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Red Hat Inc. announced on Wednesday a new channel program, the Red Hat Runtime Partner Program, that will enable embedded system vendors to replace proprietary embedded operating systems with Red Hat Enterprise Linux.

According to the Linux distributor, the Red Hat Runtime Partner Program is part of its Red Hat Partner Community, which is designed to encourage combining open-source and traditional technologies into the fabric of enterprise computing to provide technology solutions that give customers more choice.

When Red Hat talks about embedded systems, the Raleigh, N.C., company means it in the widest possible sense: hardware appliances, network servers, telecommunications equipment, storage networks and video editing consoles, as well as such traditional embedded markets as POS (point-of-sale systems) and integrated software applications.

“We are pleased to make the Red Hat Runtime Program available to enable a wider range of the overall computing market to utilize RHEL [Red Hat Enterprise Linux]. Industry suppliers of hardware, software and integrated solutions now have more freedom to utilize standards-based, open software,” Mike Evans, Red Hat’s vice president of partner development, said in a statement.

Early adopters of the Red Hat Runtime program include Discreet Systems, a high-end digital media system maker; Glenayre, a messaging technologies vendor; and Storage Computer Corp.

“Storage Computer has increasingly leveraged the substantial value of RHEL to drive our storage management software solutions over the past couple of years,” said Sean Murphy, vice president of product development at SCC, in a statement.

“Partnering through the Red Hat Runtime program ushers SCC into the storage-support-rich RHEL future, along with the level of technical and marketing support required to reduce the time-to-market for our COTS [Component-Based Software Development]-based high-performance iSCSI, NAS [network-attached storage] and SAN storage software solutions going forward.”

Though not technically an embedded Linux distribution, “Red Hat has consistently shown up as the top choice and with the greatest presence in the embedded ‘space,’” said Rick Lehrbaum, head of

“I think it’s ‘Marketing 101’ at work,” said Lehrbaum. “Increase your coverage of existing customers with existing products, and go after new customers with existing products.”

“Red Hat is well aware that it is the No. 1 commercial Linux distribution cited as being used in embedded projects, embedded systems and embedded devices,” said Lehrbaum “Actually, CTO Michael Tiemann [has] told LinuxDevices that his strategy was to have one distribution be good for everything.” And, with this move, Red Hat is continuing to pursue this strategy.

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