Turner Farms and SUSE Linux: Sowing the Seeds of Linux

November 20, 2003

These days at Turner Farms, everything is coming up Linux.

Oakland, CA

Farming might be the last place one might expect to find the open source revolution taking hold. But it has done exactly that in central Kansas, where Chase Turner is the managing partner of a 7,000-acre farm growing irrigated corn and soybeans. Founded by his late father, H. Lee Turner, Chase Turner now directs the operation - among the top four percent of farms in the United States in terms of tillable acreage - from his home in Minnesota, along with family members in California and Colorado.

Running a large farm poses substantial, constant logistical challenges. "As far as business environments go, farming is one of the most complicated," said Turner. "I have 10 full-time employees and four contractors. We hold weekly teleconferences and coordinate group tasks, so we need a secure, remote-hosted groupware server without the administrative headache of defending the machine from attack."

Turner Farms' geographically distributed operations staff is linked to headquarters in Kansas by a range of different network providers, including dialup 28k modems, high-speed cable, and microwave relay.

After a thorough review of alternatives that were rejected due to cost or security concerns, Turner Farms chose SUSE Linux OpenExchange and the remote hosting service by RICIS.com of Chicago, IL.

"We now use SUSE daily in a wide variety of groupware tasks including group calendar, project planning, document and knowledge capture," said Turner. "We are currently laying plans for a common desktop solution from SUSE."

Converting his previously hosted system to Linux was painless. "It was not a hard transition at all. Most of the web interface was self-explanatory. And," he added, "I love the SUSE licensing program. Also, SUSE has a proven track-record of delivering technically correct distributions that are in alignment with Linux community goals and requirements."

"I have greater faith in the safety of our business assets on a Linux-based solution," said Turner. "I also have stronger faith in the open source community to innovate and keep open options to choose integration points rather than an all-in-one solution from a single vendor and its corresponding lock-in strategy."
Ultimately, Turner would like to set up a farm stewardship portal where best practices and analytical data from participating farms can be sliced and diced to the benefit of all to improve regional and national farming practices. "We take very seriously our stewardship of the land for generations to come," he said.

About Novell
Novell, Inc. is a leading provider of information solutions that deliver secure identity management (Novell® Nsure™), Web application development (Novell exteNd™) and cross-platform networking services (Novell Nterprise™), all supported by strategic consulting and professional services (Novell NgageSM). Active in the open source community with its Ximian and SUSE Linux brands, Novell is firmly committed to open source and offers comprehensive Linux products and services for the enterprise, from the desktop to the server. Novell's vision of one Net - a world without information boundaries - helps customers realize the value of their information securely and economically. For more information, call Novell's Customer Response Center at (888) 321-4CRC (4272) or visit http://www.novell.com. Press should visit http://www.novell.com/pressroom.

Novell is a registered trademarks; Nsure, exteNd and Nteprise are trademarks; and Ngage is a service mark of Novell, Inc. in the United States and other countries. SUSE is a registered trademark of SUSE Linux AG. * All third-party trademarks are the property of their respective owners.