Novell Deems Suse Linux 10 a Success

It didn’t take long for Novell to remark on how well its newest Linux operating system, Suse Linux Enterprise 10 (SLE 10), is doing in the marketplace. The company on Monday touted interest in the new platform as well as positive reviews of it, just two weeks after its release.

Suse Linux Enterprise 10 includes both enterprise server and desktop operating systems. Novell claimed more than 165,000 SLE 10 component downloads and more than a quarter million visitors to its Customer Center site, which allows software tool trials and updates, since the firm launched SLE 10 on July 17.

Novell also pointed to an 800 percent average increase in daily downloads from Novell.com, with Suse Linux Enterprise products getting downloaded every five seconds since SLE 10 was launched. Meanwhile, Novell said its www.novell.com/linux page has experienced over 312,000 hits in the past 10 days.

Total Linux

There is no question that Suse Linux is a strong, popular platform, but whether Novell can convert its technology into revenue and shareholder trust remains to be seen, Interarbor Solutions Principal Analyst Dana Gardner told LinuxInsider.

“We need not confuse units and distribution and convert that to future revenue growth for Novell,” he said. “Novell needs to go back to its shareholders and investors and show it’s in growth mode. It needs to show revenue growth from its Linux business.”

Along with updated monitoring and other management software, one of the biggest parts of the Suse Linux Enterprise 10 release was inclusion of Xen open source virtualization technology, which had been in great demand by developers, according to Novell.

The company chose the right strategy in releasing the Xen technology with Suse Linux Enterprise 10, Gardner opined.

“Getting it out and used and in place is an important step the markets had been looking forward to,” he said. “Getting it deployed in settings aids and abets in development.”

Too Soon to Say

Illuminata Senior Analyst Gordon Haff disagreed. The inclusion of Xen virtualization technology was a mistake, he said. In his view, the open source virtualization technology is not yet production-ready and was released too early.

Nevertheless, he acknowledged that the early downloads and growth Novell cited are indicators of market demand for and interest in SLE 10. It will take more time, however, to discover how the overall market will receive such a product, and whether the company’s bottom line will be affected, Haff told LinuxInsider.

“It always takes a lot longer,” he said. “Most end users are not sitting around with bated breath for a new Linux.”

Still, Haff said SLE 10 could be key for Novell as the company looks to shake off a past fraught with weak earnings and management shakeups.

“Having that foundation is a pretty important way to get your foot in the door to sell other things,” he concluded.

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