|FROM ||Ruben Safir
|SUBJECT ||Subject: [hangout] Novel Review
The Novell Desktops
You know that you're in Novell land when you first arrive at your
desktop. The big "N" is everywhere, and you simply can't miss it.
Clicking "N" in the task bar lets you access menus the way clicking
"Start" does in Windows. The menus are well organized, and it's easy to
find the type of program you are looking for to access individual
If you've used Windows, Gnome, or KDE before, you aren't going to have
problems navigating the Novell desktop. If you currently use Gnome or
KDE for your Linux desktop, you'll still have no problems. NLD uses
Gnome 2.6 and KDE 3.2.1. Both desktops, though branded by Novell, are
pretty much the usual in terms of how they function.
There are some lightweight window managers available as well. So if
Gnome and KDE don't float your boat, you can also opt to choose the
Motif Window Manager, the Tab Window Manager, or FVWM. Any of these will
work well, particularly on older/slower systems with less memory.
We were pleased to be able to access our Windows partition by clicking
on the "My Computer" icon and then finding the C: icon. And we were also
easily able to connect to our shared folder on our Windows XP by
clicking the Network Browsing icon, then choosing the Windows Network.
Our CD and DVD drives were also mounted automatically for us.
Novell has done a very good job in making sure that NLD provides much of
the necessary basic networking and disk functionality. However, we were
disappointed to discover that there is still no way to create a Virtual
Private Network (VPN) connection in NLD (more on this later). This is a
curious omission for what's supposed to be a corporate Linux desktop
Novell Linux Desktop 9
Discuss this now (13 posts)
NLD comes with a decent selection of software--but not nearly as much as
Suse 9.2 Professional. You can pick additional packages during the
installation, so what you end up with depends on what you choose at
install time. Here's a list of what we had available on our desktop:
* Citrix ICA Client
* Red Carpet
* RealPlayer 10
There's just enough software available for the most common computing
tasks, but not so much that the average user would feel overwhelmed by
choices. We feel that NLD is closer to Suse Personal in that sense than
it is to Suse 9.2 Professional. If you're a software junkie and you
can't get enough choices, NLD might not be what you're looking for.
You'd do better with Suse Professional for the largest selection of
NLD comes with Ximian's Red Carpet, which made it easy to update our
system. Yast 2 is also available in the Administrator settings (with
Novell branding on it of course). Using Yast, you can add/remove
software, see your Hardware, System, Network Devices, Network Services,
Security, and Users, as well as Miscellaneous settings. Between Red
Carpet and Yast, managing NLD is pretty much a breeze. Continued...
Problems with NLD
As we mentioned earlier, there is no VPN Wizard built into NLD. This is
basic functionality that belongs in every Linux distribution but
particularly in one aimed at the corporate desktop. How are laptop users
who work from home supposed to connect to their corporate networks via
VPN? We hope that Novell will build a counterpart to the Windows VPN
Wizard that exists in Windows XP. It's long past time for Linux to have
this kind of functionality and we're getting very tired of having to
keep asking for it. Get it done, developers!
Unlike certain other Linux distributions, there's nothing included in
NLD that will let you run Windows applications. If you want to run
Windows applications you'll need to grab VMWare, Crossover Office,
Win4Lin, or Wine and install them yourself. While we always prefer
running native Linux applications to running Windows apps, we do
recognize that some folks—particularly in corporate offices—simply must
have certain kinds of Windows applications. At the very least, Novell
would do well to bundle Crossover Office with NLD at some point; it
would give NLD users the ability to run a number of helpful Windows
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