SuSE Linux 9.1 Springs from 2.6 Kernel

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-03-18 Print this article Print

SuSE Linux 9.1, due in May, the forthcoming personal and professional distributions will support the new features found in the Linux 2.6 kernel.

SuSE Linux, now part of Novell Inc., on Thursday will announce that its SuSE Linux 9.1 personal and professional editions will be available in early May. The company says these are also the first complete commercial Linux distributions to support the recently released Linux 2.6 kernel. The update is also the first Linux distribution from the company since SuSE Linux AG and Ximian Inc. were acquired by Novell last year. This update is technically a point release, which are usually fairly minor upgrades. However, Charlie Ungershick, director of product management for the SuSE Linux business unit in Waltham, Mass., told eWEEK that this update is far more significant than a customary point release.
"We are pretty excited about it because there are many significant things in it. We also believe this will be the first really portable retail Linux box that supports the Linux 2.6 kernel, which we have been testing and back porting for a long time," he said.
"We have had no issues with the 2.6 kernel, which has been incredibly stable. In fact, SuSE Linux 9.0 even came with a test version of the 2.6 kernel," he told eWEEK in an interview. At the recent LinuxWorld New York show, IT executives said Version 2.6 of the Linux kernel could help drive enterprise acceptance of the open-source OS. Click here to read the story. The improvements and enhancements brought to this distribution by Version 2.6 of the kernel depend on the kind of applications users want, Ungershick said. "If you are looking to run a server, say a database or Apache Web server for your personal use, you will notice an immediate performance change over a comparably configured box or even the same hardware." "The way 2.6 handles memory allocation and does the tasking, those type of server-based applications typically run anywhere between three and five times faster than on the prior kernel. So significant performance tuning and enhancement is evident for those kind of applications," he added. For users of the desktop, Ungershick said there are also improvements in the way the operating system can now perform multithreading and multitasking. He said users will see a far more fluid experience for applications such as multimedia and other graphics-intensive tasks. SuSE Linux 9.1 Personal will be targeted at novice users, curious about the OS, and consist of a pair of CDs, one of which is a "LiveCD" that will let a user boot up and run everything from the disk. The CD will automatically configure the users machine, and load all of the appropriate drivers and even files so the user can get to all of his existing data without modifying the existing installation, he said. "The nice thing about this is that new users will be able to experience Linux without having to commit to changing any of the machines configuration. They wont actually have to install it on their machines. "If they are happy with what they see, they can use the second CD, and the installation will take care of partitioning the Windows partition and allowing the user to build new files right next to Windows," Ungershick said. The price, at $29.99—$10 less than SuSE Linux 9.0 when that shipped—will be very competitive for first-time Linux users or those wanting to move away from Windows, he said. Next Page: The Professional Flavor

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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