November 27, 2004

Novell Bets on Linux Desktop Suite

Novell last week announced its Linux desktop product, an offering aimed at technical workstation users and price-sensitive customers seeking a Windows alternative.

The Novell Linux Desktop 9 suite consists of the freely downloadable K Desktop Environment (KDE) and GNU Network Object Model Environment (GNOME) desktop interfaces, Novell Evolution e- mail, collaboration and calendaring software, and Novell's iFolder software. It also features the freely downloadable Mozilla FireFox browser and a specially tweaked OpenOffice suite of personal productivity applications.

Novell Linux Desktop 9 is based on SuSE Enterprise Linux Server 9 and the Linux 2.6 kernel. It also incorporates the Citrix ICA client for remote access to applications.

"We are not telling users to rip and replace Windows," says Ted Hager, director of marketing for the Novell Linux Desktop. "This is about using Linux for the right roles within organizations."

The package combines technology obtained via Novell's acquisitions of Ximian last year and SuSE early this year. Novell has cranked up its support for open source software to offset sliding sales of NetWare, which accounts for almost a third of Novell's revenue.

The Novell Linux Desktop software competes with the freely downloadable KDE (KDE.ORG) and KOffice suite as well as with GNOME (GNOME.ORG) and the Xandros Desktop Version.which costs $70.

"What Novell has created is very similar to what you would find in other desktops, with the exception that it does have the Linux 2.6 kernel,which makes the desktop feel faster and more responsive," says Gary Hein, service director for Burton Group.

Linux Desktop 9, which runs on any Intel workstation, costs $50 per user. Novell is encouraging users to buy the desktop along with the ZENworks 6.6 Linux Management package, which allows desktops and laptops to be configured and reprovisioned automatically The ZENworks 6.6 Linux Management package costs $18 per user.

Novell's Linux Desktops suite includes the company's Evolution e- mail, collaboration and calendaring software.

Copyright Network World Inc. Nov 15, 2004