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SCALE Linux Desktop 10 news revisited, revised

Novell's Linux desktop 10 will include improved file sharing, security and interoperability features, plus support for Visual Basic macros in Excel.

This revised article contains corrections to inaccuracies found its first release. For example, the SCALE event took place in Los Angeles, not San Diego as first reported. More importantly, Novell Inc.'s director of user communities, Ted Haeger, did not say at SCALE that there would be a beta of Novell Linux Desktop 10. Instead, he said that if Novell were to do one, it would not be until or after BrainShare. Due to the high interest in Novell Linux Desktop 10, many people contacted Haeger and his cohorts for copies of the beta. We regret the problems to Haeger and friend by the original misstatements in this report. -- Jan Stafford, editor

LOS ANGELES -- The Linux Desktop 10 includes new features offering better interoperability with Microsoft Office and Open Office, said Ted Haeger, Novell Inc.'s director of user communities, at the Southern California Linux Expo (SCALE).

The release will include a new feature, dubbed Xgl. Haeger said Xgl will allow users to jump between screens and multiple desktops. Targeted to CAD software users, Xgl has a practical side that allows users to have better window- and file-sharing capabilities.

Open themes for OpenOffice

The planned Novell desktop package, which incorporates OpenOffice, includes support for Visual Basic macros used in Excel. Better integration with OpenOffice will allow Linux Desktop 10 to use what Haeger described as "native theming." That means OpenOffice will automatically adopt the use of icons similar to that of the native operating system and will also support digital signatures.

Novell will also integrate and deploy several of its recently acquired third-party products into the latest release of Desktop Linux 10, including AppArmor and the Beagle search engine.

"For people to start adopting Linux [on the desktop], it's not just about the applications; it's about the feel as well as the applications," said Haeger. "All this is meant to be more personal so that people get an attachment to the desktop. And that can help drive us forward [with] more and more apps and lower prices."

New multimedia features abound

Under the version 10 release, AppArmor will create an application profile of standard commands and files based on what the application is supposed to do. If an application tries to perform a function outside of the profile, Haeger said, users will be allowed to freeze, restart, or shutdown the applications. An OpenSuSE version is available on the Web.

The Beagle search program will be integrated directly into Desktop 10 to reduce the need for scrolling and searching deep within layers of menus.

On an additional note, Desktop 10 multimedia capability will be now be offered by music manager Banshee.

Microsoft documents sealed with Microsoft encryption can be opened on OpenOffice. There will be support for X-forms and the calculator application will have the same-sized array as an Excel spreadsheet.

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