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How do you grow the market for Linux based appliances?
One solution is by providing potential users and developers with a way to find and share appliances, which is precisely what Linux vendor Novell is now doing. Novell (NASDAQ:NOVL) new SUSE Gallery site is a place to find appliances built with its SUSE Studio Linux appliance building technology. The SUSE Gallery will enable users to find appliances as well as to leverage the work of other appliances for new appliances they might want to build.
The SUSE Gallery launch comes one year after Novell formally launched its SUSE Appliance Program, which includes the SUSE Studio technology. To date, the service has attracted 80,000 users that have developed over 300,000 Linux appliances. With the SUSE Gallery, Novell is aiming to further grow the base of both Linux appliance users and developers.
While SUSE Studio can be used to build both commercial and open source Linux appliances, the SUSE Gallery is not intended to be a place where Novell actually sells appliances.
"This is not a venue for selling products, it's a community-based venue allowing for sharing of appliance that have already been built," Joanna Rosenberg, product marketing manager for Open Platform Solutions at Novell, told InternetNews.com. "Nothing is planned at this point for a commercial model yet."
Other vendors, including VMware and rPath, already have appliance marketplaces for their respective appliance technologies. Rosenberg noted that SUSE Gallery is different in its community focus on just trying to grow the ecosystem for Linux appliance development.
Rosenberg added that SUSE Gallery isn't the same type of effort as the Novell Market Start partner program, which promoted and sold Linux applications. She stressed that SUSE Gallery is a forum designed to help increase the adoption of Linux appliances and there is no direct revenue attachment for Novell.
That said, Novell is a for profit company and they do make money from their SUSE Appliance Program by way of software vendor partnerships and the SUSE Appliance Toolkit, which is a technology that Novell sells. With the toolkit, software vendors can run a local instance of SUSE Studio and manage appliance upgrades.
SUSE Studio Expands
Beyond the new SUSE Gallery site for promoting appliances, the SUSE Studio online Linux appliance building site has evolved over the past year. SUSE Studio now also benefits from the openSUSE Build Service, which recently hit its 2.0 release.
The Build Service is Novell's open source technology for building application packages and is also used to build the openSUSE distribution. Novell recently updated its community Linux distribution to openSUSE 11.3 providing new filesystem and kernel features.
Moving forward, Rosenberg said that there is currently a beta development effort for the next generation of SUSE Studio. Though she couldn't provide full details on what the next generation of SUSE Studio would enable, she hinted that new cloud based functionality is in the works.