Red Hat's desktop operating system for consumers has been enhanced to handle multithreading better than its predecessor.
Red Hat Linux 9, which will be available for download by members of the Red Hat Network (rhn.redhat.com) and in retail stores, features threading technology called NPTL (Native Posix Thread Library) said Matt Wilson, manager of base operating systems at Red Hat.
NPTL will allow for better execution of applications that perform multiple tasks simultaneously, commonly known as multithreading.
Red Hat engineers developed most of the NPTL in conjunction with the open-source community of developers.
Another enhancement to the operating system is its tighter integration with the Common Unix Printing System (CUPS), which will make it easier for users to print files by dragging and dropping them to a printing icon on the desktop.
CUPS were included as an option with version 8, along with other printing utilities, but it is now integrated with Red Hat Linux 9 as its default printing system, offering a more unified capability.
The Bluecurve graphical interface, which was introduced in Red Hat Linux 8, has been polished to enhance its ease of use in this latest version.
Red Hat Linux 9 also ships with upgraded versions of the open-source OpenOffice.org office productivity suite, the Mozilla open-source web browser and Ximian's Evolution e-mail and groupware client software.
Users will also benefit from later versions of core Linux components in Red Hat Linux 9, such as version 2.4.20 of the Linux kernel, whereas Red Hat Linux 8 carried version 2.4.18. For users planning to perform web server tasks with their PCs, the open source Apache 2.0 web server software is also included.
Red Hat Linux 9 will be available for download on 31 March and a week later it will be in stores.
The product costs $60 (£38) if downloaded and includes a one-year subscription to the Red Hat Network and full electronic access to the product's documentation, as well as automatic security updates, bug fixes and other product information.
In stores, buyers get two options: Red Hat Linux 9 for $39.95 (£25.40), which includes 30 days of access to the Red Hat Network and web-based support; and Red Hat Linux 9 Professional for $149.95 (£95.35), which includes the operating system on a DVD, extra software, extra documentation and 60 days of access to the Red Hat Network and to web-based support.