Novell delivers SUSE appliance kit

This is about making it faster and easier for ISVs to sell more of their existing product with little additional modification required.

It may be the most important thing Novell has done for software shops in decades.

The SUSE Appliance Program consists of a Web-based appliance construction tool called SUSE Studio Online, a mini-Linux called SUSE Linux Enterprise JeOS (Just Enough Operating System), support for Amazon's EC2 cloud, plus marketing support. It's aimed at Independent Software Vendors (ISVs).

Software appliances are cool because they provide everything an application needs to run. Installation can be a matter of a few keystrokes.

"This is about helping an ISV access a new market through a new software appliance distribution method," senior program manager Matt Richards told ZDNet.

"This is about making it faster and easier for ISVs to sell more of their existing product with little additional modification required."

You might call it SUSE Application Delivery for Dummies (above).

With the Appliance Program a software vendor can quickly create an "evaluation package" of their software that actually runs, either on a client's hardware or in the cloud. The Program also makes it easier for a vendor to offer Software as a Service (SaaS).

"Software is difficult to install " added Nat FreemanFriedman, chief technology and strategy officer for Novell's Linux Business Unit. . "ISVs who distribute software have a challenge whenever customers have problems. This lets them bundle applications pre-installed, tested, stacked, with the operating system, on a CD or a stick. They get a lot of value from that.

Novell said it currently has about 3,600 applications certified on SUSE Linux Enterprise, and many will be joining the program. Its press kit includes testimonials from HP, IBM, VMWare, SAP, Ingres and Adobe, as well as smaller outfits like Adaris Technologies aqnd ZManda.

So is this a game-changer? How long do you think it will take Novell's rivals to match it?

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