Updated from 8:34 a.m. EST

Emboldened by a gangbuster increase in enterprise subscriptions, which was spurring its shares higher Wednesday, Red Hat ( RHAT) is planning to launch a version of Linux for the desktop this year, the company's CEO told TheStreet.com.

In an telephone interview late Tuesday, CEO Matthew Szulik said Red Hat has a "great deal of interest" in the desktop market and will introduce a desktop Linux product in the calendar year, taking on both Microsoft's ( MSF) Window's monopoly and emerging Linux rival Novell ( NOVL). Desktops are a market Red Hat initially started in but switched its focus to enterprise customers and the server market. With Windows commanding more than 90% of the desktop market, Szulik acknowledged Tuesday that the near-term opportunity in that field will be outside the U.S.

"The bulk of the company's revenue will continue to be on the server side for the foreseeable future," Szulik added.

Szulik also responded to recent heat Red Hat has taken for its roughly $3 billion market cap -- which is more than 15 times the size of the paid Linux market on the server and desktop in 2007, as forecasted by market research firm IDC. "I think you'd have to show me the number of tech companies that grew their top lines almost 40% year over year," Szulik said, also pointing to the surprising 87,000 new enterprise subscriptions in the fourth quarter.

On the heels of those results, released after the close Tuesday, shares of Red Hat were recently up $2.07, or 10.7%, to $21.48.

"The subscription growth fuels a kind of momentum story," said Deutsche Bank analyst Brian Skiba, explaining the stock's big move. "They're seeing an acceleration of the business."

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