SuSE Linux details product roadmap

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Novell's new SuSE Linux organisation has detailed its product road map, including additional biometrics security capabilities in the next release of SuSE's Linux desktop product.

Oliver Nachtrab, director of product management at SuSE, said the next release of SuSE's Linux desktop would include additional support for fingerprint identification, ID cards and additional password protection. Novell SuSE executives detailed the product road map before several hundred partners at the SuSE Partner Conference. The conference preceded LinuxWorld, which was being held this week in New York.

The additional Linux desktop security features would make the product more attractive to government agencies, where Linux was seeing increased adoption rates, Nachtrab said.

The new desktop product was slated to be released in the second half of the year, he said, and the product was set for early beta in the February/March time frame.

The desktop offering would include extended Microsoft Office functionality and SAP support, he said.

SuSE was also working on a new software development kit for the desktop offering with additional compiler support.

On the enterprise front, SuSE was working on SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.0, with improved security and scalability, said Marcus Kraft, product manager for SuSE Enterprise Server.

And SuSE was planning to unveil a new offering in March with support for Outlook 2003, additional Oracle and DB2 support, extended instant messaging capabilities and new Linux PDA support for SuSE Openexchange, said Klaus Kaufmann, product manager for SuSE Openexchange.

Finally, SuSE was planning to beef up its virtualisation capabilities with User Mode Linux, said Jurgen Geck, SuSE Linux CTO. The new virtualisation capabilities would allow systems to run multiple Linux environments on the same system, Geck said. The virtualisation would provide additional mainframelike scalability and flexibility to manage Linux server workloads, he said. 'It will be more manageable, fault-tolerant and highly available,' Geck said.

User Mode Linux was already available, he said, but SuSE would provide it as an integrated easy-to-use 'button' functionality within SuSE Linux Enterprise Server. SuSE was also working on a User Mode Linux software development kit, Geck said.

Solution providers at the conference said Novell's recent acquisition of SuSE was significantly increasing the momentum of the SuSE products. 'This is giving Linux a turbo boost,' said Robert Kusche, general manager of DSG Linux Services, an IBM partner attending the SuSE Partner Conference. 'At DSG, we are calling it the renaissance of Linux.'

The product road map details were 'fascinating from a technical point of view, but increased adoption will be driven by corporate acceptability, which is definitely increasing,' Kusche said.


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