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Novell Goes Thin at Brainshare

Novell kicked off its annual Brainshare conference today with a slew of announcements, including updates for its core Linux offerings and a new enterprise thin-client solution.

The announcements contain a heavy dose of virtualization management, as Red Hat just last week released its new flagship Linux, which is also heavy on virtualization.

First up is Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client, which enables administrators to create, manage and deploy thin desktop images across an enterprise. The client, expected later this year, is set to include both SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED), as well as a tool for custom image creation.

The idea of a thin client, a client that does not have the operating system running on its own local storage but rather from a centralized networked environment, is certainly not a new idea in the Linux world, though enterprise class implementation have been lacking.

Red Hat is working on its stateless Linux effort, which is essentially a thin-client implementation. Then there is the granddaddy of all Linux thin clients the Linux Terminal Server Project (LTSP), which has been in the Ubuntu Linux distribution for over a year.

In addition to the new enterprise thin-client effort, Novell is also updating its core SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 (SLES) platform . Update 1 for SLES 10 comes eight months after the original release in July.

The virtualization if SLES 10 has been updated to the Xen version 3.0.4 in Update 1. SLES 10 originally shipped with Xen version 3. Additionally Novell is rolling in some virtualization enhancements to better enable Microsoft Windows Server 2000/2003/XP to run in a Xen hypervisor running in SLES. Novell signed a deal with Microsoft in November that includes interoperability as a key deliverable.

Improved interoperability with Microsoft Word 2007 is another key part of update 1, which now bundles in the latest version of OpenOffice.org, including the newly released OpenXML/ODF translator to convert Microsoft Word 2007.

Integration with Microsoft's Active Directory for authentication rounds out the new interoperability features that Novell is packing into its enterprise Linux update.

Linux isn't Novell's only offering to benefit from the deal with Microsoft. Novell's Open Enterprise Server 2, which is soon expected to be in a public beta, will improve Windows interoperability while virtualizing Novell's Netware services.

OES Version 1 was announced over two years ago and is intended to be a bridge between Novell's Netware and Linux server offerings.