SUSE 9.3: More, Better, Faster, Now!
Cutting Edge and Oh, So Stable
Novell's latest release of SUSE Linux, SUSE 9.3, demonstrates Novell's continuing commitment to delivering polished, off-the-shelf Linux distributions for the desktop and professional markets. October 2004, which is when the previous version of SUSE Linux was released, seems like only yesterday. So what's new--and, perhaps, why should people care?
Initially, Novell's Linux strategy was a source of major concern for SUSE-lovers everywhere, but their commitment to Linux is clear even though some people seem to be concerned about fragmentation. For enterprise environments, Novell offers a high end server-oriented product known as SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). The enterprise desktop companion to SLES is Novell Linux Desktop, a version of SUSE Linux focused on areas such as connectivity to Microsoft Windows and Novell groupware products. For the rest of us, there's SUSE Linux Professional, which provides a single, affordable solution for the laptop/desktop/workstation user markets.
SUSE has always prided itself on the unofficial title of "the world's most frequently released Linux distribution" which is both a good thing and a pain. On the one hand, it's a pain to keep chasing the latest SUSE professional release and upgrading multiple systems. On the other hand, it's a great source of comfort to home and business users to know that the latest, greatest Linux software is available from a commercial vendor with an extensive support network. Say what you like about the geek creds of community distributions such as Fedora, I'll gladly spend all of my nerd bucks for a supported distribution on the machines that I use to do "real work."
Have I ever called Novell for support? No. Do I sleep better knowing that there is a real company and support organization with empirical solutions to my problems? Yes indeed--and my boss might, too. As I've said before, Novell may have acquired SUSE, but SUSE acquired Novell's top-notch product support group, staffed by people with impressive technical and product knowledge. This is not to disparage SUSE's previous support group and forums, which have always been great. However, as we like to say in America, "More is better"--and this time, it's even true.