Novell Suse Gallery puts free Linux-based appliances on tap

Searchable Web-based silo marks a step in evolution to cloud computing

Taking the concept of downloadable apps to a new level, Novell has announced the grand opening of its Suse Gallery, a venue for freely publishing and sharing Linux-based software appliances.

The Suse Gallery already contains some 415,000 software appliances -- essentially preconfigured combinations of an application, middleware, and operating system -- according to Novell, and it could be a tremendous boon for IT admins and software developers alike. For IT admins, it means access to a potential treasure trove of free, ready-to-deploy software that can meet specific needs of their organizations. Developers, meanwhile, could find a wealth of new customers.

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All told, the gallery may help the software appliance market grow to $1.2 billion by 2012, as predicted by IDC. Furthermore, as noted in a statement from VMware vice president of global strategic alliances Parag Patel, "Suse Gallery is another step forward in helping software vendors accelerate their customers' evolution to a virtualized datacenter as they progress on the journey to cloud computing."

The Suse Gallery is part of Novell's Suse Appliance Program, which also includes Suse Studio, a tool for creating Web-based appliances, and the Suse Appliance Toolkit, designed to help software developers build, manage, and update appliances, no matter their location.

According to Novell, use of Suse Gallery is entirely free, both for publishing and downloading content. Said content includes commercial- and community-oriented software appliances, as well as appliance templates and tailored OS images, promoting reuse for future development.

The gallery is searchable, and each published appliance has its own Web page through which developers can conduct marketing and track results.

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