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A press release from StartCom:

Linux goes blue and white - StartCom Linux

Eilat, Israel, August 2, 2004 - StartCom Ltd., a small software house located in Israel, announces the distribution of StartCom Enterprise Linux, perhaps one of the first Linux Operating Systems coming from that country with the blue and white flag. Based on RedHat's commercial Advanced Server source codes, StartCom Linux is meant to offer a free and supported alternative to previous users of RedHat Linux systems. StartCom Linux is freely distributed via Internet download or by CD-ROMs for a small payment and features a up2date network service for free.

Introduction, History and Facts:

Linux is a UNIX like Operating System for all kinds of computers, started by Linus Torwalds in 1991. The Linux Kernel and most applications it offers, are GNU or GPL licensed, mostly called Open Source. More about Linux in general you can find here.

During the nineties companies such as RedHat, SuSE and Mandrake have sprung up, providing packaged Linux distributions suitable for mass consumption.
StartCom itself uses Linux as the main server platform for MediaHost™, a subsidiary of StartCom. During the last years, StartCom used, as so many, the RedHat Linux, which holds around 70% of the installed Linux Systems in the world.

At April 2004, RedHat stopped to give out their regular RedHat Linux OS and today distributes only a Enterprise edition (for a heavy payment). To be fair, I have to say, that they started the Fedora Community Project, but which is by no means a stable option for operations, which depend on them, with a very short release cycle.

Since RedHat publishes the source code of their Enterprise Linux at their website, we started to check the possibility, to compile the OS for installation by ourselves. This is how our idea about StartCom Enterprise Linux started.

StartCom Linux:

Since the beginning of August, StartCom offers at their first release - StartCom Enterprise Linux AS-3.0.0 (Macaabee). This operating system is meant for middle sized servers to large data centers. Included in this distribution are a comprehensive collection of open source server applications like Mail, File (SMB/NFS), DNS, Web, FTP and a complete desktop environment. Current supported hardware are x86 Intel and Athlon CPU's.

There are two download mirrors, for immediate download of the operating system available, but it's also possible to order a set of six CD-ROMs for US $ 25. We hope to add at any time now more download mirrors.

The Products page of StartCom's website shows, that there are also other releases in planning, such as a Office Edition and MultiMedia Edition with expected release around September - October this year. By visiting this page, one can clearly see, that there is already much more envisioned, than just re-distributing a existing system.

StartCom offers also a automatic update system, which ensures timely access to updates from StartCom. Known from other systems like Microsoft Windows Update and RedHat Network, this is probably one of the services and tools which will convince a potential StartCom Linux user to get and install StartCom Linux.

Mission, Vision and Goals:

The mission statement of StartCom states:

To provide the public with advanced, free and supported Linux operating systems.
To service StartCom Linux users with high-quality support and service schemes to business and home users alike, for reasonable and affordable prices.
To contribute to the Open Source movement and promote the Linux operating system.

I see StartCom fulfilling a balance of providing free and commercial services, attracting many existing and new Linux users. Since StartCom Linux is derived from reliable source codes and guaranties support and updates for their operating systems. Hopefully, StartCom grows to be a important player and distributor of open source services and software. In the planning are support and service schemes for businesses and home users, which will be offered, once the first StartCom Linuxes are out and StartCom learned the needs of their users. Other additions might come from that software house which has a record as developers of software and extensive use of Linux in a production environment.