With Linux attracting a worldwide audience of customers who prefer the open source paradigm to closed operating systems, CeBit -- the world’s largest international trade show -- was the perfect venue for Novell this week to announce its latest version of Linux for the desktop. Renamed Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop, this combination desktop OS and productivity suite is expected to ship by the third quarter.
Novell executives say the new version targets the average knowledge worker, as opposed to single-purpose users. Improvements have been made across the board, from the UI to bundled applications such as OpenOffice.org 2.0, which ships with the desktop version. One of the major new features is the integration of Novell’s desktop search engine, Beagle Desktop Search, into the UI. Novell also upgraded the OS to recognize almost all USB devices (USB recognition had been problematic in the past).
The OpenOffice suite underwent some major improvements as well. Users will be able to play back spreadsheet macros created in Excel and read Excel-created pivot tables. It also supports all Microsoft and OpenDocument file formats.
Moreover, the revised version of Evolution, an open source e-mail client, will now have more support for Exchange applications. Greg Mancusi-Ungaro, director of marketing for Linux and open source, said support for Lotus Notes through the Firefox browser is expected later this year from IBM.