Novell Offers Details on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2006-03-09 Print this article Print

Novell is determined to see the renamed and rebranded SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 surpass Windows Vista on many fronts.

Novell is betting that its upcoming SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 will be the release that drives widespread business adoption of its Linux desktop, especially as it brings features like integrated desktop search, which is not yet found in its largest competitor, Microsofts Windows.

Executives from Novell, based in Waltham, Mass., are in Germany for the annual CeBIT trade show, where they will be talking about the new desktop, due out this summer.
The desktop has also been renamed and rebranded from the current Novell Linux Desktop 10 moniker to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10, Greg Mancusi-Ungaro, a director of Linux and open source at Novell, told eWEEK.
While he declined to give specific pricing details, Mancusi-Ungaro said not to expect much movement from the current price of $50 per system a year for its Novell Linux Desktop 9, which is targeted at those customers with more contained workloads. Until now, the biggest issues IT administrators faced around the Linux desktop were overall desktop usability, connectivity to collaboration, the productivity applications at its core and its ability to be deployed and managed by IT. Click here to read more on why Novell believes its desktop will surpass Windows. "We have a made a big investment in getting over all of those hurdles," he said. The desktop now includes the Beagle search engine, which has been made an integral part of the user interface, essentially changing the desktop paradigm away from a file hierarchical organization to one where the user is only bound by the limit of concept and keyword, he said. "Users can type a keyword and all of the content in their personal workspace—whether its documents, images, recently visited Web sites or IM chats—is presented to you in an easily navigable window," Mancusi-Ungaro said. Asked how this different from the search capabilities already in the Apple Mac and which Microsoft is promising with Windows Vista, he said, "I think they are all different cuts of the same goal." In September 2004, Microsoft said it would pull WinFS (the Windows File System) from the Windows Vista release due later this year. WinFS is a next-generation storage subsystem that allows advanced data organization and management, while improving the storage and retrieval of files. WinFS will be released sometime after Vista ships, Microsoft officials have said. But the launch of Windows Vista would be the "greatest single event for the Linux desktop since Microsoft announced Software Assurance some four years ago, which forced droves of people to seriously consider the Linux alternatives as they will again as they move closer to having to make a decision on Vista," Mancusi-Ungaro said. While Novell officials have previously said the target audience for its Linux desktop was not all Windows customers, but rather groups like transactional workers, special-purpose roles and replacements for high-end Unix workstations, Mancusi-Ungaro said the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 "dramatically" changes that. In Novells favor is the fact that the SUSE desktop will be out and in the market long before Windows Vista is released. It also has integrated search, good usability and rich technology solutions like its F-Spot photo-management tool, which will have more functionality than the photo-management tool in Windows, Mancusi-Ungaro said. The SUSE Linux Desktop 10, with Novells edition of, will also have a macro interpreter that is conversant with the Visual Basic macros in Microsofts Excel spreadsheets, while the pivot table in would have the DataPilot function and a fully functioning import module. "So, now when you open up a spreadsheet in 2.0 and it has a pivot table in it, that table is translated into the OpenOffice DataPilot and it opens, it reads and it runs. "Those are two big barriers we have overcome, along with a lot more work in file fidelity between the Microsoft formats and the Open formats, so that reading and writing files back and forth is really much better now," he said. Click here to read to read why Novells new CTO thinks the Linux desktop is ripe for adoption. On the collaboration front, the new desktop continues to support Novells GroupWise and has an open-source connector in its Evolution client that supports Exchange. Also, IBM has announced that the plug-in to its Workplace client technology would allow e-mail, calendaring and notes access to users who use Firefox, he said. "That gives us checks in all the collaboration boxes. Again, these were big barriers to adoption," Mancusi-Ungaro said. The SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 will also continue to support both the KDE and Gnome graphical desktop environments, but Gnome will remain the default. The SUSE desktop will also work with existing and some legacy hardware, while Windows Vista will probably require a hardware upgrade as well, he said. "We know that every migration starts with fitting in and so we have paid special attention to all of that," Mancusi-Ungaro said. Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest open-source news, reviews and analysis.
Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...
Manage your Newsletters: Login   Register My Newsletters

Rocket Fuel