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Novell is developing a slimmed-down version of SuSE Linux especially designed to desktop enterprise deployments easier to support.

SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional, the latest version of the desktop OS, comes with 3,000 packages and seven web browsers, according to Novell. Steve Brown, Novell’s European VP, said there was a danger of the OS becoming too "top heavy".

In response, Novell is working a version of SuSE Linux occupying a smaller footprint and supporting only one Web browser. This approach would make it easier to roll out standardised Linux deployments across an enterprise. With a simpler, less diverse set-up companies would benefit from a lower variety of support questions, or so the idea goes.

Brian Green, Novell’s director of Linux marketing, said the software would include Ximian Desktop and support for a browser than supported IE6 extensions, making it possible to access IE-only websites. Green wouldn’t be drawn on what browser would be included but a Mozilla-based web browser would be our guess.

Novell outlined its plans during a roundtable on Linux in the enterprise which included participants from Novell, IBM, analyst Ovum and Nick Leake, director of technology operations and infrastructure at broadcaster ITV, in London earlier this week.

Leake spoke about the value of standardisation in reducing support costs. ITV is moving some of its Tru64 on Alpha applications onto Linux servers, saving itself an unspecified amount. But ITV wants to retain its investment in Microsoft licenses so a move to Linux on the desktop is unlikely for at least five years. At that point ITV may replace standard PC with blade PCs. ®

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