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Novell News Summary - Part II: Ballnux and MSI/HP Return, More Ballnux at CES 2010

Summary: A lot of news about distributions and vendors that let Microsoft have its way with Linux


Over the course of two weeks (including CES in the second week), a lot has happened in terms of new products. But just as a decade ended, SJVN decided to put together this list of key events which include the important buyout:

2003: Novell Buys SUSE

One of the great ironies of Linux business history is that Novell, not Red Hat, could have been the first great Linux company. In the early 90s, Novell was working on its own in-house Linux. With a change in management though the company abandoned its early Linux plans So, in 1994, that project's leaders, Bryan Sparks and Ransom Love left Novell to form a new company, Linux business Caldera. Fast forward to 2003, and Novell, which had changed management again, now realized that sticking with its rapidly aging NetWare had been a fool's move and so it bought SUSE.

That's how it started. Here is a sign of SUSE collaboration with SGI, thanks to one report from The Register.

The current machine has a peak capacity of 820 gigaflops and runs Novell's SUSE Linux with SGI's ProPack extensions and math libraries.

Also from The Register:

IBM joyfully outs Core i3 chips in entry servers


On these two servers, IBM is supporting Microsoft's Windows Server 2003 and Windows Server 2008, Red Hat's Enterprise Linux Server 4 and 5, and Novell's SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and 11. VMware's ESX 4.0 and ESXi 4.0 hypervisors are also supported. As has been the case on prior System x machines, various implementations of the Xen hypervisor have not been certified on the boxes, and Hyper-V has also yet to be certified.

It's not an exclusive for SUSE (Novell is still trying to find a niche or specialty) and neither is this article about GNU/Linux in small businesses.

While you can still download many free versions of Linux online, for convenience sake, several vendors offer user-friendly versions and charge a fee for support. Red Hat and Novell are the primary desktop Linux vendors, accounting for nearly 95 percent of the operating system revenue in 2008, according to IDC. Further, these two companies claimed 90 percent of worldwide Linux subscribers during 2008.



It is several years now since Novell acquired SUSE Linux. The company now offers SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop which, like Red Hat, is compatible with a wide range of business applications. It can be deployed on desktops, netbooks, notebooks, workstations or even as a virtual desktop.

Novell also has partnerships with hardware vendors including HP, Dell, Lenovo, Wyse and Micro-Star International. These companies offer SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop preloaded on lots of devices. If you go to the HP site and order a desktop with Linux, for example, you get SUSE.

Here is a new interview with Novell's Greg Kroah-Hartman. It's about SUSE.

Greg Kroah-Hartman is a Linux kernel maintainer, and head of the Linux Drivers Project. He is a Novell Fellow, and works on the SUSE distribution for that company. At the Linux Foundation, Kroah-Hartman has helped to compile the “Who Writes Linux?” survey for the past few years. We caught up to him in early October and talked to him about his work past, present and future on the Linux kernel.

Phoronix wrote about the contributions of another Linux developer from Novell, David Reveman.

Back in 2008, Novell's David Reveman published his own branch of the Distributed Multi-head X (DMX) server which he called dmx-2 as it was close to a complete rewrite of the original DMX implementation. David's DMX-2 branch was less complex but provided a greater set of features, including X-Video, RandR 1.2, and Composite support in a DMX environment, D-Bus configuration, and many other changes. This branch was never merged to master, but now Red Hat's Adam Jackson is looking at merging some of the DMX-2 to work into the mainline X Server.

HP's new sub-notebook has a SUSE option, as before. The real news is about touchscreens.

The netbook will be available by the end of January with the Windows 7, Windows XP, Suse Linux or FreeDOS operating systems.

More here:

A GPS option is also available, and options such as Novell Suse Linux and Sled are supported as well as Microsoft Windows.

SUSE Studio received some coverage in Asia.

Novell Inc, a global software and services company, is helping independent software vendors (ISVs) and end-users suss out and iron out their software problems with its Suse Studio tool.

Suse Studio is part of the Novell Suse’s appliance strategy that enables ISVs to create software appliances.

And from South Africa:

The latest SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 platform for Workgroup customers is now available in South Africa, announced today Novell. SUSE Linux 10 Service Pack 3 comes with the latest updates issues and hardware support for server, storage and networking.

This brings us to the most major news from SUSE, which is this announcement of an MSI sub-notebook running SUSE/Moblin (here is the official press release).

According to Guy Lunardi, Novell's director of client preloads, the mix and match of SUSE/Moblin's core package is built on top of the Moblin 2.1's 2.6.31 Linux kernel. Above that, most of the software is from SLED 11. Instead of KDE 4.3, though, for the interface, it uses the Moblin Web-oriented interface. So, for example, to use Firefox for your Web browser, you'll get to it via the Moblin toolbar.

Lunardi has been focused on these goals for quite some time now [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]. This was covered in many other news sites.

MSI and Novell will ship in February the first netbook based on the SUSE Moblin open-source Linux operating system. The pair is showing the device at this week's CES event in Las Vegas.

Here is the official page from Novell. It says:

SUSE Moblin combined with Intel Atom Processor-based netbooks and nettops equals a paradigm shift in computing.

As for something a little different, a few days ago someone uploaded this video of eDirectory on SUSE:


Both SUSE and Samsung (Ballnux) find themselves united in the hands of Roger Whittaker, who has worked for SUSE for a very long time.

Exactly ten years ago today (Tuesday 4th January 2000) was the first working day of 2000 and was the day that I started work at SuSE Linux Ltd at Borehamwood. A lot has happened since then...

Samsung has a new phone which uses Android (Linux) and The Register wrote about it the following:

It seems no one will be updating the Galaxy to Android 2, annoying customers whose purchase decision was based on what it would do rather than what it could do.

Samsung has other new phones that we covered here before -- ones that continue to receive coverage elsewhere.

The Samsung M1 Vodafone 360 is a handset that offers a veritable feast of functions encased within a smart and stylish casing. It is a recently released smart phone which adds a different dimension to the Samsung range. The handset comes with an ARM Cortex A8 600 MHz processor, whilst employing the benefits of Power VR SDX graphics capabilities. In addition it utilises the Linux based LiMo operating system.

It's not just ARM for Samsung. They will also use x86 for future sub-notebooks with HyperSpace (Linux):

Samsung announced four netbooks using Intel's new N450 "Pineview" Atom. The N210, N220, N150, and NB30 include 10.1-inch "anti-reflective" displays and up to 12 hours of battery life, and two models run the Linux-based Phoenix HyperSpace fast-boot environment, the company says.

It is likely that Samsung will pay Microsoft for Linux here, as they already agreed. Samsung also has new E-readers (more information at The Register):

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Vegas, Samsung introduced its first e-book reading devices. They're called the E6 and the E101, coming in six and ten-inch screen sizes.

It probably runs Linux just like all E-readers. Microsoft should not be allowed to profit from Linux on E-readers. It's market distortion, even perversion.

More on Samsung at CES:

Personally, I'd rather see it united by a common cross-manufacturer platform. This could be like Linux (where there are different builds, but overall compatibility) or something more specific such as Android.


LG is one of the companies that lost their Linux focus after a Microsoft patent deal that's an attack on Linux. Microsoft booster Gavin Clarke raves about the company's support of Windows Mobile, which is a terrible platform.

LG introduced some Ballnux products at CES as well, based on Intel's Moblin.

LG GW990 is manufacturers first device to run the Linux based Moblin 2.1 operating system. GW990 is powered by Intel’s Moorestown CPU and features a 4.8-inch panoramic widescreen display, 3D gaming, A-GPS, Wi-Fi, digital compass and 5 megapixel camera.

More at Ars Technica:

Intel has unveiled a new LG smartphone built on Moorestown that runs the Moblin Linux platform. The device will be among the first x86 smartphones.


Presto seems like distant history judging by the press. It no longer generates any press coverage. Linux Today linked to a very old article about it and one reader wrote:

> I am surprised to see an article about a Linux distro that costs 19$, personally I would suggest that we stick to free software such as ubuntu NBR 9.10 that boots pretty fast and remains free!

It's $19, not 19$, and you're making the common mistake of confusing "free as in freedom" with free of cost. Read this, it will help:

It figures. This gets worse.

On the other hand, new buzz from Freescale happened to mention Xandros somewhere along the way [1, 2].


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