Off-the-shelf product briefs

Red Hat debuts more scalable Linux

BY Nancy Weil and John Zyskowski

Red Hat Inc. launched a new version of its Linux operating system this week

that is designed to let the open-source operating system handle bigger workloads,

potentially a big selling point for agencies concerned about the system's


Red Hat Linux 6.2 features load-balancing technology the company calls

"Piranha." The aim of the technology is to allow multiple small World Wide

Web servers to behave like one larger Web server, said Michael Tiemann,

the company's chief technology officer. That makes it especially useful

for growing e-commerce systems.

The new version also uses the Beowulf open-source clustering software.

And the clustering features can now be administered by a new Web-based management

console. Besides offering greater scalability, the ability to run on clusters

of servers also makes the OS more reliable, because it can switch to another

server in the event one server fails.

Version 6.2 is available now and comes in three editions. The Professional

Edition, priced at $179.95, includes the most extensive help desk support

services and add-on applications. The Deluxe Edition costs $79.95. And the

Standard Edition costs $29.95.

— Weil is senior U.S. correspondent for IDG News Service


Top speech recognition vendors to merge

BY Douglas F. Gray

Speech technology company Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products Inc. has

agreed to acquire competitor Dragon Systems Inc. in a deal that will eventually

involve a consolidation of the two product lines into one.

LH will continue to produce and support products from both companies in the short

term, but "in the long term the goal is to ultimately have a single product,"

said Jo Lernout, LH's co-chairman of the

The first step L&H will take after the acquisition is to try to get more copies of both companies' software on the desktop. "Today, only half of one percent or so of all

personal PCs are enabled with voice technologies," Lernout said. "That is

an enormous drought and there is deman

The company also has designs on the mobile Internet market. "It's very hard to surf the Net with a 1 and one-half inch screen and no keyboard," Lernout said. "And when you are driving,

you need to keep both hands on the wheel and eyes on the road," he added,

referring to Internet-enabled automobiles.

The company will continue to expand its relationship with Microsoft

Corp., which, in addition to having a $60 million investment in the company,

offers LH's translation service on its Microsoft Office Web site.

— Gray is London-based correspondent for IDG News Service


ERDAS geographic information software passes Windows 2000 test

BY Natasha Haubold

ERDAS Inc. has had its ERDAS IMAGINE 8.4 geographic information system certified

to run on Microsoft Corp.'s new Windows 2000 operating system.

Designed to capture the process experts use to analyze and compare results

to arrive at a solution, ERDAS allows someone who is not an expert in the

field to extract information from digital photographs and radar images for

spatial analysis, map creation, 3D and 2D feature collection, and stereo


The software gives users the ability to view accurate 3D images of elevations

and clean up images by removing speckles, analyzing image textures and merging

images from several mediums, including satellite pictures, 35mm film and

video tapes.

Pricing varies depending on the range of modules acquired and customized

configurations. The starting price for IMAGINE 8.4 operating on Windows

is $2,000 and $3,000 for UNIX. Discounts are available for educational programs

and government organizations.


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