Distributions


Overview

So you’re working with SLES or SLED, and someone asks you if a particular package or product is supported. What do you do? Of all the options available, I refer constantly to the following pages and references to make sure I give accurate and helpful information to the querying person.

Where to Go

The top page I usually refer people to in this case is the Tech Specs section. On this page is listed SLES, SLED and Partner hardware and software support links. If I click on the “SuSE Linux Enterprise Server” link, I will reach the technical specifications page for SuSE Linux Enterprise Server. We’ve seen this page in other posts, such as How Many ____’s Does SLES Support? – Part I, where we discussed Kernel Limits and File System Features.

The chief thing I want to determine when someone asks me about a particular package’s support is that we do include it in our distributions. I query the person about what version and patch level they want to know about, and then click on the appropriate link, which is listed in the paragraph below the menu tabs, “see the list of supported packages”.

This link leads me to the “SuSE Linux Enterprise Server Supported Packages page, where for example I will pick the link for “SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 SP1 for X86“, a PDF file that I can then search for a package by pressing Ctrl-f, and typing the name I’m looking for, either in my browser, or my PDF reader that popped up.

All Together Now

My example would be someone asking me if there is support for Mono (a Dot Net compatible server solution) on SLES 10 SP1, both on the X86 and System Z platforms.

Those PDF files will tell me very quickly that there is support all the way to Level 3 for SLES 10 SP1 on X86 and the IBM System Z Mainframe.

Hopefully this will help you determine quickly what packages are included in the various distributions and patch levels, and make it easier to find what level of support is provided for those packages.

Enjoy,

RossB

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SUSE Linux Enterprise is designed for the enterprise. Part of what it means to be “Enterprise-ready” is to have “rock solid” components in the distribution which have been fully tested and can be supported. Unstable and unsupportable components/packages just won’t do. BUT… Every now and then, it’s necessary to run “the latest” version of a component of the distribution. Perhaps you have a new application which requires the latest java, or a new development library, etc. So you don’t want to have to wait until that “latest version” of the package gets fully tested and “officially supported”. You’ve got to have that new version now!

You could go to the source and compile your own package for SUSE Linux Enterprise – and while not difficult, it is still kind of a pain – and certainly a turn-off for many a new Linux user. A much better option is to simply visit the openSUSE Build Service and see if your desired package is already being built for SUSE Linux Enterprise. You’ll find builds for SUSE Linux Enterprise, openSUSE, -plus- several other Linux distributions as well… Fedora, Debian, Ubuntu, … So save some time, and check to see if the package you need has already been built by looking here.

Want more info on the openSUSE Build Service, check out this good overview article and this blog entry. and of course the project site which includes other great info.

MacGyver knew his stuff when it came to building a flame thrower out of popsicle sticks, chewing gum, dental floss and a styrofoam cup — plus he always had that cool Swiss Army knife. But I bet even he wouldn’t have been able to use eight PlayStation 3’s, Linux and some technical hacker-know-how to do some scientific supercomputing. But someone’s done it!

This interesting blog article from ZDnet talks about how a researcher from University of Massachusetts built a very low cost “supercomputer” capable of about 200 GFlops all running on PS3’s. While the Linux distro used wasn’t SUSE Linux Enterprise (it was Yellow Dog Linux)… and while there are several other considerations which keep the PS3 from being the scientific computing platform of choice, it’s definitely another fine example of how flexible Linux can be compared to other OS’s.

So, if you’re looking for an excuse to get approval for a purchase order of equipment for your gaming– er, “supercomputing lab”… look no further.

From the article:

September 26, 2007 (Computerworld)Novell Inc.‘s Linux business has soared 243% since last November, when the company signed its controversial deal with Microsoft Corp.

“The affect on sales year over year, for Novell’s first three quarters of our fiscal year, which ends Oct. 31 — our Linux business was up 243%,” said Justin Steinman, director of marketing at Novell, who, along with executives from both companies, spoke at a program hosted by the Massachusetts Technology Leadership Council.

And, that growth doesn’t seem to be short-lived.

“We’re continuing to see above market growth year [over] year and that clearly has resulted in the 243% Justin alluded to,” said Susan Heystee, general manager of global strategic alliance at Novell.

More here.

openSUSE 10.3 is now officially released and available. Here are some of the highlighted improvements and links to more info:

  • Beautiful green artwork
  • KDE 3.5.7
  • KDE 4
  • Gnome 2.20
  • GTK YaST
  • 1-Click Install
  • Multimedia (MP3 support out of the box)
  • New/Redesigned YaST Modules
  • Compiz and Compiz Fusion
  • Virtualization (Xen 3.1, VirtualBox, KVM,…)
  • OpenOffice 2.3
  • New package management
  • Faster boot times
  • and more…!

openSUSE 10.3 GM announcement

Novell press release

ZDnet blog mention

Download openSUSE

From the wire:

WALTHAM, Mass., Sept. 12 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Novell today announced significant enhancements in the performance of SUSE(R) Linux Enterprise Server when the Linux* operating system is running as a virtual machine guest in a VMware* environment. To deliver this improved performance, Novell modified the SUSE Linux Enterprise kernel to support the VMware Virtual Machine Interface (VMI), a communication mechanism between the guest operating system and hypervisor that simplifies the task of virtualization and makes Linux a more efficient guest operating system when running in VMware environments. The VMI modifications, along with the paravirt-ops interface, have been accepted by the upstream Linux development community and will be included in upcoming releases of the standard Linux kernel, as well as future versions of SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell(R).

“As the first enterprise Linux vendor to provide these enhancements for the VMware VMI, Novell continues to demonstrate our commitment to providing enterprise Linux customers benefits through virtualization and other innovative technologies,” said Holger Dyroff, vice president of product management for SUSE Linux Enterprise at Novell. “Virtualization is proving its value in the data center, and our collaboration with VMware is part of our multi-pronged virtualization strategy to create additional opportunities for customers to reduce costs and increase efficiency with Linux virtualization.”

Dan Chu, VMware vice president of emerging products and markets, said, “We are pleased that Novell is delivering enhanced performance for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in VMware virtualized environments. The inclusion of VMware VMI patches into SUSE Linux Enterprise Server is designed to provide customers with increased performance, improved behavior of timing-critical workloads and better interoperability by allowing the same VMI-enabled SUSE Linux Enterprise Server kernel to run on physical machines and on VMware Infrastructure. We look forward to working with Novell on future initiatives to make SUSE Linux Enterprise run even better on VMware Infrastructure.”

Read the press release.

I was eating lunch with a partner the other day and he related to me that a colleague of his had reported that a friend of his sister’s fiance’s father’s lawyer’s second half-cousin (or something more confusing) had said that Microsoft would have a version of Microsoft Linux next year, no fooling.

I thought (didn’t say, thought) “Bull” and we discussed the problems and logistics of such a thing happening with the GPL and all the restrictions that occur with such an environment and the likelihood of Microsoft so changing it’s spots as to have this be likely.

It was only later that I suddenly thought about FreeBSD, which Microsoft has a much more close relationship with, historically running large pieces of Hotmail and MSN on that platform.  What would happen if Microsoft were to come clean about Vista, what a stinker it is and decided to base the next version of Windows on a core of FreeBSD?

Ok, so before you send email flaming me to an absolute crisp, just think of the possibilities.  Who else has been successful with such a pairing of extremely-open licensed underlying OS and a Pretty GUI front-end?  Right, Jobs-san and his happy bunch of coders have been wildly successful with such a setup.

Why not have a branded version of SLED?  See the previous discussion about the GPL, whereas the BSD licenses are basically “Give credit and don’t pretend you wrote what you didn’t” and they can use BSD code in any commercial product they want to.

Makes you think, hmm?

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