SuSE Linux 9.1 Springs from 2.6 Kernel

 
 
By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2004-03-18
 
 
 

SuSE Linux 9.1 Springs from 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

The Professional Flavor


Meanwhile, SuSE Linux 9.1 Professional Edition, which is geared toward the Linux enthusiast and priced at $89.99, will include upward of 2,500 packages on five CDs or two DVDs. The software will work on not only 32-bit architectures but also on Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and Intel Corp. 64-bit platforms.

"So, when it comes to running things like Samba 3 and Apache and databases and getting a far more technical experience, the Professional Edition is still a nice choice for people who want that supported, easily accessible retail product, but who dont want to have to enter into the enterprise flavor of Linux we also offer," he said.

Other new features in SuSE Linux 9.1 include an update to Samba 3 that ensures the optimum interaction of Linux and Windows hosts in heterogeneous networks. Samba 3 now enables the integration of Linux hosts in Windows domains and access to Active Directory.

Files deleted on the client can now be restored on the server. With the single sign-on, authentication on a Samba server does not require any further changes for a Windows XP client. The consolidation of hardware is facilitated by the option to configure virtual Samba servers.

Ungershick also said the SuSE Linux 9.1 update will be a significant release vehicle for KDE 3.2.1, released last week. The open-source desktop offers a number of feature enhancements, such as accessibility improvements and application enhancements, including Kontacts, which now has a unified user interface for all e-mail, calendaring and addressing. He also drew attention to Konquer, the interfaces browser-file explorer, which now supports spell checking and password storage in a single place.

The updated SuSE Linux software will also support the GNOME 2.4.2 desktop, and there are several enhancements to this as well, including Windows-based printing configuration.

Ungershick also reiterated that, unlike Red Hat Inc. and other major Linux players, Novell and SuSE remain committed to a Linux consumer desktop offering going forward.

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