Having the SuSE Linux Desktop run on the same code base as the enterprise server allows ISVs to support both the server and the client on the same code base. "This also allows perfect integration between the desktop and the enterprise serverthus offering a corporate solution all the way from the desktop to the mainframe. We will also probably move the retail Office Desktop product to the same code base going forward," he said. Some hardware vendors agree. Martin Fink, vice president of Linux at Hewlett-Packard Co., said the SuSE Linux Desktop on HP desktops and workstations marks the next stage in the evolution of the Linux operating system. "Users now get the price/performance advantage of Linux on one flexible and efficient platform to run enterprise-level applications on their desktops and one vendorHPto support them along the way," he said.SuSE Linux will operate in a SmartClient architecture on about 800 PCs at more than 20 locations in Germany. The PCs will be administered from company headquarters in Stuttgart, which will save costs and reduce the administration workload. The new system is currently being utilized by about 60 pilot users. Another 500 workstations will be migrated between September and November at the headquarters, while workstations at the branch offices will follow in 2004. "We explicitly decided against Windows and for SuSE Linux on our PC workstations, because we believe that this gives us a clear advantage. By choosing SuSE Linux, we can exploit an enormous cost savings and benefit from a substantial efficiency gain," Manfred Schmidt, CEO of Stuttgarter Lebensversicherung, said in a statement. "The pilot project was extremely successful. We are confident that the full launch will prove successful, meeting our economic expectations." The new SuSE Linux Desktop is not to be confused with SuSE Linux Office Desktop, released earlier this year and which is a retail product designed for single personal computers and small to medium-sized businesses. SuSE Linux Office Desktop is based on the SuSE Linux Professional code and not on the Enterprise Server 8 code as SuSE Linux Desktop is. Asked about the competitive threat from Linux vendors like Red Hat Inc., Dyroff said the company never looks at its competition before introducing new products to the market. It sold its first Linux distribution in 1993 and remains the oldest existing Linux company in the market. "We introduced our enterprise product in 2000, several years before our competitors, and the delivery of our corporate desktop product this month is probably months, if not years, before our competitors," he said.
With its focus on simple central administration, SuSE Linux Desktop is optimized for deployment in large-scale enterprises, public administrations and companies with multiple locations, Dyroff said, citing German life insurance company Stuttgarter Lebensversicherung, which will replace its OS/2-based client infrastructure with Linux.