Over the years, enterprises have made huge investments in Windows servers and workstations. At the same time, forward-thinking IT managers have kept an eye on Linux and open source software, waiting for the day when enterprise-class, licensefree solutions would emerge to offer significant cost savings and greater freedom of choice.
That day has arrived. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 is a breakthrough business desktop that provides market-leading flexibility and performance, seamless interoperability with existing enterprise systems, and dozens of essential productivity applications. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is designed to help businesses dramatically reduce costs, improve end-user security and increase workforce productivity.
Of course, instead of ripping and replacing their Windows infrastructure, most companies will keep much of it intact while migrating selected groups to Linux as time, budget and user roles allow. This heterogeneous environment will require that client devices all interoperate seamlessly to ensure business productivity and security, while keeping costs in check.
> SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop
SUSE Linux Enterprise was designed with that heterogeneous environment in mind. Leveraging Samba technology, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop seamlessly integrates into and supports existing Windows file and print environments. In addition, it plugs into existing directory and domain infrastructures, including Microsoft Active Directory and Domains, Novell eDirectory and OpenLDAP. With its broad use of open standards, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop enables you to share information across diverse IT systems, so you can easily communicate between business divisions or business partners.
Let's take a closer look at how SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop interoperability works.
> Support for Today's Productivity Applications
When you choose a Linux platform for your organization, you want one that has the broadest range of application support, so you can pick the application that suits your business needs. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop runs a variety of popular Linux productivity applications available today, including OpenOffice.org with Visual Basic support, Gaim, Kopete and iFolder.
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is the first enterprise-class platform to include OpenOffice.org 2.0–a complete office suite of productivity applications. OpenOffice.org features a powerful spreadsheet program, business presentations tool and word processor.
The Novell edition of OpenOffice.org includes many enhancements to the upstream version:
Microsoft Excel VB macro support. With OpenOffice.org 2.0, Novell is the first to support Visual Basic macros saved in Excel spreadsheets. These Visual Basic functions can be loaded and run in OpenOffice.org Calc as if they were native macros. Calc also offers better support for Excel pivot tables. Having a single Excel file that targets both Excel and Calc improves document exchange. (See Figure 1.)
Improvements in Writer. OpenOffice.org 2.0 improves changetracking interoperability between Writer and other word processing software, such as Microsoft Word. OpenOffice.org 2.0 further ensures a consistent word processing experience across platforms with licensed AGFA fonts, which are metrically compatible with key Microsoft fonts, such as Arial, Times New Roman and more. Lastly, OpenOffice.org 2.0 features an improved OpenSymbol font to provide better glyph coverage for common bullets. (See Figure 2.)
These enhancements play an important part in OpenOffice.org 2.0 being able to open and save documents created in Microsoft Office, Star Office and OpenDocument formats.
Bundled Productivity Applications
Bundled with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop are a number of productivity-enhancing applications:
Beagle powers new integrated search capabilities in SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, providing real-time indexing of the entire desktop. You don't need to worry about what, where and when you saved your work. A simple keyword search returns all documents, applications, e-mails, instant messages and recent Web searches–all in a single results window.
Tomboy is a desktop note-taking application for Linux and UNIX. With Tomboy, you can organize ideas, to-do lists and other information.
Gaim and Kopete offer instant messaging capabilities. Both support popular public IM networks such as AOL, MSN, Jabber and Yahoo!. Gaim supports Novell GroupWise Instant Messaging, offering security and control by keeping the messaging system both encrypted and inside the company. Meaning, employees can only chat with co-workers, which protects sensitive information.
Novell iFolder allows you to access, organize and manage your files from anywhere, anytime. Access your files conveniently available at work, home or on the go with worry-free security and high-speed mobility.
> Runs the Gamut of Multimedia Applications
Of course, business productivity applications aren't the end of the story. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is also designed to support a vast array of multimedia–mandatory for consumption of standard content today. It includes an assortment of easy-to-use open source and proprietary media players to simplify viewing multimedia files and streaming audio or video feeds, creating CDs and DVDs and more:
- Two open source document viewers are included with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop for accessing Adobe Acrobat PDF files–Evince for the GNOME desktop and KPDF for the KDE desktop. (See Figure 3.)
- Mozilla Firefox provides complete, secure, full-featured Web browsing. Indeed, Mozilla is the engine many competing browsers are built on.
- Macromedia Flash Player is integrated into the Mozilla Firefox Web browser to allow users to enjoy Flash programs.
- RealNetworks RealPlayer enables users to enjoy multimedia files and streaming audio and video feeds. Novell will be the first to deliver multimedia support for Microsoft Windows Media on Linux.
- Helix Banshee lets users import, manage and play music selections from CDs, Apple iPods and other music sources.
- F-Spot integrates advanced photo management into the Linux desktop for seamless photo importing, editing, publishing and cataloging. (See Figure 4.)
- Totem is the movie player of the GNOME desktop. It features a playlist, a full-screen mode, seek and volume controls, as well as keyboard navigation.
> Compatible with a Wide Assortment of Hardware
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is supported by all leading hardware vendors. Novell works closely with chip manufacturers Intel and AMD and supports the latest single- and dual-core processors. And SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is fully certified on the latest workstations, desktops and laptops from Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Lenovo, Silicon Graphics, Sun, Unisys and others.
These vendors have partnered closely with Novell engineering teams throughout the design and creation of SUSE Linux Enterprise. These partnerships ensure that SUSE Linux Enterprise takes full advantage of the capabilities of these platforms and interoperates seamlessly with Windows, Mac, UNIX and other platforms.
Specific hardware interoperability includes:
- New hardware plug-and-play support for Bluetooth, USB and IEEE-1394 Firewire connections to peripheral devices such as printers, scanners, portable music players, digital cameras and memory sticks.
- Serial-attached SCSI (SAS), serial-attached ATA (SATA) and fibre channel support for transferring data to and from devices like hard disks, CD-ROMs and the like.
- Storage options include hardware-based RAID solutions.
- Broad desktop graphics and audio support allows companies to continue enjoying the fidelity they've grown accustomed to.
- Intelligent Platform Management Interface offers beneficial power management capabilities, including power up, power down, power cycle and power reset.
- Networking includes support for I/OAT, mulitpathing, wireless and secured wireless infrastructures with VPN integration in Network Manager.
- Standard print services are now supported through Novell iPrint. This includes automatic driver downloads and installations, location-based printing and Microsoft-based network printing.
> Supports Collaboration Tools
It's not hyperbole to say that modern collaboration tools are businesscritical; however, in today's heterogeneous environments, getting systems to seamlessly run and exchange information can be a challenge.
The SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is the most interoperable desktop available on Linux, featuring the Novell Evolution collaboration client. Novell Evolution is an e-mail management program that ships with all leading commercial Linux distributions. Evolution is the most widely used Linux collaboration client in the world, offering interoperability with a host of other collaboration tools. It features direct connections to Novell GroupWise, Microsoft Exchange 2000/2003 and any collaboration server supporting IMAP and POP standards. It will also connect to Lotus Notes via IBM's Notes plug-in for its Workplace client technology.
> Directory Integration
Directory integration is perhaps today's most critical point of interoperability. A directory service gives IT staff a customized, systematic way to unify identities, resources, devices and policies like e-mail addresses, applications, files, people or groups, automated systems, peripheral devices and other network components. SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is designed to interoperate with Microsoft Active Directory and Novell eDirectory.
Microsoft Active Directory
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop from Novell is the only enterprise-class Linux operating system designed to allow direct integration with Windows domains. As a result, companies gain a heterogeneous environment that behaves like a unified network for both users and IT administrators.
By allowing newly deployed Linux systems to join the Windows domain, companies gain a single point of administration for managing, controlling access and enforcing security for all objects, services and users on the network–both Windows- and Linux-based. This integration also enables a single sign-on experience for users to access all the resources they need, including Web servers, proxy servers, email servers and other network services.
For more information on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, visit novell.com.
Core technologies that enable easy integration of SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop with Active Directory include:
- OpenLDAP, an open source version of LDAP, is used for exchanging Active Directory information with Linux clients.
- Kerberos uses symmetric key cryptography, mediated by a trusted third party, to enable secure single sign-on even for Linux clients authenticating to a Windows domain.
- Winbind is part of the Samba project. Its daemon binds the Linux workstation to the Windows domain, making the Linux client "look like" an ordinary Windows machine and eliminating the need for duplicate accounts and passwords.
- Name Service Switch (nss_winbind) interacts directly with the winbind daemon to access user and group names located on an Active Directory server.
- Pluggable Authentication Modules framework (pam_winbind) interacts directly with the winbind daemon to authenticate Linux users to the Windows domain using Kerberos.
Novell eDirectory and Open Enterprise Server
It shouldn't come as any surprise that SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop also integrates easily with Novell eDirectory. Novell works hard to ensure its products support one another in the best ways possible. Such integration comes with virtually the same benefits as integrating with Microsoft Active Directory–single point of management, single sign-on authentication and access and so on.
Far more than just an LDAP store, Novell eDirectory is an LDAP directory service and forms the basis for many of the world's largest identity-management deployments. Since its debut more than 10 years ago, eDirectory has been trusted for its scalability, compatibility, reliability, manageability and security.
> Powerful Management
Last but not least, no other Linux platform is as easy to deploy, configure and maintain as SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. It includes a market-leading set of integrated systems-management features:
- The award-winning YaST graphic setup and configuration tool. YaST is a comprehensive installation, configuration and administration suite unique to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 and includes desktop configuration, end-user settings and connections to network resources.
- A subscription to Novell Customer Center–a unique software patch and update service from Novell. (See Figure 4.)
- For an onsite solution to manage your Linux desktops, Novell Customer Center integrates with Novell ZENworks Linux Management. A complement to YaST, Novell ZENworks Linux Management enables policy-based automation for deploying, managing and maintaining all your Linux machines on site and at remote locations from a centralized console.
> Why Novell
When you bring in something new, you want to work with a vendor who has already thought through the issues and understands what you are trying to accomplish. Novell has more than 20 years experience working with Windows desktops in its NetWare server environments. This knowledge has been integrated into SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop to make it the most interoperable Linux desktop available today. It provides organizations like yours with the ability to leverage their existing IT investments and reduce and contain costs.
If your company is looking for an alternative to the high price of continuing to deploy and maintain Microsoft machines, give SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop a good hard look. You can deploy it into your existing environment with little to no changes to your current infrastructure. It seamlessly interoperates with a wide range of hardware and software. And it will open the door to significant IT savings.
For more information on SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, visit novell.com.