Novell Inc has unveiled a new thin client desktop Linux offering and started the beta testing for SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 Service Pack 1 as part of a slew of announcements made at its BrainShare user conference.
The Waltham, Massachusetts-based company also detailed new groupware, and systems, security and identity management products, as well as customer momentum for its Open Workgroup Suite.
We’ve been talking to many customers about the desktop part of Linux. We’ve been hearing a lot that customers want thin clients, in addition to full client, said the company’s chief technology officer, Jeff Jaffe.
Rather than simply a cut down version of the SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop for thin client deployments, SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client is aimed at enabling channel partners to create thin client offerings based on the desktop version.
There’s an interesting issue when it comes to the thin client, which is that different company’s want it to be thin in different ways, said Jaffe. What we’ve done is we’ve said ‘this is going to be a channel play’, we’ve created an image creation toolkit which channel partners can use to customize the thin client, and thereby have their own version of SLED which meets their particular needs.
SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client is due to be available later this year, following a number of other product updates.
SLE 10 SP1 is in beta testing now and updates the key product launch at last year’s BrainShare event. According to Jaffe, it is more than just a point release.
Usually in the first service pack you’re focused on fixing the bugs from the last time, but that’s not what we’re focused on here, he said. We are shipping with SP1 the desktop virtualization capabilities, and we are shipping with SP1 Windows virtualization on Linux.
SP1 also includes cluster file system, volume manager and cluster resource manager updates for improved high availability storage, version 2.1 of the Novell edition of OpenOffice.org with support for Microsoft Corp’s Office Open XML formats, and improved desktop and server security features.
The product is in beta testing now and is due to be generally available in May, which will also see the start of the beta testing program for Open Enterprise Server 2. As reported yesterday, OES 2 builds on SLES 10 SP1 to provide workgroup services on Linux, and is the migration path to Linux for NetWare users.
The third quarter of this year will see Novell introduce the Novell Teaming and Novell Teaming + Conferencing additions to its workgroup product line thanks to the company’s recent OEM agreement with web-based workflow and collaboration specialist SiteScape Inc.
The new workspace and real-time collaboration capabilities will complement Novell’s Open Workgroup Suite portfolio, and an element of the functionality will be released via a new open source project called ICEcorps.
New products in the company’s identity and systems management business were also unveiled, including Identity Manager 3.5, and version 6.0 of the Sentinel system, network and application event monitoring technology it acquired with e-Security Inc in April 2006.
Meanwhile, the Zenworks Linux Management offering was updated to version 7.2 with support for managing SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 as well as versions 3 and 4 of rival Red Hat Inc’s Enterprise Linux.
Alongside SUSE Linux Enterprise 10, last year’s key announcement was the launch of Novell Open Workgroup Suite, which includes OES, GroupWise ZENworks, SLED, and OpenOffice.org.
This year Novell also announced a number of customer wins for the combined offering, including the Oregon Department of Human Services, the City of Norrkoping, Sweden, money transfer firm Girosol, the City of Detroit, and manufacturing firm Hines.