Novell to Launch Community Linux Distribution

Novell is following Red Hat's model of getting others involved in development.

Novell will be launching a community-based Linux distribution, OpenSuSE, at next weeks LinuxWorld in San Francisco, according to sources close to the company.

Following in the footsteps of Red Hat Inc. with its successful Fedora Project Linux distribution, Novell Inc. will be opening the doors to its Linux development efforts with OpenSuSE.

A Web site,, has already been set up for the project by Novell under the name of Bruce Wayne. The site, however, is not open for business yet. Continuing in this humorous vein, sources say that the initiatives launch will go by the name of "The Lizard Blizzard" and SuSEs original "Geeko" lizard mascot will be reappearing at LinuxWorld.

More seriously, the actual deliverable distribution will be called SuSE Linux. The SuSE Linux Pro line will be rebranded SuSE Linux.

This is an approach that has been discussed before in the Linux community. Jason Perlow, a systems architect with Unisys open-source solutions practice and author, wrote in Mays Linux Magazine that, "Its pretty darn clear to me that to make mojo, SuSE Linux Professional needs to look deep into its roots and re-birth itself as a public, open-source project similar to Fedora."

Perlow argued that Novells keeping its open-source technologies close to its vest had not served the company well.

With a open community approach, "key SuSE/Ximian/Novell technologies such as Mono, Evolution, Red Carpet, NDS, ZENworks and Hula to the fore, allowing even more extensive field testing within the community."

"As a result, a lot of the other distros have moved to Thunderbird instead of Evolution, and APT and YUM instead of a great client-server technology like Red Carpet. If the community had easier access to those projects for testing and development, its clear that more people would use and extend them."

Perlows arguments seem to have not fallen on deaf ears.

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