Novell has officially launched Suse 10, the first version based on the Open Suse project launched in August.

Open Suse is designed to build on Suse Professional Edition with the direct collaboration of the open-source community. Previously all Suse Pro editions were developed in-house, with only the final version released to the public. Under Open Suse the company has been releasing successive test versions which developers can add to and modify.

The approach is somewhat similar to Red Hat's Fedora Project, with the difference that Open Suse, unlike Fedora, is designed to culminate in a polished final release. This is Suse 10 - the successor to Suse Pro 9.3 - which made its debut late last week.

Updated software includes the graphical desktop environments KDE 3.4.2 and Gnome 2.12, and a pre-release version of the OpenOffice.org 2.0 productivity suite. Other major updates include the 2.6.13 Linux kernel, a technical preview of the Xen 3 virtualisation software, the "Beagle" desktop search engine, Mono 1.1.8, PostgreSQL 8.0.3 and new versions of the Opera and Firefox browsers.

New additions include Novell's AppArmor Lite security program and iFolder 3 for universal file access and IP telephony programs. The package includes more than 4,000 more programs that can be installed optionally.

Novell is distributing the software on five CDs or one dual-layer DVD, available with 90 days of installation support and a manual for 59 euros. Images of the same discs can be downloaded for free without support or commercial extras, but on Friday users reported trouble getting access to FTP servers. BitTorrent downloads are also available from Novell. The software is for x86-compatible processors, including both 32-bit and 64-bit AMD64 and EM64T hardware.

Installations can replace Windows systems or be put in as dual-boot alongside Windows. The software comes with Windows migration tools.

Novell is offering two different versions of Suse 10. Users can get a version with proprietary add-ons like RealPlayer, Acrobat Reader, Java Runtime Environment and Flash Player, or a version with only open-source components.