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Novell Linux Desktop 9 Features Overview

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Posted: 8 Nov 2004


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. Novell Linux Desktop also provides 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. Finally,Novell Linux Desktop, backed by Novell's network of support, training and partners, allows businesses to deploy Linux systems with confidence. This paper provides a short overview of the key features included in Novell Linux Desktop, focusing primarily on collaboration and office productivity tools and on factors that contribute to the enterprise readiness of Novell Linux Desktop.


Novell Linux Desktop 9 has a number of exciting new collaboration features oriented toward business users in mixed Windows/Linux environments.

Novell Evolution

Novell Evolution is an end-user application providing email, calendar, task management, and an address book. It supports all major servers through standard messaging interfaces. Novell Linux Desktop also includes a connector for interoperability with Microsoft Exchange 2000 and 2003 systems. In the first half of 2005, Novell will also provide connectivity to Novell GroupWise 6.5.

New features in Novell Evolution version 2 include:

  • NNTP support for news access
  • S/MIME support with certificate management tool
  • Integrated junk mail filtering with SpamAssassin
  • Web calendar subscriptions
  • Overlay calendars to compare different schedules
  • Interface improvements for access to different tools and data

Instant Messaging

Novell Linux Desktop includes an open source instant messaging client that supports the mosts common messaging protocols including AOL, MSN, and Yahoo!. In addition, the messaging client supports Novell GroupWise Instant Messenger for secure instant communication inside an organization.


Novell Linux Desktop 9 ships with a variety of general productivity applications.

Novell Linux Desktop includes the Novell edition of, a suite of office productivity applications, providing spreadsheet, word processing, and presentation tools. This version of has extensive file-format compatibility with Microsoft Office, allowing users to better share files between platforms. Novell Linux Desktop includes fonts that are metrically compatible with Microsoft fonts to provide better format fidelity when reading native Microsoft Office files. also exports documents in Adobe portable document format (PDF) with no additional software required.

While not an exact feature-for-feature match to Microsoft Office, provides the majority of capabilities for creating, processing, reviewing, and revising the documents required in daily business.

Mozilla Firefox

Mozilla Firefox is a convenient, easy-to-use web browser with advanced features, such as integrated search toolbars and tabbed browsing. Its key advantage over other browsers, however, are its security and privacy tools, including popup blocking and selective image and cookie loading. Ease of use, stability, and security have quickly made Mozilla Firefox the favorite of the Wall Street Journal's Walter Mossberg, USA Today, and Forbes magazine.

Novell iFolder

Novell Linux Desktop comes with client software for Novell iFolder 2. Novell iFolder is an enterprise service that can be hosted on a secure server platform, such as the forthcoming Novell Open Enterprise Server. The Novell iFolder 2 client synchronizes files from a local folder on a user's workstation to a central iFolder server, where data can be backed up as part of your organization's regular backup systems. Data stored in a user's iFolder can also be synchronized back to other workstations with an iFolder client, whether running Microsoft Windows or Novell Linux Desktop. 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

Adobe Reader

Adobe® Acrobat® Reader is free software that lets you view and print Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) files on a variety of devices and operating systems. Adobe Acrobat Reader allows users of Novell Linux Desktop access to various of Internet-published forms and manuals, including those exported from and Adobe Acrobat.

Citrix ICA client

The Citrix ICA client provides a method for accessing applications that cannot run natively on Novell Linux Desktop. The Citrix ICA client enables users to access Windows applications that appear to run locally on Novell Linux Desktop but actually execute on a server that remotely hosts the application. Because all application logic executes on the server and only screen updates, mouse movements and keystrokes are transmitted via the Citrix ICA session, Citrix is especially useful for thin clients and processor-intensive application services.

Macromedia Flash Player

The Macromedia Flash Player displays rich, interactive web content. With the Flash Player plug-in, Novell Linux Desktop users have access to full-featured media and application experiences through the Mozilla Firefox browser.


RealPlayer 10 supports a wide variety of media types, including RealAudio, RealVideo 10, MP3, Ogg Vorbis and Theora, H263, AAC and more, both through a stand-alone player and a Mozilla Firefox browser plug-in.

System Core

Novell Linux Desktop has several other notable accommodations and features to further its capabilities for user productivity.

  • Wireless Networking
    Novell Linux Desktop debuts the a convenient desktop applet for detecting, selecting, and configuring wireless 802.11 networks.

  • SUSE LINUX for security and reliability
    Novell built Novell Linux Desktop on the core code base of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9, which is rigorously designed tested to ensure the highest possible levels of security assurances and unmatched reliability. “Powered by SUSE Linux” means that Novell Linux Desktop is built on a foundation you can trust.

  • Kernel 2.6
    The Linux kernel is not generally regarded as something that enables end user productivity, but the kernel in Novell Linux Desktop merits special mention. Kernel version 2.6 has expanded hardware support, allowing better use of a broader range of systems. It also introduces faster disk handling to speed up system performance. Finally, it has expanded support for Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) hardware, permitting battery management and suspend-to-disk mode for newer laptops.

Enterprise Deployment Readiness

Centralized Configuration Support

YaST is a tool that provides administrators a unified solution for installation, configuration, and administration of SUSE Linux systems, including Novell Linux Desktop. YaST covers a wide range of management tasks and gives a consistent management experience for Novell Linux Desktop and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server. It also offers convenient APIs so that it can be scripted or extended by developers and third party vendors. Because YaST is released under the GNU General Public License (GPL), industry developers of all types can freely use, develop to, and redistribute YaST. .

AutoYaST Automated Installation Tool

AutoYaST allows unattended and automated installation. With AutoYaST, administrators can create a consistent baseline configuration for new installations in large or expanding deployments. The baseline configuration is easy to modify when necessary. AutoYaST works with PXE boot installation and the Service Location Protocol (SLP), which allows autodetection of install servers, for maximum convenience in deployment.

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 checks the software inventory 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.

When an administrator uses ZENworks Linux Management tools to ship an update, they know exactly which systems need which software, and can be sure that the right software gets to the right place: no more running from workstation to workstation with a CD, and no more hoping that users remember to update their own workstations regularly, or worse, install updates that break key applications. Centralized update automation provides faster response to security problems, less downtime, and enhanced business continuity.

Thin and Thick Client Support

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 also features an intuitive tool for configuring kiosks and other limited-function workstations.

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