Bluetooth support, the latest kernel, Gnome and KDE desktops and the Web authoring package Nvu are among the updated features of Novell's just-launched SuSE Linux Professional 9.2. With availability due in November, Novell sees the update as another step towards the Linux desktop for everyman, and reckons the OS update "provides Linux newcomers and enthusiasts with the latest advancements in open source technology."

Added mobility support arrives via Bluetooth wireless support, which includes automatic recognition of Bluetooth-enabled devices via the YaST central configuration and administration tool. YaST also makes it easy to connect to and move between wireless LANs (WLAN) and other network connections, according to Novell. Advanced power management through ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface) and suspend-to-disk features also make it easy for laptop users who require the increased mobility this affords.

The updated version's core technology includes the new enhanced Linux kernel 2.6.8, providing stability and security along with greater hardware support. The X.Org Foundation's new X Window System X11R.6.8.1 also contributes to overall better hardware support. GCC 3.3.4 and glibc 2.3.3 provide best performance for a Linux distribution to date. It also comes with a broad range of development environments including KDevelop, Eclipse and Mono, a development platform based on the .NET framework which allows open source developers to build Linux and cross-platform applications with unprecedented productivity.

The system includes over 3,500 packages, according to Novell, including office, Internet, email and multimedia software, server services for home networks, and development tools.

New features and applications

- KDE 3.3 and GNOME 2.6 graphical desktop environments for enhanced usability and desktop comfort.

- OpenOffice.org 1.1.3, a complete Word-, Excel- and PowerPoint-compatible office suite.

- Novell Evolution 2.0, an email and personal information client, with integrated support for Microsoft Exchange 2000/2003 connectivity, compatibility with Novell GroupWise using IMAP, plus support for a broad set of standard email protocols.

- GIMP 2, a comprehensive image processing and graphics creation tool.

- Inkscape, a new vector graphics application that Novell reckons outperforms all other Linux alternatives.

- Nvu, a Web authoring system that combines Web file management and easy-to-use page editing.

Also bundled is a selection of commercial software, including full versions of the text processing application TextMaker and spreadsheet application PlanMaker from SoftMaker, full-version backup software sesam from SEP, as well as a demo version of MainConcept's video editing software MainActor 5.

Additional Internet and network functionality includes pre-configured time servers for many countries, and better communication and synchronisation with diverse groupware systems through improved support for standards-based protocols. Further YaST improvements include greater security via the automatic activation of a firewall after installation and a redesigned user interface to permit easier setup of SAMBA, DNS and DHCP servers.

“SuSE Linux Professional 9.2 offers a wide spectrum of users the benefits of leading-edge open source technology that is professionally designed, cost-effective and easy-to-use,” said Novell VP Markus Rex.

Pricing and Availability
Novell said SuSE Linux Professional 9.2 delivers the latest Linux technology for standard 32-bit PC processors as well as for AMD Athlon 64 and Intel Extended Memory 64 Technology and will be available worldwide from bookstores and other retail software suppliers in early November. The package's suggested retail price -- which includes five CDs, two DVDs, user guide and administration guide, 90 days of installation support) is £58. An update edition for existing users will also be available.

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