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SuSE readies desktop Linux update

The company?s Linux 9.0 package adds support for 64-bit processors, allows easier migration from Windows and includes a test version of the latest Linux kernel.

Software distributor SuSE Linux on Tuesday said it plans to ship a new release of its desktop operating system next month.

SuSE Linux 9.0 adds support for Advanced Micro Devices' 64-bit Athlon processor, allows easier migration from Windows and includes a test version of the latest Linux kernel, said Holger Dryoff, SuSE's general manager for the Americas.

The company is the largest Linux distributor in Europe. It competes with Red Hat, IBM and smaller Linux distributors in the United States.

The operating system bundle includes the latest versions of the KDE Web browser and graphical user interface, and the OpenOffice desktop

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software package. KDE includes an instant messenger client, Kopete, which works with AOL, MSN, IRC, ICQ and Yahoo messenger services, the company said.

Linux 9.0 adds better support for Microsoft?s NTFS file system, used by Windows NT and XP, so that people can more easily run on the same system, or move from Windows to Linux.

The operating system release is based on the Linux kernel 2.4.21, but SuSE has included a test version of the latest 2.6 kernel, giving more technical users a preview of planned Linux enhancements.

The new release, which SuSE sells in versions tailored for consumers and business users, is in addition to the company's server operating system.

The company said SuSE Linux 9.0 will debut on Oct. 24 at a price of price $39.95 for the Personal version, which includes 60 days of installation support, and at $79.95 for the Professional version, which includes administration tools and 90 days of product support.

SuSE said its 64-bit version, which runs on AMD64 processors, costs $119.94.