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Novell ships enterprise desktop Linux

Novell unveiled the latest version of its Linux OS last week. Built on technology the Waltham, Mass-based software maker picked up with its recent acquisition of SuSE, Novell Linux Desktop 9 is aimed squarely at enterprise users.

"Novell is focusing its enterprise desktop efforts on Linux deployments, where users can gain the most benefit," Jack Messman, Novell chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Novell Linux Desktop is not about the wholesale replacement of your Windows systems, but rather it's about identifying where and when an open source desktop can be a sensible, cost-effective alternative. In our pragmatic view, the time is now for specific desktop users to reap the benefits of open source."

Novell's newest version of the open-source OS is designed to better integrate business applications and functionality, the company said. It includes OpenOffice Novell Edition, an enriched version of the open-source office suite designed to better accommodate documents created by Microsoft Office apps. It also comes with the Novell Evolution collaboration client, which includes e-mail, calendaring, contact management, and task lists, and the Mozilla Firefox Web browser.

It also integrates with Novell ZENworks Linux Management, which is designed to provide enterprise-level IT control over software deployment, remote management, and updates and patches across an organization.

In the press release announcing the availability of the product, Novell characterizes its entry into the desktop Linux space as one that "changes the market dynamics." The new product "eliminates the need for customers to pay much higher desktop license fees charged by other vendors."

A source inside the company put it this way: "We're taking on Microsoft head-one."

Novell Linux Desktop 9 is available through dealers for a suggested price of $50 per system. The price includes upgrades and updates for a year.

About the Author

John K. Waters is a freelance writer based in Silicon Valley. He can be reached at john@watersworks.com.

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