SuSE to run Windows apps on Linux

SuSE Linux Desktop Office will target Windows users with software aimed at easing the transition to the open-source operating system

Linux distributor SuSE is hoping to get desktop users to switch to its operating system with a new edition of its software specifically designed for office workers -- including software that allows it to run Microsoft Office and other Windows applications.

In January SuSE will launch, through its resellers, SuSE Linux Office Desktop, a distribution aimed at small to medium-sized enterprises. The package includes SuSE Linux 8.1 and applications designed to ease Windows users' transition to Linux.

It uses the YaST2 setup tool for installation, Acronis OS Selector partitioning software and CodeWeavers CrossOver Office 1.2 for running Windows applications. CrossOver Office also recently made an appearance in a new desktop-friendly Linux distribution from Xandros, and CodeWeavers initially worked with on its consumer-oriented desktop.

"The time has come to carry (our) accumulated experience to the market in the form of desktop products tuned to the needs of our target groups," said Petra Heinrich, a vice president at SuSE Linux, in a statement. Heinrich cited a "clear increase in the customer demand for corporate Linux desktop solutions."

SuSE has included desktop software such as StarOffice in its previous distributions, but software like CrossOver Office must usually be purchased as an add-on. The company emphasised that SuSE Linux Desktop Office could be used out of the box to run familiar Windows applications such as Lotus Notes, process Windows Office files with CrossOver Office, StarOffice and other tools and connect to Exchange servers via Ximian's Evolution, an Outlook clone.

The software is the beginning of a new desktop push for SuSE, the company said. It will sell for a recommended $129, which includes 90 days of technical support.

SuSE Linux recently bundled email and groupware applications with its server operating system in Openexchange Server, aimed at the business market.

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