OpenSUSE Framework To Entice Developers

In contrast to Red Hat&'s Fedora open-source project, which is aimed at developers, Novell&'s open-source project is based on SUSE Linux and aimed at end-user adoption. To date, the project has surpassed 13 million page views and 750,000 “verified” installations of SUSE Linux, the company said. Partners said Novell&'s new framework is designed to cull favor with open-source developers and respond to Red Hat&'s Fedora. Yet it is unclear how useful the project will be for commercial Linux solution providers and ISVs. “The openSUSE project has been successful in getting more developers to join the openSUSE community and use their products beyond the install and configure honeymoon period,” said Ed Pimentel, CEO of AgileCO, Alpharetta, Ga. “But users wonder how many binary incompatibilities will exist between it and other Novell products by this time next year.”

Novell&'s commercial platform, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10, is due to ship sometime this summer, Novell said.

“Everybody likes to have an alternative to Red Hat, and getting a free, authorized Linux distribution from Novell directly rather than from other sources is attractive,” said Chris Maresca, senior partner in the Olliance Group, Palo Alto, Calif. “SUSE has always been popular with users, but Novell had been making it increasingly difficult to just download and install a copy, much like Red Hat has done.”

“What will be interesting to see is how well they walk that tight-rope between commercial SUSE and openSUSE,” said Navin Nagiah, CEO of Cignex, a Santa Clara, Calif.-based consulting partner. “If they can master that balancing act—grow the user base, grow their own commerce and maintain great relationships with their paying customers, active developer community and broad user base—they will rock.”

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