Novell Launches the Better Desktop Initiative for the Open Source Community Extensive Usability Research, Including Video Trials, Is Now Available

to Developers Worldwide at betterdesktop.openSUSE.org



    WALTHAM, Mass., Oct. 10 /PRNewswire/ -- Novell (Nasdaq:   NOVL) today
 announced the launch of the Better Desktop initiative, a new component of the
 openSUSE project that provides open source developers with usability testing
 data and resources they can use to improve the quality of the Linux* desktop.
 Novell is releasing primary desktop research, including video footage and
 analysis of usability tests, at betterdesktop.openSUSE.org. Instructions for
 constructing and operating a low-cost usability lab will also be provided. For
 the first time, open source developers worldwide will be able to see for
 themselves the types of desktop software designs that are succeeding with end
 users. As a result, open source developers will have the resources to build
 applications that better meet the needs and expectations of users and
 ultimately help drive the adoption of Linux on the desktop.
     "This is a valuable contribution to the Linux community that will help
 open source developers  benefit from Novell's research to create a better,
 more user-friendly desktop," said Gary Barnett, research director at
 technology consultants Ovum. "Usability is a key requirement in order to drive
 the Linux desktop into the mainstream. Novell's focus on usability, and this
 contribution to the worldwide community of Linux developers, will help break
 down some of the barriers to mainstream Linux adoption on the desktop."
     Although usability testing and refinement can dramatically improve
 software development efforts, most developers lack the resources to conduct
 these tests. With Novell's contributions through betterdesktop.openSUSE.org,
 open source developers now have the information they need to refine
 applications, including adjustments to menus, screen layouts, dialog boxes,
 and even the icons and colors of a user interface.
     "Novell's Linux desktop usability test results represent a significant
 addition to the resources available to open source developers who are working
 to enhance the Linux desktop," said Jan Muehlig, founder of OpenUsability.org.
 "Novell is making it easier for developers to get insight and fundamental
 information of how users interact with the desktop through state-of-the-art
 usability research. This will help open source engineers everywhere to create
 packages and applications which better meet user needs, improving the overall
 quality of the Linux desktop."
     Nat Friedman, vice president of collaboration and desktop engineering for
 Novell, said, "As a programmer, it's sometimes difficult to know how ordinary
 people with no technical experience are reacting to your software. Linux
 people tend to know other Linux people. In these usability tests, we selected
 test subjects who were experienced with Windows, but who had never heard of
 Linux, and asked them to perform basic tasks using the Linux desktop. We
 expect that developers from a variety of projects will come to
 betterdesktop.openSUSE.org and review these results to see first hand how they
 can improve the design of different applications, desktops and distributions.
 Ultimately, improved usability will help Linux succeed on the desktop."
 
     openSUSE.org Momentum
     The Better Desktop initiative is the latest addition to the fast-growing
 openSUSE project. Sponsored by Novell, openSUSE.org is a community-based
 effort that involves developers worldwide in the review, testing and
 development of SUSE(TM) Linux with the goal of making it accessible to end
 users, not just developers. In the first eight weeks alone, more than 4
 million page views have been logged at the project site, 7,000 Linux users
 have registered and beta editions of SUSE Linux 10.0 have been installed more
 than 30,000 times. With the shipment of SUSE Linux 10.0 last week and the
 release of the Alpha 1 version of SUSE Linux 10.1, the momentum around the
 openSUSE project continues to build.
 
     About Novell
     Novell, Inc. delivers software for the open enterprise. With more than
 50,000 customers in 43 countries, Novell helps customers manage, simplify,
 secure and integrate their technology environments by leveraging best-of-
 breed, open standards-based software. With over 20 years of experience,
 Novell's 6,000 employees, 5,000 partners and support centers around the world
 help customers gain control over their IT operating environment while reducing
 cost. More information about Novell can be found at http://www.novell.com .
 
     NOTE:  Novell is a registered trademark, and SUSE and Software for the
 Open Enterprise are trademarks of Novell, Inc. in the United States and other
 countries. *Linux is a registered trademark of Linus Torvalds. All other
 third-party trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
 
 

SOURCE Novell, Inc.
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