Novell Rolls Out SUSE Linux 11 Page 2

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Just Enough Operating System

With SLES 11, Novell is also providing a baseline image so software vendors can easily build appliances. The concept is something know as a JeOS (Just enough Operating System) and has been trumpeted by Novell as the future of operating systems.

"We designed SLES 11 to be ubiquitous, to run in physical, virtual and cloud models," Steinman said.

He added that the appliance model in which a software vendor takes an image of SLES, then installs their application on top, and packages it all together is attractive to many.

Steinman argued that people buy operating systems in order to run applications and one of the barriers of application deployment has sometimes been getting everything to work together. The appliance model is an attempt to solve that issue.

Novell is also working on a tool called SUSE Studio to build the SLES JeOS together with applications. Steinman noted that SUSE Studio will be released sometime in the next few months; the project is currently in an invitation-only beta.

"What we are seeing is the ability for SLES 11 to provide mass customization of Linux," Steinman said.

What missed the cut?

While SLES 11 includes most of the latest and greatest features that the Linux ecosystem has to offer it may be missing one key item from its default installation –- the new EXT4 Linux filesystem. EXT4 is the successor to the EXT3 filesystem and offers improved performance characteristics to Linux.

"Our default filesystem is EXT3, we support others and we have EXT4 included as a technology preview," Markus Rex, Senior Vice President of open source platforms at Novell, told InternetNews.com. "At the point in time where we started our lockdown on SLES 11, EXT 4 was not ready. Going forward, EXT4 is a very, very, very interesting filesystem."

On the desktop side, Novell has also elected to stick with the GNOME desktop as the default, though it is offering the rival KDE desktop as an option as well. Novell's openSUSE distribution traditionally has had a higher number of KDE users than GNOME.

"SLED 11 follows SLED 10 in that it has GNOME as default," Rex commented. "We do include KDE as a supported alternative if you decide you want to run it. We also feel we want to address both user groups equally well."

Windows My Friend? Or My Enemy?

Though Novell has a partnership with Microsoft on interoperability, the vendors are also competitors. With Microsoft's Windows 7 expected later this year on the desktop and Windows Server 2008 already available, Novell's release is coming in between.

"We absolutely see the competition with Microsoft, not so much as Windows 7 comes out, but more as people move off Unix," Steinman said. "We've operated under the hypothesis at Novell, that enterprises are going to standardize on two operating systems Windows and Linux. The winner on Linux will be the ones that deliver the best interoperability with Microsoft."

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

This article was originally published on Mar 24, 2009
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