R Jai Krishna
CHENNAI: In order to push Linux on the desktop environment, Linux SUSE 10 Open Office suite banks upon the performance and user-friendly factor as against its competitors.
Talking to Cyber Media News on the sidelines of the SUSE 10 road-show in Chennai, Prakash Advani, Linux Practice Head, Indian Subcontinent, said that the latest offering was part of the ‘Better Desktop’ project, and the suite contains various performance-enhancing features such as the Beagle – desktop search, apart from the Novell version of Open office with words, spreadsheet, photo editing, database application etc.,
“This enables the end-user to have a complete experience with one single version rather than opting for different software’s for different applications,” he said.
Prakash added that to make the suite more interesting, the desktop has been designed to give a 3-D view, which would also enable users to switch between applications and at the same time running the inactive applications.
On the popularity of the Open Office suite, he said that integration factor played an important role in this kind of open source software, and in this context added that there is a common code for integrating with Microsoft or any other office suite, thus making the user feel it better to switch applications between two entirely different sets of software packages.
“As Novel SUSE 10 is Open Source, it is cost-effective offering better performance, and the mot advantageous one is that it runs on the existing hardware configuration, thus not burdening the user with the need to upgrade the system configuration,” he said further.
“Unlike the competitor, as from the earlier version to the latest one the hardware requirements are the same, which is best suited for the Indian market, which does not want to invest in hardware up-gradation at frequent intervals,” Prakash informed.
“The major issue is that of security, which has been addressed with an addition of firewall software – Aparmour, which is an application tool. Another one is that it requires one administration and also that of Virtualization, which means various applications, can run on multiple hard disks, thus making it much cheaper and economical rather than running on various disks / servers,” he added, while talking about the USP of the latest offering.
Speaking about the popularity, Sandeep Menon, Director (Sales) Linux (West) Asia Business, said that there were approximately an estimated of 350, 000 downloads till date and one download happens in every 6 seconds. “We see our growth in the SOHO segment, interestingly, though we had though revenue would be from only Government and SMBs,” he said.
Sandeep said that Novell had adopted a three-pronged strategy to gain more market-share within India and in the Asia region.
“Firstly, we would like to train people on CNLP (Certified Novell Linux Professional) and pushing in for more trained people as they would start building a community, secondly, we are and would be organizing user conferences/ seminars thus making the user feel the product, and the third strategy is to tie-up with big OEMs, thus offering our product as a package to the buyers. We have just signed an agreement with Lenovo to distribute our products along with their desktops and notebooks, which would see ourselves growing in all segments,” he informed.
On the business strategy, Sandeep said that Novell was looking at good business from the Government sector, banking industry as well as from SMBs. “There is also a great demand in niche areas, like that of film post-production where hundreds of machines have to put together for rendering. Similarly among the SAP user segment and also in defense and education sector where they expect high performance computers,” he said further.
In this context, he said the strategy now was to be focused and define the solutions segment, apart from increasing the support system. “And the next thing is localization. Now the package offered comes with localization with tools for interoperability in 5 languages such Tamil, Hindi, Bengali, Marathi, and Gujarati. We offer a full-scale localization, which means there is an in-depth localization, right from the menu commands. Though there is an internal R & D, to improve the localization tools, inputs are also being taken from the Open Source Community to make it more user-friendly,” Sandeep informed.
On the growth figures of the Open Office, he said that if was difficult to track the growth, as it is an open source. “But according to IDC reports 26-30 percent on the server segment, which we think is the tip of the ice-berg. At the same time tracking the growth is not possible, as the research organizations do not have the tool and methodology,” he said.
“Growth can be determined by pinging on to individual machine but a legal system has to be put in place for this. It is found that 60 to 70 percent of apache is found to be running on Linux. At the end of it, though there is a technology that exists the legal issue is of concern,” Sandeep said further.
In this regard, he said that some people, especially the student community seems to use dual-boot machines and this is a fast growing market. “As for Novell, we need to give a lifecycle for a product before we introduce anything advanced, and this is especially significant for the enterprise segment,” he said.
On the other hand, Sandeep said that Novell would also bank upon the existing partner network and distributor network, including the support infrastructure. “There is a support center in Mumbai in India, for the US and Europe markets, it would now be handling support beginning from basic tele-support to the most technical ones at Indian prices,” he informed.
Sandeep said that Novell had tied-up with two distribution partners namely Redington and Sonata apart from 120 authorized partners across the country. “The stress would be laid on improving the ability of the existing partners by providing them with in-depth training and helping the partners rather than increasing the network,” he said.
On the Indian market taking to Open Source, Sandeep said that the advantage is that India had already built the skill on open source and now needs to leverage on it. “The significance lies in the revenue on services, which is a significant opportunity for India and it is seen as leading the ASEAN market by other countries, sans China,” he added.
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