Novell's newly developed SuSE Linux client operating system has an improved user interface and features, but the high cost of migrating from Windows remains a major barrier to uptake, according to Gartner.
The warning comes after Novell's demonstration last week of the next version of its Linux client operating system, SuSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 10, which it plans to ship during the third quarter of this year.
The demonstration coincidentally occurred the day after Microsoft announced a delay in the shipment of Windows Vista.
"Although this Linux operating system is much improved over previous versions, the cost of migrating Windows applications remains the main barrier to widespread enterprise adoption," said Michael A. Silver, vice president and research director at Gartner Research.
However, the analyst pointed out that SLED 10 has many new features which enterprises are likely to find attractive, including integrated desktop search, support for popular virtual private network clients and the inclusion of OpenOffice.org 2.0.2.
Novell has enhanced OpenOffice.org 2.0.2 with licensed fonts and Visual Basic for Applications macro conversion.
Gartner also pointed to improved plug-and-play for USB and Bluetooth devices as major steps forward for the Linux distro.
Silver explained that the most visible change in SLED 10 is a new user interface, which is similar to Macintosh and Windows Vista. "Compared with the new one, previous Linux user interfaces felt 'grafted on'," he said.
Included in the new interface are live icons during task switching, improved window animation, transparent frames and multiple desktops that make the screen appear like a 3D cube when switching between them," Silver said.
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