Novell Says Its Next Linux Desktop Will Surpass Windows

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-03-21 Print this article Print

At its BrainShare conference, the company says its Novell Linux Desktop 10 will include a new desktop search technology, code-named Beagle, along with a technology for rendering 3-D graphics.

SALT LAKE CITY—While Microsoft still has the monopoly on the desktop market with its Windows operating system, Novell is readying new features and functionality that it believes will propel its Novell Linux Desktop offering into the mass market. The current Novell Linux Desktop 9, which was released last November, is targeted not at the mass market but rather at those customers with more contained workloads. But all of that is set to change with the next version of the product, Novell Linux Desktop 10, scheduled for release next year.
Read more here about the Novell Linux Desktop.
"The next generation of product will appeal to and meet the needs of the mass consumer market," Nat Friedman, vice president of Linux desktop engineering at Novell Inc., told eWEEK in an interview at Novells BrainShare conference here. "There is this perfect storm of things coming together, and much of this will be seen in the SLES [SuSE Linux Enterprise Server] 10 time frame." Friedman also has big plans for version 10 of the Linux desktop, which are matched by equally big claims. "We are getting ahead of [Microsoft] Windows for the first time," he said. "The release of SuSE Linux 9.2 brought a lot of innovative mobility features, while 9.3 has a variety of Mono-based applications." What is the best Linux desktop? Click here for a column. One of the things Friedman is most excited about is a new desktop search and metadata technology, code-named Beagle, which indexes all of the content on a users hard drive, including Web sites visited and IM (instant-messaging) conversations, making the content instantly searchable. It also will be able to store and search metadata. For a demonstration of some of the features in Beagle, go here. The Beagle technology will be demonstrated to a large public group for the first time at BrainShare here on Friday, as will another technology that gets Friedman revved up. "We are also working on a technology for rendering 3-D graphics, known as a GL [graphic language]-based X server, which is under development. "This will make all the kinds of eye candy of the Mac OS 10 available on the Linux desktop," he said. "During the demo, we will show six virtual 3-D desktops, the size of cubes, on the screen at the same time and how easy it is to switch between them." The Beagle search facility was something Microsoft Corp. had been promising Windows customers for years, Friedman said. Last September, Microsoft said it would pull WinFS (the Windows File System) from the Longhorn desktop release due in 2006. 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 in beta testing when the Longhorn client ships and will be released sometime after that, Microsoft officials have said. "We now have them for Linux, and for the Linux desktop. This is revolutionary and underscores the open-source approach to software development as well as the merits of a more modular approach," Friedman said. Another technology under development is the F-Spot photo-management tool, which will have more functionality than the photo-management tool in Windows, he 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


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