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Do-No-Evil Saturday – Part II: SLED/SLES Service Pack, More Xandros at Asustek

Posted in Dell, GNU/Linux, HP, Microsoft, Novell, Red Hat, SLES/SLED, Windows, Wine, Xandros at 2:32 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

There are various new bits and pieces in SUSE Linux, but the main news item is about the release of the second Service Pack. We start with SLES and SLED.

SLED/SLES Service Pack

Here is the mind-boggling press release.

Novell today announced the availability to customers worldwide of SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise 10 Service Pack 2 (SP2), containing enhancements in virtualization, management, hardware enablement and interoperability. SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP2 is the only Xen-based virtualization solution with full support from Microsoft for Windows* Server 2008 and Windows Server 2003 guests and live migration of those guests across physical machines. Several improvements specific to SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time 10 are also included in SP2. Novell further unveiled the Subscription Management Tool for SUSE Linux Enterprise, designed to help customers better manage their SUSE Linux Enterprise software updates.

Put simply, it’s a large maintenance release. The Service Pack was mentioned earlier in the week. Important questions were raised.

eWeek welcomed this release with yet another article that merely lumps it in with Red Hat’s new release, which to an extent stole SUSE’s thunder.

Novell and Red Hat announced upgrades of their Linux-based enterprise distros, featuring improved virtualization and hardware support. In addition, Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 10 SP2 adds a new subscription management tool, while Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.2 adds new security, clustering, desktop, and networking features.

Information Week covered this also, as did Heise Open Source (Heise Online). Even Computer World.

Red Hat introduced its latest operating system update, Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) 5.2, which includes enhancements in virtualization capabilities, updates for user desktops, encryption and security improvements, while SUSE announced the availability of its Service Pack 2 for SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 operating systems.

SLED in Action

Steven JVN, who has always been fond of SUSE (especially on the desktop), delivered a nice report covering his experiences with SLED 10 (SP1).

That really was it. There were no hoops to jump through. No configuration headaches. No fuss, no muss. The ThinkPad R61 and SLED 10 SP1 just work.

Once it was on, the first thing I did was adjust the GNOME 2.12 desktop to my tastes. Since SLED 10 SP1 is a stable distribution meant for long-term business use it doesn’t have the latest software. Eventually, I’ll switch it out to another Linux, but for this review I wanted to see how the factory-installed Linux worked out.

Vendor Support

EMC seems receptive towards Netware and SUSE (no mention of other Linuxes).

EMC builds up disk backup


The new Avamar software supports 64-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux 4 and offers expanded client support for Microsoft SQL Server 2005; Vista; Native Netware client backup and restore (Netware V6.5); and Novell Storage Servers (NSS) volumes on Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES) SLES 10.

SAP, which is still very close to Microsoft (some suggested that Microsoft should acquire it rather than go for Yahoo!), gave Novell one of those symbolic rewards that are tossed around for mutual recognition and marketing purposes. Bear in mind that SAP’s Shai Agassi, who fortunately left the company, was a very vocal (and thus notorious) FOSS basher. The current CEO is not a fan either, unlike former managers who grew fond of it, over time.

Novell today announced it has received an SAP Pinnacle Award in the category “Technology: Co-Innovation for Core Business,” recognizing Novell as an SAP partner who has made significant contributions to SAP’s customer-focused ecosystem. Novell was honored specifically for work with SAP on SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise Server Priority Support for SAP as well as SUSE Linux Enterprise Server high availability and virtualization for SAP.

It shouldn’t be surprising that SAP goes for the ‘Microsoft-approved’ Linux. We wrote about the Microsoft-Intel-SAP-Novell axis before. It’s further augmented by relationships with OEMs, e.g. Dell and H-P. There’s a lot of ‘politics’ there.

SUSE Laptops

We encourage people not to buy laptops that have SUSE preloaded because there is no exemption from ‘Windows tax’. Microsoft collects royalties from Novell. In any event, since it’s Saturday, consider this review of the H-P laptop that comes with SUSE.

If 2007 was the year that Asus chose to introduce the small and affordable sub-notebook, then 2008 is the year that the concept has really begun to take off. Asus, predictably, has lead the way once again, with its updated Eee PC 900 putting right many of the issues raised by the original. Meanwhile, Intel has enthusiastically embraced the idea by launching its Centrino Atom platform for small, low-power, affordable notebooks and MIDs (Mobile Internet Devices). There are a few machines mooted to use Atom, most notably the impressive looking MSI Wind, but it appears it could be a while before we see Atom powered machines hitting retail.

There’s also the MSI laptop that comes with SUSE.

The other version of Wind will use Novell’s SUSE Linux OS and cost $399.

Fortunately, not all laptops come with SUSE or Xandros. Plenty of choice remains. Watch this interesting new article which speaks about “Novell for desktops.”

The big shocker for Raburn? “I was surprised to see Novell for desktops,” he says. “I’m not sure I know anyone who would run it for their desktop. Certainly Windows and Red Hat win the category, but the Mac certainly deserves a solid third place and is increasingly part of corporate networks.”


Some people, such as reviewers from Laptop Magazine, learn the hard way that «Linux is Not Windows». They try to treat Xandros on the Eee PC as though it’ll be DRM-compatible, as well as Windows compatible (Wine serving as a compatibility layer). Watch what happens.

I am a big fan of Xandros on the Eee PC, but I’ve always said it has its limitations, especially when it doesn’t give me access to my favorite Windows programs. But when my editor told me earlier this week about Wine HQ, I nearly freaked. Wine HQ enables a compatibility layer that allows Windows programs to run on a Linux OS.

Asustek’s commitment to GNU/Linux is no surprise. It uses that same Xandros derivative to create a desktop solution called EBox.

The Ebox will certainly run the Eee PC’s Xandros version of Linux, and come bundled with the same line-up of applications.

The look of the Ebox is at odds with the design of a slimline home desktop PC that Asus demo’d at the CeBit show in March this year. That model, the “Digital Home System EP20″, was, however, said to run the Eee PC’s Linux OS.

What you ought to find most ironic is that Microsoft’s «Crippleware Program» [1, 2] (Windows XP for as little as $18 apiece) does not apply to anything other than low-cost and muchly-crippled laptops. How will it respond to this? Taxation of Xandros? This is an important one to watch.

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