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SuSE Linux Announces Play at Home Version

Hoping to attract a wider audience, SuSE Linux Thursday said it is making a friendlier "home user" version of its operating system available starting next month.

The operating system will come in two versions -- Personal and Professional -- and incorporate the latest version of KDE 3.1 desktop environment. The new OS is expected to compete with similar offerings from Red Hat and SCO Group .

Pronounced "soos-ah", the Nuremberg, Germany-based company with U.S. offices in Oakland, Calif. said its SuSE Linux 8.2 will be available on April 14 from retailers.

The new OS includes tabbed browsing and an improved download manager. The company said its scheduler application (KOrganizer) now supports Microsoft Exchange 2000 servers to allow for data synchronization. The OS also comes with GNOME 2.2 desktop and a Linux-based accounting application -- GNU Cash -- that includes the home banking standard protocol HBCI.

Version 8.2 also includes the SuSE-optimized kernel 2.4.20 with support for more than 1,200 drivers. The OS also contains version 4.3 of XFree86 to support even more graphics cards. SuSE Linux 8.2 also includes a pre-release of gcc 3.3 and the latest version of Sun's Java2 (1.4.1).

In version 8.2, SuSE again adds in firewall software and a crypto file system for protecting data including S/MIME standards support for e-mail encryption and the possibility to store folders in the running system in a crypto file system without the need for a new partitioning. The KDE desktop security system Kiosk can be used to limit individual configuration changes.

For business software, the SuSE Linux 8.2 comes with OpenOffice.org 1.0.2

In addition to CD/DVD writing applications, sound mixing, editing, and an internal synthesizer program, SuSE Linux 8.2 is the first distribution to include MainActor, a professional video editing application. The KDE scanning application Kooka and the commercial OCR tool Kadmos enable users to scan both printed and hand-written texts into the word processing application.

For notebook users, the company said it has included better wireless LAN support that can be configured with SuSE's YaST2 tool (Yet another Setup tool). Of note for application developers and for quality assurance, KDE's new "Desktop Sharing" allows remote control of the screens of several network hosts across hardware borders.

The 3 CD Personal version comes with 60 days of installation support and is expected to retail for $39.95. The professional-grade version should sell for $79.95 and comes with 5 CDs, 2 DVDs, user guide, administration guide and 90 days of installation support.