Linux users seeking higher performance may be interested in the latest OSes from Novell, which acquired German vendor SuSE Linux in November.

SuSE Linux 9.1 Personal and SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional, are based on the 2.6 kernel and include the latest GNOME 2.4.2 and KDE 3.2.1 desktop interfaces, Novell announced at the Cebit trade show in Hanover.

The professional version, targeted at Linux users requiring network or server functionality, runs on 32-bit processors as well as AMD's Athlon 64-bit processors and Intel's extended memory 64-bit technology, the company said.

The product will be available from 6 May at, bookstores and software suppliers (the German version is available a fortnight earlier). For $89.96 (£49.31), customers receive five CDs and two double-sided DVDs (one for 32-bit processors, the other for 64-bit processors), containing more than 2,500 open-source packages. The personal version, for desktop users, available on the same dates, will retail at $29.95 (£16.42) and comes with two CDs.

The new 2.6 Linux kernel allows users to achieve higher performance with the same hardware, according to a company spokesman. It enables, for instance, high-quality music and video while other applications are started and run simultaneously.

In addition, kernel 2.6 provides an improved ACPI (Advanced Configuration and Power Interface), enabling more efficient power management and extending battery operation time for laptops. The new GNOME desktop offers several new features, such as a universal instant messaging client and simplified printing configuration, as well as a video conferencing system.

The new KDE version 3.2.1 features more than 10,000 improvements, including a new personal information manager, and a uniform interface for e-mail, calendar, address book and notes applications.