NOVELL plans to launch its first Linux desktop offering, which incorporates technology it acquired from German Linux vendor SuSE last year, within the next month.
The vendor says it is combining its own proprietary technology with open source software in an “enterprise-ready” desktop operating system that will be a low-cost alternative for most organisations.
During a press briefing last week, Paul Kangro, Novell’s Asia-Pacific solutions manager demonstrated a pilot version of the system, which has a graphical user interface with the look and feel similar to Windows. Kangro says this will give users migrating to the new environment a familiar experience.
He also showed how the system operates with a variety of third party applications, including OpenOffice and Microsoft Office.
“The Linux desktop offers functionality that is equal to other environments and combined with the capabilities of OpenOffice is a low cost alternative,” says Kangro, adding that interest in the system is high, especially in education and government sectors, as well as among resellers.
Novell New Zealand general manager Matthew Christie says local resellers are already looking at how to integrate the Linux desktop system with their existing offerings.
“Resellers want to be part of it as they see a desktop refresh coming,” says Christie.
But Kangro says the Linux desktop system is intended to complement rather than replace platforms companies are currently running.
“It does not make sense to rip out systems that have not yet reached the end of their economic life,” he says.
Novell has been drumming up interest in its Linux offerings across the Asia-Pacific region with a seminar series, which comes to New Zealand on October 15 in Auckland.
The open source message is attracting increasingly larger audiences to the events, reports Kangro.
“The interest is outstanding — not just among enthusiasts, but also enterprises,” he says.
“Linux is a disruptive technology and is forcing IT mangers to think about the competitive advantage they want to achieve through technology. Novell’s support takes the risk out of Linux for customers.”
At the upcoming seminar, Kangro and other Novell executives, including SuSE vice president and general manager Markus Rex, will outline how the company plans to go to market with the Linux products and the support it will provide partners around the range.
Novell is releasing a number of its current products in Linux flavours and is also developing a Linux server operating system, named Open Enterprise Server, which will combine NetWare 7 and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 with a common management interface. Novell begin public beta testing of the system in early November, with the final version slated for release in December.
The company acquired SuSE, one of the main suppliers of Linux operating systems to big business, for $US210 million last November after buying Linux developer Ximian earlier last year.