Xen leads Novell's turnaround effort in Linux

On Monday, Novell will release major updates to its Linux product lineup by adding Xen virtualization software to its enterprise server product and new eye candy to the desktop counterpart.

The biggest change will arrive with SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 10, which will be the first major Linux distribution to incorporate the Xen virtualization technology. Xen is designed to boost a computer's efficiency by allowing the user to run multiple operating systems simultaneously. SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10 will gain a new fancy graphics interface called Xgl. Novell hopes Xgl will help showcase its innovations.

"SLED is going to be the sizzle, and SLES is going to be the steak," Justin Steinman, Novell's director of product marketing for Linux, said.

But it will take more than just good technology make inroads against Linux market leader Red Hat, said Ideas International analyst Tony Iams. "Products have never been a problem for Novell. It's been on marketing and execution," he said.

SLES 10 should turn the Waltham, Mass.-based company's Linux results around, Novell's Steinman believes. "We are first to market with a next-generation platform. We are the only one to deliver a broad platform from the desktop to the data center. We will have much more aggressive marketing and be much easier to do business with," he said.

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