SuSE Desktop Brings Linux to SMBs

New desktop product, targeted at small to medium-sized businesses, lets users run some Microsoft applications.

SuSE Linux will release, in January 2003, a desktop product specifically designed to help small to medium-sized businesses migrate to Linux on their workstations.

The new product, SuSE Linux Office Desktop, will be available from SuSE Linux resellers at a recommended retail price of $129 per workstation, which includes user manuals and 90 days of installation support.

SuSE officials, in Oakland, Calif., say the product will let users continue processing existing data from such applications as Sun Microsystem Inc.s StarOffice 6 desktop productivity suite as well as Microsoft Office, since it will include CrossOver Office 1.2, from CodeWeavers, Inc.

CrossOver will let applications the likes of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Visio 2000 and IBMs Lotus Notes run on the SuSE desktop.

SuSEs announcement comes hot on the heels of a similar move by Xandros, Inc., which also signed a deal to integrate CodeWeavers CrossOver technology into the Xandros Desktop 1.0 operating system, which is now shipping.

Both KDE 3.0.3 and GNOME 2.0 are available as graphical desktop environments with SuSE Linux Office Desktop, which also includes the Ximian Evolution e-mail client. The product also provides the tools necessary for office clients in a small- to medium scale network.

SuSE officials say they hope the product will encourage small- to medium-scale enterprises to migrate to Linux on their desktops and cite the fact that the upcoming product combines the technology and user-friendliness of SuSE Linux 8.1 with proven tools that facilitate the migration from Windows operating systems and applications.

During the installation, SuSEs system assistant YaST2 (Yet another Setup Tool) automatically detects the existing Windows 95/98/ME installation and, using the Acronis Operating System Selector partitioning tool, submits a suitable proposal for the rearrangement of existing hardware space and the installation of the Linux software.