In a sign that Novell's new lease on life is garnering interest, some 200 people attended the Sydney leg of Novell's national Suse Linux Enterprise roadshow today.
Representatives from large enterprises including Macquarie Bank, Woolworths, AVJennings, the University of Sydney, and the NSW Department of Education and Training were present at the event.
Attendees were dazzled by the XGL-enabled Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10, which can switch desktops by 'spinning' a virtual cube in real time.
Paul Sioutas, a network administrator with an unnamed federal government department, said SLED 10 looks "great and snazzy" and resembles something closer to what can be used in a work environment.
Sioutas is also keen to try Linux because "it can run on old hardware".
Novell's Australia and New Zealand solutions manager Paul Kangro said with over 300,000 downloads on Suse Linux Enterprise 10 since it was released last month, Australia has chalked up the most number of downloads per capita.
"Companies like Telstra and Coles Myer are using Suse Linux not because they think it's cool but because it's reliable," Kangro said.
To demonstrate this, Kangro migrated a live instance of Suse Linux running in the Xen virtualization platform to another physical notebook while it was streaming video, with no video pause or drop out.
SLED 10 also integrates the heartbeat cluster management software with Xen so it will automatically migrate one virtual machine onto another node in the event of a failure.
Another IT manager at the event, who requested anonymity, said Novell's Linux offerings look "very interesting", particularly OpenOffice.org which "if used by 5000 people at Novell to exchange Microsoft-format documents with the rest of the world is enterprise ready".
Yet another media-shy IT manager - about to change jobs - said he came to the event to find out "what I can" and how Linux can be used for business.
"Our company doesn't use Linux except of a few routers running Debian," he said. "I don't know much about Linux on the desktop but we are locked into Windows because of ActiveX controls."
Of the crowd, about one-third were Netware users and a handful had never been to a Novell event before.