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Novell To Release Suse Linux 10

Novell Inc. will start shipping Release 10 of its Suse Linux on Monday, marking the first full new release of Suse Linux since August 2004, according to the company's president and chief executive officer.

Suse Linux is a key to plans to get Novell back on track as a growth company, said Ronald W. Hovsepian, who was named chief executive last month when the company's board dismissed Jack L. Messman in frustration over Novell's sputtering turnaround.

Hovsepian said that Novell is seeing growth in its Linux products, which range from desktop to mainframe operating systems sharing the same code. He said that industry analysts estimate that Suse is a distant No. 2 with a 20 percent share in paid Linux subscriptions, behind Red Hat Inc. of Raleigh, N.C., which has about 80 percent of the market.

There are also a host of free distributions of the open-source operating system. Hovsepian said that he is encouraged by reports that free downloads of Suse are ahead of Red Hat levels, according to DistroWatch.com, which tracks the open-source market.

He said that Novell's Linux business has been growing 20 percent annually, but he thinks it should accelerate because the Linux market is growing 27 percent and the new distribution will help it sell more to corporate chief information officers who want to use the same code on mainframes, edge servers and desktops.

The new release will also correct a problem with earlier Suse versions, he said. It will encourage product registration, which will make it easier for Novell to boost renewals of annual contracts, and increase revenue from the existing customer base.

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