Feeds

Novell eats own dog food, moves to Linux on desktop

Questions. Questions

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Intelligent flash storage arrays

IT departments need to be looking seriously at Linux for desktops now - or risk problems within two years.

Christian Schlaeger, VP of R&D at Novell subsidiary Suse Linux, speaking at the Linux User and Developer Expo at London Olympia, said: "There's no standard migration, but if you're not in pilot now you'll have problems in two years time - it's not for everyone but you need to look at it."

Even traditionally-conservative markets like banking and finance are looking at it now and will start wider projects later this year, he said.

Matt Asay, director of Linux Business Office at Novell, developed the theme. "The default question will not be 'why are you deploying Linux' but 'Why are you not deploying Linux'."

He said: "The desktop market right now is held back by friction - we've had more than ten years of Windows-only experience on the desktop. Even for me personally, making the transition felt scary just because it's new. A new operating system and new applications feel weird."

In a move Asay described as "eating our own dog food" , Novell is moving all internal desktops to open source software. The first target for this is moving everyone onto Open Office by July this year. Migrating operating systems will follow. Asay said the project would teach them a lot about the process and help them empathise with customers considering similar projects.

According to Schlaeger, the difficulty will be with the outside world, not with users. "We have developers if there is a problem with an application. The problem is communicating with Microsoft, with each new upgrade and file type, we have to catch up. Sharing files and opening attachments is a problem even in a Windows world - people are quite used to sending files in different formats because of problems."

Asay said: "We don't have a 100 per cent, feature for feature, replacement for Microsoft Office yet. But it's good enough for a large percentage of users. And soon we'll be better than MS Office... There's been no innovation on the desktop for a decade."

Novell wants 40 per cent of Linux desktops by 2007 and 20 per cent of all desktops by 2009.

Schlaeger admitted getting into desktops would be harder than cracking the server market. Linux started being widely used by computing students five years ago - they're now working in IT departments and making buying decisions. Schlaeger said: "Microsoft is more dominant and you can't sneak a new desktop operating system onto 5,000 desktops the way you can put Linux on a print server - the boss would notice."

He said: "Servers opened the door for us - none of the customers talking to us now about Linux desktops weren't Linux server users first.

Novell bought Linux desktop specialist Ximian in August 2003 and Suse Linux in November 2003. ®

Related stories

Business needs guidance on desktop Linux
Lindows now Lindash
HP puts Linux on the desktop
Novell loves Linux (true)
Did Sun help itself by being last to Linux?
Linux on the desktop - the man from Armonk, he say yes!

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.