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Novell Linux Desktop (version 9) is a desktop computing environment that provides a customizable graphical interface and all the productivity software, such as email, word processing, and a secure web browser, that you need (and expect) to get your job done. Although, Novell Linux Desktop (NLD) may be considered the new kid on the block in terms of a desktop operating system, it is a Linux distribution, meaning that it is both a powerful and secure operating system.
The NLD is actually built on the SUSE Linux distribution developed by Novell. We discuss SUSE Linux and Linux distributions later in this chapter in the section "Linux and Linux Distributions."
But before I get toofar ahead of myself in terms of describing NLD (which is provided in the section, "What Is Novell Linux Desktop?"), I should address where most end-users are coming from as they switch to NLD, and this means Microsoft Windows. It is safe to say that the desktop computing environment that most of us, the typical end-user, have used for more than a decade has been Microsoft Windows. Although the Macintosh Operating System preceded Windows in terms of an easy-to-use and intuitive graphical interface, Microsoft has enjoyed the greater market share.
So, whether we worked on a Windows or Novell network, the desktop operating system of choice was Microsoft Windows. With this choice has come a number of issues related to security and viruses that keep support personnel and network engineers hopping to protect both the network and each user's desktop.
So, if we flash forward to today, the Linux operating system, both in terms of an alternative server environment (everything from web servers to file servers to application servers) and as a desktop operating system solution, has gained a great deal of acceptance with computing professionals and has evolved into a viable alternative to the Windows operating system (and other operating systems). Linux certainly is not the new kid on the block, however; Linux was developed as an open source operating system for the personal computer in 1991 by Linus Torvalds, a student at the University of Helsinki.
Linus Torvalds based his Linux operating system on UNIX (a multiuser, multisession operating system developed by AT&T Bell Labs in the 1960s), and Linux embraced a similar set of command-line tools and file structure.
Because the Linux source code was freely available to developers, a number of Linux distributions have been brought to the market (which we discuss in a moment). NLD is a Linux distribution developed by Novell with the end-user in mind.
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