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Novell Linux Desktop 9 Technical Overview

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Posted: 8 Nov 2004
 

Table of Contents

Desktop Productivity Applications
Enterprise Deployment Readiness
Powered by SUSE Linux
Novell Backing and Support

Novell Linux Desktop 9 provides a leading end-user productivity environment designed specifically to empower businesses to leverage Linux and open source with confidence. It can be deployed as a general-purpose desktop platform or tailored for use in information kiosks, call-center terminals, or stations for infrequent PC users, and makes an ideal alternative to high-cost UNIX-based engineering workstations. For organizations seeking to avoid single-vendor lock-in of their desktop systems, Novell Linux Desktop users can comfortably interoperate with Windows-based users, within or between organizations.

Desktop Productivity Applications

Novell Linux Desktop includes a complete set of applications for everyday business tasks, from word processing to using custom Java or web-based applications.

Novell Evolution 2.0
The most popular groupware client for Linux, Evolution integrates e-mail, calendaring, tasks and contact management in one easy-to-use application. As part of Novell Linux Desktop, Evolution integrates smoothly with other applications and communications tools and connects to corporate communications architectures including Microsoft Exchange.

Feature Description
Standards Support Evolution embraces mail, calendar and address book standards to ease data sharing.
Supported mail protocols include IMAP, POP, SMTP and Authenticated SMTP, as well as Microsoft Exchange 2000 and 2003. Novell GroupWise support is currently in the community development branch.
iCalendar support allows users in disparate collaboration servers to share meeting information, publish this information and subscribe to calendars published on the Web (webcal).
Lightweight Directory Access Protocol (LDAP) support enables users to access their existing company address books. Users can also share contact information using vCard message attachments.
Security and Encryption Industry-standard encryption, including support for PGP/GPG, SASL and SSL/TLS, ensures message security.
E-mail Client Evolution connects to corporate communications architectures, including Microsoft Exchange and Novell GroupWise.
The message composer auto-completes e-mail addresses stored in the Contacts list.
View options allow users to view e-mail chronologically, by author or by thread. Custom folders can be color-coded to note priority or type, and vFolders, dynamic saved searches, provide convenient access to messages spread across multiple folders.
User-defined filters automatically move or process incoming and outgoing mail into specific, customizable folders. Account-management tools enable users to receive, manage and organize messages from multiple e-mail accounts.
New integration with SpamAssassin enables client-side junk-mail filtering.
Enhanced offline access for IMAP mail is included in Evolution 2.0.
Calendar Users can create customized reminders for their events that open windows or play sounds. A "snooze-button" feature allows users to delay the reminder.
iCalendar support enables users to arrange appointments and schedule meetings with Microsoft Outlook, Novell GroupWise and other applications that support the iCalendar standard.
Group scheduling helps users schedule meetings, view attendee availability and allocate resources with other users in organizations running Novell GroupWise or Microsoft Exchange.
Free/busy searches enable users to publish and view schedules to facilitate the planning of group meetings.
The new overlay feature enables users to view multiple calendars so they can see their personal calendars as well as those of coworkers, work groups and others in a single color-coded view. This allows users to see conflicts or possible events without using the free/busy search.
New support for Web-based and multiple local calendars extends the ability to add any valid .ics file to calendar views, allowing users or workgroups to track events without leaving their Evolution Calendar view.
Contact Management Users can keep track of their business associates, friends and family by adding them to their contact list and maintaining multiple contact folders.
LDAP support enables users to access their existing company address books without changing collaboration infrastructure.
Users can save time with address auto-completion, a feature that uses locally stored contacts or those found in LDAP directories to automatically complete e-mail addresses. They can also share, receive and save contacts using built-in vCard support.
Task and To-do List Users can organize their work by entering to-do items into the task component. Summary, description, due dates, priorities, and categories can be entered. Users can then view their items by date, priority, deadlines and other criteria or view tasks in the integrated calendar view.
Extensible Architecture Evolution 2.0 includes the new Evolution Data Server component that exposes Evolution-accessible data (such as mail, calendar and contacts) to the rest of the desktop applications. This enables independent application developers to access collaboration server data without writing code for each server type.
Built-in Microsoft Exchange Support Users can communicate directly with built-in WebDAV support, eliminating the need to maintain separate IMAP e-mail server access to support Linux.
From within Evolution, users can view, edit and update e-mail, address books, calendars and task folders on the Exchange server.
Using existing global address lists, users can access names, addresses and contact information from the Exchange Global Address List.
Public folder support allows users to share documents and files in existing Exchange public folders. They can also create new public folders for collaboration.
Through the Manage Permissions feature, users can control access to personal and public folders, calendars and task lists.
With the proper authorization, users can open other users' calendars or shared folders.
The Out-of-Office Assistant helps users create custom vacation or notification messages that run on the Exchange server.
Direct resource booking reserves resources such as conference rooms or vehicles for your meetings and appointments.
S/MIME protocol support (New Feature) S/MIME certificate support gives users a higher level of authentication in their correspondence. This feature ensures that messages are digitally signed and encrypted. Users can view, manage and import certificates and recognize additional certificate authorities with a centralized certificate management tool.
Palm Device Support Users can access the latest information with two-way synchronization between Evolution (calendar, address book and task list) and their Palm handheld devices.
Desktop Integration (New Feature) Users can leverage easy-to-use Evolution features through the new Evolution Data Server component. For example, users can view today's appointments and tasks in the panel calendar, display appointment reminders in the Panel Notification Area and share Instant Messaging information with Gaim.

OpenOffice.org, Novell Edition
OpenOffice.org is a complete business productivity suite IT departments can deploy to drive down licensing costs. It provides a word processor, presentation and spreadsheet applications, an HTML editor and a drawing tool. The user interface requires little retraining for current Windows and Microsoft Office users and the file import and export tools ensure that users never have to worry about file formats when collaborating with Microsoft Office users.

Feature Description
Integration with Novell Linux Desktop The Novell Edition of OpenOffice.org features redesigned menus and tool bars for maximum consistency with Novell Linux Desktop, including support for desktop appearance or theme changes. These features provide users with a consistent interface across the Linux desktop, which enhances overall usability and helps minimize enterprise training and support requirements.
Enhanced Support for Microsoft Office File Formats OpenOffice.org supports import and export of Microsoft Office file formats, even taking advantage of metrically compatible fonts to match document length. Transparent document sharing makes OpenOffice.org the best choice for customers who are deploying Linux desktops in a mixed Linux/Windows environment.
Improved Software Quality The Novell Edition of OpenOffice.org also includes a number of back-ported fixes for improved Microsoft Office file sharing including full conversion of embedded objects and improved Excel function compatibility.
Enhanced Fonts The Novell Edition of OpenOffice.org maps Microsoft Office-formatted document fonts to their Agfa equivalents. This ensures that documents created with Microsoft Office retain their length, format and design on Linux systems.
Integration with Novell Evolution The Novell Edition of OpenOffice.org features seamless integration with Novell Evolution, including mail merge.

Additional Applications
Novell Linux Desktop also includes the following applications and tools for office productivity.

Feature Description
Instant Messaging Novell Linux Desktop includes kopete and gaim for instant messaging. Both support popular public IM networks such as AOL, MSN, Jabber and Yahoo!, as well as Novell GroupWise Instant Messaging, which increases security and control by keeping the messaging system both encrypted and inside the company.
Novell iFolder Support Novell iFolder allows users to access, organize and manage their files from anywhere, anytime. Users experience the convenience of having their files available at work, home or on the go with worry-free security and high-speed mobility. For more information visit http://www.novell.com/ifolder.
Mozilla Firefox Web Browser Firefox is convenient, easy to use web browser with advanced features like integrated search toolbars and tabbed browsing. It works with many web applications that support only Internet Explorer, and includes stronger security and privacy tools, including popup blocking and selective image and cookie loading. Its ease of use, stability, and security have made it the favorite of the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Forbes magazine.
Multimedia Tools Novell Linux Desktop includes RealPlayer from RealNetworks and other easy-to-use media players, making it easy to view multimedia files and streaming audio or video feeds, create CDs or DVDs, and more.
Productivity Application and File Viewers Novell Linux Desktop features a wealth of other key applications business users need to get work done, including Adobe Acrobat Reader, video conferencing, a project management application, graphics programs, and more.

Desktop Environments
Novell Linux Desktop includes both the GNOME and KDE environments. Choice of a primary desktop environment is directed primarily by stylistic preference, as both environments are integrated into the operating system, and applications from one environment operate normally in the other.

Multilingual Support
Novell Linux Desktop is available and supported in several languages. Linux community translations are available, although unsupported, for dozens of additional languages.

Localization Novell Linux Desktop supports single and double-byte character sets and provides a localized desktop environment and productivity suite in the following languages:
  • English
  • Portuguese
  • French
  • Italian
  • German
  • Spanish
  • Japanese**
  • Chinese
  • (Simplified and Traditional)
  • Korean
**Language support available soon.

Enterprise Deployment Readiness

Novell Linux Desktop is suitable for a variety of enterprise needs, whether for thin or thick clients, for shared PCs, or as single-function workstations. To reduce maintenance and deployment costs, Novell integrates makes sure that administrators can easily install, configure, update, secure and manage Novell Linux Desktop.

Centralized Management Support
YaST gives administrators an integrated solution for installation, configuration, and administration of SUSE Linux systems. Now licensed under the GPL, YaST covers a wide range of management tasks and gives a consistent management experience across all supported SUSE LINUX platforms. It also offers convenient APIs so that it can be extended by developers and third party vendors. Because YaST is released under GPL, all players in the industry can fully embrace it, without any concerns about competing with Novell.

Feature Description
Multiple YaST Interfaces YaST provides a friendly GUI for everyday use, a text mode for changes at the console, and well-documented APIs for scripting and extension.
AutoYAST and Other Installation Sources AutoYaST allows unattended and automated installation. With AutoYaST, administrators can create a consistent baseline configuration for new installations in large or expanding deployments. Other installation methods include PXE Boot, CD-ROM, NFS, CIFS/SMB, HTTP, FTP, and the Service Location Protocol (SLP), which allows autodetection of install servers.
Software Update The online update system, based on YaST and Red Carpet, allows administrators to install security updates and bug fixes automatically or on command.
Common Information Model (CIM) Support The Common Information Model (CIM) standardizes the exchange of management information in a platform-independent and technology-neutral way. CIM-enabled software reduces the cost of management by providing a single API for heterogeneous technology environments.
ZENworks Linux Management Novell Linux Desktop includes the Red Carpet Daemon (rcd), a service which, combined with a ZENworks Linux Management (ZLM) server, allows administrators to control updates and system behavior remotely from a centralized location. The daemon determines the configuration of a system and compares it to a list of available upgrades and patches that the administrator makes available. It can then download and install the new software, automatically taking dependencies and incompatibilities into account.

Additional Features for Enterprise Environments

Feature Description
Thin- and Thick-Client Deployment Novell Linux Desktop supports both thick- and thin-client configurations, enabling IT administrators to support the desktop in virtually any IT setting. The product includes support for PXE and remote desktop protocols such as RDP, VNC and SSH. The remote lock-down and kiosk functions provide very tightly constrained logins designed for use in public terminals and kiosks. The KDE desktop features an intuitive tool for configuring kiosks.
Interoperability The desktop features support for popular file formats, network resources, and e-mail and calendaring system protocols. The benefit for end users is immediate and hassle-free interoperability with Linux, Macintosh and Windows users and seamless integration with existing authentication and collaboration management services.
Software Development Kit (SDK) Novell offers a comprehensive software development kit (SDK) for rapid delivery of Linux desktop applications. The SDK features complete documentation and tools. Desktop APIs are documented, and developers can write Linux desktop applications in C/C++, Java, Perl, Python and C#.
Powered by SUSE Linux

Novell Linux Desktop 9 is powered by the SUSE Linux operating system, the same operating system in use on servers, blades and mainframes. With a common code base across multiple hardware platforms, an exhaustive and well-supported SDK and consistent APIs throughout its release cycle, Novell Linux Desktop 9 is an ideal platform for independent software developers and vendors.

Feature Description
Unbeatable Performance System reliability and availability are key concerns for IT buyers and Linux products from Novell can play a key role in improving performance and reducing downtime. Novell Linux Desktop is based on the latest Linux 2.6 kernel, providing broad hardware support, fast boot times, advanced power management and increased performance for multi-tasking desktop and multimedia applications.
Product Quality Quality is always the primary goal for Novell Linux products and this commitment is apparent in every aspect of the development process, from design to packaging to update and support. All SUSE Linux-based products undergo a unique 5-point testing process in a large-scale environment. Testing phases include thousands of independent stress, quality and security test suites, including the Linux Test Project Database Open Test Suite, OSDL Database Test Suite, Java* Grand Forum Benchmark Suite and others. Novell also works closely with business partners like IBM, Oracle and SAP to integrate their quality requirements into its quality processes and ensure compatibility with SUSE Linux-based products. All SUSE Linux security patches and system updates undergo the same rigorous quality assurance testing.
Common Code Base SUSE LINUX technology uses a common code base that extends across desktops, servers and mainframes. The unique Novell AutoBuild technology guarantees that all SUSE Linux-based products are uniformly quality assured and run on all relevant hardware platforms, including x86, AMD64, Intel* EM64T, the Intel Itanium* Processor Family, IBM POWER*, IBM zSeries* and IBM S/390*. This unified code base provides IT managers with the flexibility and cost savings that come from a common operating system, consistent management tools and the ability to install software updates across all Linux deployments. With AutoBuild and a common code base, all SUSE Linux-based products benefit from bug fixes and performance enhancements, regardless of which platform they run on.
Unmatched Security Novell Linux Desktop shares the same security capabilities of SUSE LINUX Enterprise Server, which has received the highest level of security and operations certification ever reached in the Linux market, Common Criteria Evaluation Assurance Level (EAL) 3+. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 includes all the components required for compliance with the next certification level, EAL 4+. All SUSE Linux products include a wealth of security features such as encryption, certificate authority and management, user authentication and access control, firewall and proxy services.
Binary Compatibility Service pack updates will not break binary compatibility for glibc or other core libraries, although the X windowing system and direct low-level kernel interfaces are subject to change in some circumstances. Applications which conform to LSB 1.1 can be absolutely assured of working for the entire operating system lifespan.

Novell Backing and Support

Novell brings a complete enterprise software ecosystem to Linux, providing technical support, training, consulting, indemnification and the extended partner network that IT buyers demand when deploying a strategic platform. Novell SUSE Linux products are built for performance and reliability and are backed by hundreds of software engineers, support staff and consultants who are dedicated to Linux, open source and customer success.

Feature Description
Commitment to Linux and Open Source As a result of its acquisitions of SUSE Linux and Ximian, Novell now has some of the industry's most talented open source engineers on its staff. Novell employees are also significant contributors to key open source projects, including the Linux kernel, the Reiser file system, YaST, Mono*, GNOME, KDE, Evolution, Mozilla* and OpenOffice.org.
Novell's commitment to adopting Linux and open source is also illustrated by its own internal deployments, which incorporate Linux into its IT infrastructure at every level, from the data center to every employee desktop.
Support Options Novell support contracts allow customers to buy only as much technical support as they need, and then integrate the Linux support with their other support needs. Novell service professionals can help businesses evaluate the overall service levels their systems require, and then choose the service that will best support their needs and objectives - regardless of size.
Reliable Release Plan Novell Linux product development program is designed for corporate demands.
As Novell contributes to open source projects, it delivers Linux software to thousands of open source community members and technical individuals who thoroughly test the distribution on a broad range of hardware and provide feedback.
The code base is then put through a rigorous set of bug fixing, quality testing, security assurance, and third-party software and hardware certification processes. As a result, all Novell enterprise Linux software - SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and Novell Linux Desktop 9 - has a stable kernel and code base. Both products are supported with a five-year support and maintenance policy.
Global Support Network The mature, experienced technical support organization at Novell provides industry-leading 24 x 7 x 365 Linux support for businesses around the world. This infrastructure gives CIOs the peace of mind that comes from knowing Novell will be there to back them whenever problems occur. With more than 800 support personnel located in seven support centers covering every region of the world, Novell can deliver unmatched levels of service on a global scale. In addition, Novell support technicians are trained on a variety of technologies - not just Linux. When it comes to supporting Linux interoperability with other systems and applications, Novell expertise is unmatched in the industry.
Education and Certification Programs Novell is the only company that offers a comprehensive set of consulting and training services designed to help businesses mitigate risks and achieve optimal staff performance when moving to the Linux platform. By giving employees access to training and certification programs that map to their job requirements, Novell helps all levels of an organization - from end users and developers to the IT help desk - achieve a level of comfort and proficiency that will reduce support costs and improve satisfaction and productivity.
Legal Indemnification Novell is the only vendor to provide indemnification against intellectual property suits arising from use of its Linux operating systems. As enterprises consider making strategic investments in Linux, they face the question of copyright safety. Indemnification is a standard component offered with most traditional proprietary software offerings but is generally unavailable for Linux. Novell gives customers peace of mind by providing them with the licensing and legal protection they need in today's challenging business environment.
The Novell Linux Indemnification Program is a licensing addendum that helps minimize risk by protecting organizations financially if a third party files a Linux infringement claim against them. This unique program provides much more than the basic warranty-like protection offered by other Linux vendors; it actually defends businesses against copyright litigation. In a world where legal expenses often exceed the damages awarded in lawsuits, the Novell Linux Indemnification Program provides the added assurance that Novell Linux deployments will never be interrupted—and that Novell will cover any legal expenses resulting from copyright claims against SUSE Linux Enterprise Server or Novell Linux Desktop. For more information on the Novell Linux Indemnification Program, visit http://www.novell.com/licensing/indemnity/.
Global Partner Ecosystem for Linux Through the years, Novell has built an extensive network of channel partners that provides invaluable support through resellers and consultants in local markets. Novell currently has more than 4,200 channel partners worldwide in its PartnerNet* program, and thousands more that sell Novell technologies, so Novell customers always have fast access to qualified local sales and service support. Novell also provides partners with sales and technical training, so they have all the tools and knowledge they need to sell and deploy Linux successfully.
Novell also offers all channel partners access to early software releases and world-class technical support, so they can support their customers effectively.


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