Novell adds to its Linux lineup

Four months after acquiring SuSE Linux, Novell continues to hammer out the details of its open source strategy.

The company has announced plans to make its GroupWise software available for the Linux operating system for the first time, and confirmed that it plans to release the source code for a popular SuSE tool for managing Linux servers to the open source community. The software vendor also launched two versions of a new Linux operating system, bundled with several applications.

GroupWise 6.5 for Linux will be available March 30 for both Suse Linux and Red Hat's Linux distribution. GroupWise lets users access email, calendaring, instant messaging and other applications. It is offered currently for Novell's NetWare operating system, Windows NT and Windows 2000.

Customers migrating from competing products would be able to buy the software for the price of an upgrade, Novell said. Customers running GroupWise 6.5 on other platforms would be able to get the Linux version for no additional fee.

It also launched new products from its SuSE acquisition - SuSE Linux 9.1 Personal and SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional. Both are based on the 2.6 kernel and include the latest GNU Object Model Environment (GNOME) 2.4.2 and K Desktop Environment (KDE) 3.2.1 desktop interfaces.

The professional version, targeted at Linux users requiring network or server functionality, runs on 32-bit processors as well as the Athlon 64-bit processors from Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) and Intel's extended memory 64-bit technology, according to Novell.

The product will be available in English on May 6 at http://store.suse.com and from bookstores and software suppliers. For $US89.96 (AUD$120.85), customers receive five CDs and two double-sided DVDs (one for 32-bit processors, the other for 64-bit processors), containing more than 2500 open-source packages.

The personal version, available on the same dates, will retail at $US29.95. The product, targeting desktop users exclusively, comes with two CDs.

The new 2.6 Linux kernel allows users to achieve higher performance with the same hardware, according to a company spokesman. It enables, for instance, high-quality music and video while other applications are started and run simultaneously.

The new GNOME desktop offers several new features, such as a universal instant messaging client and simplified printing configuration, as well a video conferencing system.

The new KDE version 3.2.1 features more than 10,000 improvements, including a new personal information manager, and a uniform interface for e-mail, calendar, address book and notes applications.

Novell also plans to release SuSE's Yet Another Setup Tool (YaST) program for installing and managing Linux under an open source license, providing developers with more freedom in how they can use the software.

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