SuSE Linux Aims for the Enterprise

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-03-11

SuSE Linux Aims for the Enterprise

German-based SuSE Linux A.G. is working on an enterprise version of its SuSE Linux Office Desktop product, which it hopes to release before the middle of the year.

The new product will contain enterprise additions to the current code base and offer better administration and manageability. SuSE hopes to release it around June and will target it at those large corporations that will need to deploy several thousand copies.

"But our current office desktop product, which is specifically designed to help small to medium-sized businesses migrate to Linux on their workstations, will continue to be available to the smaller user," Holger Dyroff, SuSEs general manager for North America, told eWEEK on Tuesday.

SuSE has so far sold several thousand copies worldwide of that product, which contains commercial software components such as CrossOver Office 1.2 from CodeWeavers, Inc. This lets such applications as Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio 2000, and IBMs Lotus Notes run on the SuSE desktop, he said.

SuSE next month will also release SuSE Linux 8.2, the next version of its Linux operating system for personal and business computers, Dyroff said on Tuesday.

This will be available directly from SuSE and at computer retailers from April 14 at an unchanged recommended retail price of $39.95 for the Personal edition, which includes three CDs, a user guide and 60 days of installation support; and at $79.95 for the Professional version with five CDs, two DVDs, a user and administration guide and 90 days of installation support.

"Our target market for these products, which are upgraded roughly every six months, is very large, ranging from the home user to a systems administrator running Oracle at home. The goal with every upgrade of this product, which generates just under 50 percent of SuSEs total annual revenue, is to make it increasingly easy and intuitive to use," Dyroff said.

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Version 8.2 will be an exciting release for SuSE as it includes an easy-to-use, application-rich desktop to help home users transition easily from other platforms, he said.

It also includes version 3.1 of KDE (K Desktop Environment), which Dyroff said would ease Internet access with its new tabbed browsing functionality and a download manager for simplified downloading.

Korganizer, the scheduler application, adds support for Microsoft Exchange 2000 servers, so customers can easily synchronize their Korganizer data with Exchange, he said. On the desktop productivity front, SuSE Linux 8.2 will ship with 1.0.2, which includes word processing, spreadsheet and presentation tools.

SuSE announced in September that it was dropping Sun Microsystems Inc.s branded StarOffice 6.0 desktop productivity suite in favor of the free OpenOffice alternative.

That move followed the decision by leading Linux distributor Red Hat Inc. not to use StarOffice in any of its future distributions, not just because Sun was now charging for the product but also as it included non open-source technologies.

SuSE Linux 8.2 also includes advanced fax and phone capabilities for ISDN cards. Incoming fax messages will now be able to be received by e-mail, and calls can be automatically received by e-mail as sound files, Dyroff said.

The new distribution will also include MainActor, a professional video editing application, as well as CD/DVD writing applications, sound mixing, editing and an integrated synthesizer.

"The enhanced SuSE configuration profile manager allows notebook users who commute between different locations to switch to the network and hardware configurations of every office site and use scanners and printers at the respective location with a simple mouse click," he said.

SuSE Linux 8.2 is based on the SuSE-optimized kernel 2.4.20, which has more than 1,200 drivers to ensure solid performance. "Hardware changes far more frequently in the desktop and workstation areas than on the server side.

"This release also includes all sorts of improvements on the wireless front. Laptop users will also value the improved wireless LAN support that can be easily configured with our Yet another Setup tool," Dyroff said.

The latest product also focuses on protecting data and hosts and includes SuSE Firewall 2, a crypto file system for protecting data in the event of theft, support for S/MIME standards for e-mail encryption, and the ability to store folders in a crypto file system without the need for a new partitioning, he said.

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