RealTime IT News

Novell Rebrands Linux Desktop

Novell is dropping its own name from its newest desktop software and rebranding it as SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.

The new software will sport a number of enhancements geared to bring the Linux desktop to the level of the average worker.

"We're making the decision to consolidate our Linux technology brands around the SUSE Linux name," Greg Mancusi-Ungaro, Novell director of marketing for Linux and open source told internetnews.com.

Part of the reason for the software rebranding may well have been a degree of confusion surrounding the naming conventions in Novell's Linux offerings.

"There were some folks who wondered how it all fit together," Mancusi-Ungaro admitted.

The new desktop, which launched in 2004 as Novell Linux Desktop, will employ Novell's recent Xgl enhancements to X server.

The Xgl enhancements will include an animated graphical user interface and other features for improved usability, a strong focus for Novell. The Better Desktop initiative which is backed by Novell, has completed thousands of use cases to boost Linux desktop usability.

Novell is also touting its enhancements to the OpenOffice.org (OOo) 2.0 application.

"One of the barriers to adoption for Linux in the workplace is the inability to play back spreadsheet macros," Mancusi-Ungaro said.

So Novell went out and created a real-time macro interpreter for OOo that will read the most commonly used macros uses in Microsoft Excel.

Though Novell has contributed the macro enhancements back to the open source community, it still has a bit of a competitive advantage in terms of deployment capability.

"SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop will be the very first enterprise desktop on Linux that will have macro playback capability," Mancusi-Ungaro said.

"It will take the Open Office community some time to adapt and incorporate this effort into the main tree. Novell works on a branch of the tree as it brings this product to market so we can deliver a little bit quicker."

Applications that utilize the Novell-backed Mono open source .NET framework implementation also play a role in the new SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.

Beagle desktop search, F-spot image catalogue and iFolder, a p2p file management technology for file synchronization, are among the included Mono based-apps.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is set to ship this summer. Pricing for the software has not yet been announced though current Novell Desktop pricing is $50 a year per seat.