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Friday, 21 October 2011 18:30

Balsam Professional 12.1: Loaded Box Delivers Linux Smoothie

By open-slx GmbH

Linux convenient, simple, secure and complete: that's how open-slx characterizes its newest release of their Linux distribution Balsam Professional 12.1 available as a chock-full retail box for end users and new comers who appreciate ease-of-use, high-value, individual support and open innovation for new devices

Balsam Professional 12.1, the latest incarnation of open-slx's Linux distribution specifically targeting home and small business users, will be available on November 11, 2011. The box product previously known as 'žopenSUSE Box' or 'žopenSUSE Retail Edition' gained new and unique features triggering the current rebrand. A first for a full-scale end user distribution available in retail, Balsam Professional 12.1 supports multiple device classes with a common base system: conventional desktops and notebooks, and additionally, featuring Plasma Active ONE, now also touch controlled tablet pcs, hybrid netbooks and in future other mobile devices. Users receive with their Balsam Professional 12.1 purchase 90 day installation support by phone, e-mail or chat free of charge and can join the friendly open-slx community platform to socialize with fellow users and the open-slx team.

Balsam Professional 12.1 delivers a comprehensive, one-stop Linux operating system and applications package for home and small business users, providing a single base system across all suitable devices, from conventional desktops and notebooks to cutting edge hybrid netbooks and tablets. open-slx executes hereby a first step along an evolutionary path of delivering a cross-device, connected compute and online environment, easy to configure and use, and supplemented with high-quality support services and a friendly user community.

'žBuyers of our product rightly expect to receive significant added value over freely available download releases and their reproduction by certain book publishers', explains Stefan Werden, General Manager at open-slx GmbH. 'žFactors for our success are highest product quality, which we as producers can ascertain ourselves, paired with first-class support, provided individually by us or through our helpful community. Further, our customers recognize', Werden continues, 'that notably we, as a smaller business, reinvest enormously in open source projects, especially if these, such as KDE Plasma Active, create exciting innovations for end users.'

Plasma Active ONE is the innovative user interface for touchscreen tablet pcs and hybrid netbooks newly included in Balsam Professional 12.1. Activities group various resources, such as applications and widgets, contacts and web links, images, videos and other files, in separately selectable work spaces, combined to reflect specific tasks and life situations, such as being in the office, at home, at friends, or in a hotel or on the go. Peek & Launch allows users to easily launch or switch between favorite applications with a single touch on a sliding panel, that otherwise hides unobtrusively. Share-Like-Connect connects content with activities and enables sharing online or sending to friends. In addition to these innovative interface concepts Plasma Active ONE on Balsam Professional 12.1 comes with several major touch-controlled applications including web browser (WebKit based), e-mail and groupware client (Kontakt Touch), media player (bangarang), widgets, and touch-friendly apps, such as games, and those well-suited for the touchscreen keyboard. Of course, all other applications shipped with Balsam Professional 12.1 can be launched within Plasma Active ONE, as well.

'žPlasma Active is not only an elegant solution for small screens, but also for screens of any size. By any standards, it's an example of effective desktop design', applauds Bruce Byfield in Datamation [1]. And Steven Vaughan-Nichols writes in his blog on ZDNet [2]: 'žIf another group was trying to take on Android and Apple's iOS on smartphones and
tablets, I'd dismiss them. [...] But,' Steven closes, 'žI've learned over the years not to bet against the KDE team.' Plasma Active (plasma-active.org), developed as part of the KDE project, is sponsored by the co-founders open-slx and basysKom.

Balsam Professional 12.1 offers, next to Plasma Active ONE, with KDE Plasma Desktop and KDE Plasma Netbook 4.7, GNOME 3.2, Xfce and LXDE a choice of the latest incarnations of other desktop user experiences. All software components in Balsam Professional 12.1, over 3,600 software packages, were updated to their latest stable releases. Major new technical highlights include Linux Kernel 3.1, switch from init to systemd, support for newer hardware and performance improvements in several areas.

Balsam Professional 12.1 is delivered in an attractively styled retail box containing two DVD media with over 17 GB of software for any imaginable need, featuring applications for office productivity and graphics, multimedia and internet access, communications and social networks, down to development and virtualization tools. This comprehensive, one-stop product is supplemented by immediately installable commercial add-on software such as graphics drivers, Adobe Reader and Flash Player, antivirus software Antivir, Moneyplex, Opera browser, Skype and SpiderOak online backup. The retail box includes a printed Quick Start Guide with detailed installation instructions and guidance for initial steps with the system and some of its applications.

Specifically for developers, as frequently requested, open-slx now delivers as additional content full source code of all open software on the product's DVDs. open-slx welcomes constructive participation in the open-slx community and encourages enthusiastic members interested in actively improving the Balsam Professional product.

Since taking on the openSUSE retail box in 2009, when Novell and the openSUSE project abandoned its further production, open-slx continuously enhanced the offering for end users with high-quality support services. open-slx's community platform (https://community.open-slx.de), created in collaboration with the leading German user platform ubuntuusers.de (currently only available in German language), provides an openly accessible portal with extensive, quality-assured wiki content, forum for socializing and receiving assistance from other users and the open-slx team, daily news feed, and a blog planet with regular contributions by committed expert bloggers.

For the first time, with this release of Balsam Professional 12.1, open-slx builds and produces its Linux distribution, which remains based on openSUSE, independently. As producer of the full Balsam Professional product, open-slx is now able to influence quality, compilation, maintenance and future directions to the benefit of its users directly. Registered users of Balsam Professional 12.1 receive updates, security and bug fixes directly from open-slx servers located in the company's own data center. The product remains fully compatible to openSUSE, nonetheless, enabling users to optionally add openSUSE repositories, if desired.

Support available to purchasers of Balsam Professional 12.1 is nothing short of exceptional: registered users can contact the experienced and helpful open-slx support staff directly by phone, e-mail or chat with their individual questions to receive 90 day installation support free of charge, effectively protecting their privacy from anonymous mailing lists and internet chat rooms. In addition, open-slx's wiki contains extensive guides and useful tips on numerous topics and open-slx's forum provides assistance from fellow users and open-slx staff.

Balsam Professional 12.1, priced at 69,90 EUR (71.90 EUR in the US) and distributed in English and German language versions worldwide through open-slx's reseller network, is available as a boxed retail product from many online shops and in some retail stores in selected countries as of November 11, 2011.

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