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SuSE touts new telecom ware, top execs

The company introduces a new Linux product geared for telecommunications companies, names several new executives and hires an advertising agency to elevate its profile.

SuSE has introduced a new Linux operating system product geared for telecommunications companies, named several new executives and signed up an advertising agency to elevate the German company's profile.

The new "carrier grade" Linux product, a free add-on to SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), supports requirements of telecommunications companies whose servers handle the important tasks of routing phone call traffic or metering call duration. Carrier-grade Linux is a version that comes with several features required by telecommunications companies, providing the ability to respond to new tasks within fixed amounts of time and to manage hundreds or thousand of processes simultaneously. The product is an offshoot of the Open Source Development Lab.

"We are targeting traditional Unix platforms," said Markus Rex, head of development for SuSE. Top Linux seller Red Hat also is working on a carrier-grade Linux effort to win over telephone company customers traditionally wedded to companies such as Sun Microsystems.

Carrier-grade Linux's fast response times and other features are useful for other customers as well, including those in financial services, Giga Information Group analyst Stacey Quandt said.

The SuSE carrier-grade product will be the foundation of the products from the UnitedLinux consortium.

In addition, the Nuremberg, Germany-based company promoted Juergen Geck, 35, from vice president of technology partners to chief technology officer. He replaces Boris Nalbach, who took over just more than a year ago and who left the company to pursue other interests, SuSE said in a statement.

SuSE has seen several new executives in its top ranks as the company has strived to become profitable and to expand from its stronghold in German-speaking countries. Most recently, the company named Richard Seibt as new chief executive.

SuSE's business partnerships also likely will be seeing changes. The company named Oakland, Calif.-based Uwe Heine its chief alliance officer and Uwe Schmid as vice president of business development and marketing. Heine, 46, most recently was director of HP global strategic alliances at ; Schmid, 46, was managing director of Mentor Graphics' data management systems unit.

To raise its profile, SuSE hired J. Walter Thompson, the world's fourth largest advertising agency, to develop a global branding campaign. Together with the hiring of Burson-Marsteller for public relations, SuSE expects to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on the publicity efforts, a company representative said Monday.

Quandt said she expects the new marketing efforts will help SuSE grab market position from Red Hat.