SuSE rolls out Linux Desktop 9.0

SuSE Linux on Tuesday will do its bit to bridge the 34- and 64-bit worlds when it makes available its SuSE Linux 9.0 desktop operating system that supports 32- and 64-bit applications running on Advanced Micro Device's (AMD) Athlon 64 processor.

The new version, which supports NIFS file systems, reportedly gives users a foreshadowing of some of the capabilities of Version 2.6 of the upcoming Linux kernel due early next year.

"We think the world of 64-bit applications will become standard more rapidly than most people are expecting. That's why we are providing an operating system for the AMD processor at the same time as its introduction," said Juergen Geck, SuSE's chief technology officer.

While Version 9.0 is based on the 2.4.21 version of the Linux kernel, it permits users to take advantage of some of the features that will appear in Version 2.6, including improved scheduling and power management and advanced Linux sound architectures. SuSE is including a "test version" of the 2.6 version of the kernel with the product for more sophisticated programmers to tinker with.

SuSE is including the most recent versions of K Desktop Environment (KDE) graphical environments and, along with the KDE instant messenger, which now supports AOL, MSN and Yahoo Messenger. One of the new features in OpenOffice is the ability to export Portable Document Files files with a single mouse click, a spokesman said.

Also new to Version 9.0, developers have the option to install as many as 50 Linux-based tools including the editor "emacs," the e-mail programs "mutt" and "pine," the alternative graphical interfaces WindowMaker and Blackbox, a company spokesman said.

Hoping to enhance its appeal to Windows users, one of the advantages of the NIFS file system, when used with Windows, is the ability to quickly partition a hard drive. This affords users the chance to take advantage of the security features of Linux, according to a company spokesman, while at the same time being able to access Windows client systems.

Version 9.0 also includes a new feature called SuSE System Doctor, a rescue system for restoring the system after an unintentional destruction of any system-critical files. As in previous versions of the product, Version 9.0 includes the company's Yet Another Setup Tool (YaST) system assistant, and Samba 2.2.8a aiding less experienced users and programmers to network together Linux and Windows.

The Profesional version of the product will be available starting Oct. 24 and carry a suggested retail price of US$79.95 and includes user and administrative guides and 90 days of installation support. The Personal Edition, intended more for home users, is priced at US$39.95.

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