SuSE, SCO to Unveil Latest Linux Distributions

The two companies will announce at Comdex the release of the latest versions of their enterprise Linux distributions powered by the UnitedLinux core.

SuSE Linux and the SCO Group will announce on Tuesday afternoon at the Comdex Fall show in Las Vegas the release of the latest versions of their enterprise Linux distributions powered by the UnitedLinux core.

SuSEs Linux Enterprise Server 8 will be widely available on Nov. 25, while the SCO Linux 4.0 Server is available today.

As first reported by eWEEK last week, these releases herald the first time Linux distributions from SuSE, SCO (formerly Caldera International), Conectiva and Turbolinux that will be based on the UnitedLinux core, and follows the May announcement by the vendors that they will standardize on a single Linux distribution for the enterprise, in a move they said will streamline Linux development and certification.

While the companies have all committed some technology and expertise to UnitedLinux, SuSE Linux took responsibility for the development and quality assurance of the final release, which is based in large part on the SuSE Enterprise Server.

Holger Dyroff, who heads up SuSEs North American operations in Oakland, Calif., told eWEEK that that future versions of UnitedLinux will be released every 12 to 18 months, with the next version likely only once the upcoming 2.6 version of the Linux kernel is enterprise ready.

SuSEs Enterprise Server 8 product differentiates itself from the others by including support and services offered by SuSE. While the core UnitedLinux includes YaST (Yet another Setup Tool) for configuration and installation, there are some modules that are only part of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8.

"One of these is a graphical firewall configuration tool as well as the auto YaST module that helps with the mass installation of server cluster systems and the management of these. We are specifically targeting those medium- to large-size users with more than 100 seats with this server offering," Dyroff said.

SuSE is also differentiating Enterprise Server 8 from Red Hats Advanced Server in a number of ways. "This product includes a number of new features, like the Enterprise Volume Management System, a newer version of the GNU Compiler and Version 2.4.19 of the kernel versus version 2.4.9 that Red Hat uses," he said.

In contrast, SCO is differentiating itself from SuSE and Red Hat by concentrating on the small- to medium-sized business market with its latest release. Chris Sontag, the senior vice president for the operating system division at SCO, told eWEEK in an interview that the product will be sold through SCOs 16,000 resellers worldwide and targets replicated branch offices in vertical industries like banking, retail, hospitality and restaurants.

"SCO Linux 4.0 is a next-generation enterprise server class offering, with automated installation, high-availability clustering technology, large memory support and memory expansion technology. While this release focuses on the 32-bit platform, we will deliver a release for the Itanium II family of processors in the first quarter of next year," he said.

SuSEs Dyroff said another differentiator is that SuSE is the only UnitedLinux partner whose product targets a range of hardware platforms from the start. Enterprise Server 8 will be available for the Intel and AMD 32-bit hardware platform on Nov. 25 and in early December for all the other platforms.

Pricing for the server software will start at $749 a server a year, including 12 months of maintenance, depending on the hardware platform. Technical support, including support for all applications running on the system, costs an additional $2,200 a year per server.

SCOs Sontag said SCO Linux 4.0 Server will be offered in four editions. The Base Edition, to which VARs can add their own applications and support services, will cost $599. The Classic Edition will sell for $699, the Business Edition for $1,249 and the Enterprise Edition for $2,199.

While the price varies due to the differing levels of maintenance and support offered, all four versions include the SCO Linux Update Service, which delivers upgrade packs, security fixes and maintenance packs for selected SCO products, he said.