to address those needs.
"Their dependency on consistency of the infrastructure has never been higher. Open source development is becoming more and more active in the enterprise, and not just the OS, but applications," said Szulik. "Two weeks ago I was with a CEO with 23 build systems. It isn't manageable so we're starting to build a bridge to transparency and collaboration and make the customers part of the process."