Wing Tips and Plane Talk

By Spencer F. Katt  |  Posted 2006-03-13 Print this article Print

Cabin fever: Katt tries novell news-gathering method.

"Occupado," groused El Gato to the newbies who joined him in the latrine line on a crowded flight to Boston, where the Katt was skatting, following the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

It was there that El Gato learned from an Intel bigwig that the chip maker once had plans to launch its own online music store. The company had even planned to sell devices such as the Intel Pocket Concert MP3 player. All this was being planned almost a year before Apples iTunes came to Windows. Alas, Intel, like the rest of the tech universe, was still reeling from the dot-com bomb at the time. In 2001, just a few weeks before the stores unveiling, the chip maker shuttered its Connected Products Division, which was to manufacture the music players, along with several other devices that never saw the light of day.

As the airborne Amanuensis of IT leaned into the personal space of two business casuals in Row 23, he heard the pair discuss Novells changing the name of its Novell Linux Desktop to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. The khaki-ed comrades went on to state that, in doing so, Novell would be stamping all its Linux offerings with the SUSE Linux Enterprise brand. Spence recalled that Novells Linux Desktop was originally created by Ximian, which Novell acquired, and it ran on a slightly different kernel than the SUSE enterprise products. Now, it seems the whole platform has been combined.

Perched like a vulture over the row, Spence reached in front of one of the chino-clad chatterboxes, grabbed the Airphone and called a source at Novell. "Its really just a matter of naming the products to reflect the technical realities," the Novell tattler told the Tabby, explaining that Novells brand research discovered that SUSE had better Linux cred than the Novell moniker.

Ignoring the glares from the duo whose Airphone the Kitty co-opted, Spence continued to chat with the Novell know-it-all. The Airphone pal said Novell also has made the new Beagle search engine an integral part of the user interface for its upcoming SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, due this summer. Beagle searches all the content in a users personal work space, from documents, images, recently visited Web sites and IM chats, presenting the results in an easily navigable window. But, said the Novellian, when the company brought in Windows users for Desktop 10 usability tests, none of them would use Beagle. When asked why, the users said they had noticed the desktop search but felt it wouldnt work for them. "Well, it doesnt work on Windows, so why would it work here?" was the uniform response. The usability team then revised the tests so that Windows users were forced to use the search engine, resulting in "100 percent of the users we tested being astounded and wanting to take it home," the tattler said. "Mmm, now that sounds like a Windows press release to me," the Tabby hissed.


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