Novell is planning to open up a version of its Suse Linux operating system to users and developers, unveiling its OpenSuse project at the LinuxWorld show next week in San Francisco, a company executive confirmed Wednesday.
"We're making OpenSuse available for anyone anywhere," said Greg Mancusi-Ungaro, director of marketing for Linux and open source at Novell. "We've learned from customers that it's still very, very hard to get Linux unless you're a technical user."
Novell will rename its Suse Linux Professional flavor of Linux, Suse Linux, and will open source the operating system, hosting those efforts at a new Web site http://opensuse.org, according to Mancusi-Ungaro. "We're moving from a closed model where the code was tested in-house to a completely open and transparent model" where developers will have access to the source code and their input will be welcomed, he added.
At LinuxWorld, Novell will release its first public beta of Suse Linux, version 10.0, Mancusi-Ungaro said. In 2006, the company intends to establish a public code repository and a public build server for the open-sourced operating system, he added.
Novell is hoping to substantially increase the distribution of Suse Linux in a marketing push dubbed the "Lizard Blizzard" after Suse's lizard mascot, Mancusi-Ungaro said. The company plans to distribute "many thousands of copies" of the operating system at LinuxWorld and will be making more copies available at other trade shows and in magazines where Suse Linux is likely to have the most appeal, he added.
Mancusi-Ungaro said that Novell's move to open source Suse is different from the approach taken by rival Linux operating system vendor Red Hat Inc. with its Fedora project.
"Fedora's a really good open-source project, it's grown and become more independent [with the June establishment of the Fedora Foundation], but it has an inward focus with [a community of] technical users," he said. "OpenSuse has a different goal, it's all about end-user success. We have to develop something that's so usable that it can be deployed by someone who's not technical."