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Linux Distributor Touts $449 Server

SuSE is touting the November release of a Linux server that will have full capabilities, including support for AMD and Intel 32-bit processors.
SuSE, the second leading Linux distribution vendor, announced that it will ship this fall a $449 standard edition of its Linux server for small and medium-sized firms.

SuSE Linux Standard Server 8, due to ship in November, will provide a full range of capabilities including support for Advanced Micro Devices and Intel 32-bit processors, two-way multiprocessing, Internet access, E-mail, file and print services, and graphical configuration wizards to simplify setup, the company said.

The software allows the server to be to set up as a Windows domain controller and DNS server and includes Web-based remote administration and Web-based access to mobile users, the company said.

The standard server is based on the company's Enterprise 8 server code, which was released in January. However, it lacks 64-bit support.

SuSE is following in the footsteps of nemesis Red Hat Inc., which launched a departmental and workgroup server earlier this year. The SCO Group had launched an SMB-oriented Linux server before abandoning the Linux market this year.

While the small and medium-sized segment is considered a high-growth opportunity, most Linux vendors continue to focus on the enterprise segment to seed the market. Red Hat had planned to launch a major channel program this year to drive SMB business, but those plans were postponed until the market matures, executives said recently.

At LinuxWorld in August, Hewlett-Packard and IBM unveiled major channel programs designed to push Linux more aggressively into the small and medium-sized space. SuSE, for its part, launched a major channel program last spring, which is operated out of the company's Oakland, Calif., U.S. headquarters.

However, most vendors acknowledge that most of the Linux action is on the enterprise side.

One major software reseller said it's hard to assess the pickup of Linux in the SMB segment since the code is free and more likely to be accessed from the Internet than from commercial vendors.

"Linux interest is difficult to measure since the nature of the Linux code is open source and distributed over the Web," said Paul Jarvie, president of ASAP Software, a large account reseller in Buffalo Grove, Ill. "We continue to make inroads into the SMB but have yet to see a demand for Linux software. "