UserLinux has released its first beta CD and is widening the scope of testing.
The project, led by long-time open source advocate Bruce Perens gives enterprise customers a certified version of Linux without the high support price tag and restrictive licensing policies offered with commercial distributions from vendors like Red Hat and SuSE.
Based on Debian Linux, UserLinux 's mission is to provide businesses with freely available, high quality Linux operating systems accompanied by certifications, service, and support options designed to encourage productivity and security while reducing overall costs, according to the website. The project is aims to free users from vendor lock in and emphasizes open standards.
Currently, UserLinux's Global Support Network lists 12 vendor support options, with a half dozen more planning to support the software.
The UserLinux CD is 4.5 megabytes and downloads the rest of the system during the installation process. It is available for download.
Unbundling the high cost of support from Linux is a trend that is gaining some traction from the FOSS communities. Initiatives that deliver enterprise Linux from Red Hat source code are available from Finnish Linux provider Lineox and the White Box Linux Project. Both distributions tout themselves as replacements or as being "very similar" to Red Hat's Enterprise Linux software.