Novell tools manage Linux and Windows desktops

Novell is continuing to push Linux into the enterprise with an updated software-management suite

Network-software company Novell has released the latest version of its software management toolset, which now caters for companies looking to administer Linux desktops and servers

Novell ZENworks 6.5 has a new focus on Linux following the networking company's acquisitions of the SuSE Linux distribution and Linux administration tool vendor Ximian last year.

ZenWorks now includes ZENworks Linux Management, a toolset previously known as Ximian Red Carpet, for administering Linux desktop and server software from SuSE and Red Hat.

"Most organisations have a heterogeneous environment and therefore require a complete systems-management solution that supports the entire lifecycle of desktops, servers and handhelds across multiple platforms," said Fred Broussard, an IDC senior analyst.

Novell plans to adopt a widely used open-source licence for its Linux management tools in a plan to spread the program and make its SuSE Linux product more popular.

The company is also planning to launch a business desktop that will combine Ximian's management tools with SuSE's desktop product, according to former Ximian chief executive David Patrick, now a general manager at Novell.

"We are working on our next-generation Linux desktop; we are going to take the best from SuSE Desktop and Ximian's into one, along with adding Novell's product functionality into a new product due to ship later this year," he said.

ZENworks 6.5 also contains ZENworks Patch Management, which is aimed at helping companies manage software patch downloads and notifications. Novell said the software was developed in cooperation with vendor partner PatchLink and provides an automated patch-administration system for computers running on Microsoft's Windows operating system.

Novell said ZENworks Patch Management will also improve corporate information technology security. The software offers detailed information on a number of patches, allowing end users to more easily figure out which upgrades they need to install, the company said. The package includes the ability to assess patch management status and risks automatically, as well as automated patch deployment and beefed-up security controls.

For more on Novell's Linux plans, read the full interview with David Patrick here.