|FROM ||From: "Inker, Evan"
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [hangout] SuSE Gears Linux Desktop for Large Sites
June 9, 2003
SuSE Gears Linux Desktop for Large Sites
By Peter Galli
SuSE Linux A.G. is set to ship an enterprise Linux desktop solution, SuSE
Linux Desktop, designed for large IT infrastructures and software
development and high-performance computing environments.
Holger Dyroff, who heads up SuSE's North American operations in Oakland,
Calif., told eWEEK in an interview that the company is targeting
installations of between 500 and 1,000 licenses with the of the
product-which will ship before the end of the month-across the public and
private sectors in the United States and Europe.
The new product, first reported by eWEEK in March
, is based on the same
code as SuSE Enterprise Server 8. The base package will cost $598, which
includes five licenses, an installation kit and a 12-month SuSE Maintenance
Program. The maintenance agreement essentially covers the delivery of
updates, fixes, patches and installation support, he said. Customers can
choose to buy four additional years of maintenance, starting at some $90 per
system per year and falling sharply for large-volume customers. While
configuration support is not included in this contract, it can be bought at
an additional cost.
While SuSE has not yet signed any deals with OEMs to have the new desktop
product ship preinstalled on any of their hardware, later this month the IBM
ThinkPads A31 and T40 and the IBM NetVista desktop computers will become
certified for SuSE Linux Desktop, thereby ensuring smooth interaction
between hardware and software, even under high workloads, Dyroff said.
SuSE Linux Desktop has already achieved Linux Standards Base (LSB)
Certification, verifying adherence to the community- and industry-developed
standards for Linux distributions and Linux-based applications.
SuSE Linux Desktop users can choose between Linux and Windows productivity
tools. While the product comes bundled with Sun Microsystems Inc.'s
StarOffice 6.0 and OpenOffice.org 1.0.2, users can also install Microsoft
Office-ensuring familiarity, flexibility and interoperability while still
taking advantage of the stability and scalability that Linux delivers,
The migration of Microsoft Windows installations to SuSE Linux Desktop is
facilitated by the inclusion of Codeweavers' CrossOver Office 2.0 in the
product. It enables the utilization of Word, Excel and PowerPoint from MS
Office 97/2000/XP as well as MS Outlook, Visio 2000 and other Microsoft
applications. Agfa Monotype fonts ensure true format printing and display of
IBM Lotus Notes can also be utilized on the SuSE Linux Desktop, which
provides interfaces enabling access to application servers and mainframes
like the SAP client, Windows 2000 Terminal client and IBM terminal
"We think customers will be pleased with the pricing, which we feel is fair
and reasonable. They are getting a stable desktop, which is also more secure
and lets them run their Windows applications if they choose to," Dyroff
Having the SuSE Linux Desktop run on the same code base as the enterprise
server allows ISVs to support both the server and the client on the same
code base. "This also allows perfect integration between the desktop and the
enterprise server-thus offering a corporate solution all the way from the
desktop to the mainframe. We will also probably move the retail Office
Desktop product to the same code base going forward," he said.
Some hardware vendors agree. Martin Fink, vice president of Linux at
Hewlett-Packard Co., said the SuSE Linux Desktop on HP desktops and
workstations marks the next stage in the evolution of the Linux operating
system. "Users now get the price/performance advantage of Linux on one
flexible and efficient platform to run enterprise-level applications on
their desktops and one vendor-HP-to support them along the way," he said.
With its focus on simple central administration, SuSE Linux Desktop is
optimized for deployment in large-scale enterprises, public administrations
and companies with multiple locations, Dyroff said, citing German life
insurance company Stuttgarter Lebensversicherung, which will replace its
OS/2-based client infrastructure with Linux.
SuSE Linux will operate in a SmartClient architecture on about 800 PCs at
more than 20 locations in Germany. The PCs will be administered from company
headquarters in Stuttgart, which will save costs and reduce the
administration workload. The new system is currently being utilized by about
60 pilot users. Another 500 workstations will be migrated between September
and November at the headquarters, while workstations at the branch offices
will follow in 2004.
"We explicitly decided against Windows and for SuSE Linux on our PC
workstations, because we believe that this gives us a clear advantage. By
choosing SuSE Linux, we can exploit an enormous cost savings and benefit
from a substantial efficiency gain," Manfred Schmidt, CEO of Stuttgarter
Lebensversicherung, said in a statement. "The pilot project was extremely
successful. We are confident that the full launch will prove successful,
meeting our economic expectations."
The new SuSE Linux Desktop is not to be confused with SuSE Linux Office
Desktop , released
earlier this year and which is a retail product designed for single personal
computers and small to medium-sized businesses. SuSE Linux Office Desktop is
based on the SuSE Linux Professional code and not on the Enterprise Server 8
code as SuSE Linux Desktop is.
Asked about the competitive threat from Linux vendors like Red Hat Inc.,
Dyroff said the company never looks at its competition before introducing
new products to the market. It sold its first Linux distribution in 1993 and
remains the oldest existing Linux company in the market.
"We introduced our enterprise product in 2000, several years before our
competitors, and the delivery of our corporate desktop product this month is
probably months, if not years, before our competitors," he said.
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