Novell Fast-Tracks Linux


According to documents viewed by CRN, Novell plans to ship version 10 of its Novell Linux Desktop during the first half of 2006. The Waltham, Mass.-based vendor plans another upgrade in 2007.

Novell Linux Desktop 10, code-named Cassidy, will offer improved ease of use, simplicity, new deployment and migration tools, tight integration with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and support for the forthcoming GroupWise client, code-named Sequoia, and the Open Enterprise Server client, code-named Sawtooth.

Novell Linux Desktop 11, code-named Etta, will provide new mobility features, desktop innovations including information-management and -sharing capabilities and integration with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11.

The first Novell Linux Desktop 9, code-named Sundance, was released last month.

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Meanwhile, Linux competitor Red Hat is preparing a major desktop upgrade as part of the Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 line in the first quarter of 2005. While both Linux desktops face a battle in gaining acceptance against--and interoperability with--Windows, Novell faces a dual challenge in integrating its desktop Linux code with its own legacy products and Microsoft clients.

"Novell is shifting all of its server business toward Linux, including making GroupWise agents run on Linux servers," said Jeffrey Sherman, president of Warever Computing, Los Angeles. "The idea is to replace a NetWare server running GroupWise with a SUSE Linux server running GroupWise and then, in a dream world, replace Windows desktops with Linux desktops running the native Linux GroupWise client."

Not all think it's a dream. Jordan Rosen, president of Lille, Albany, N.Y., said his company already has sold Novell Linux Desktop 9 to some customers in the academic community.

According to IDC, Linux's overall share of the desktop operating-system market was 3 percent in 2003 and is expected to grow to 6 percent by 2008. Windows shipments grew 10 percent in 2003, while Linux desktops grew about 5 percent.