Microsoft makes Windows, a closed source platform. Suse builds open source Linux distros aimed at enterprise users. On the surface, these two would appear the unlikely couple, but the two companies just renewed a pact dating back to 2006 that has Microsoft purchasing and reselling Suse licenses. As part of the four-year contract extension, Microsoft has agreed to invest $100 million in new Suse Linux Enterprise certificates for Microsoft enterprise customers receiving Linux support from Suse.
Novell has perused the most recent list of the top 500 supercomputers in the world, and nine of the top ten run on Linux. Not only that, but 85% of the entire list run Linux. It’s not hard to guess why Novell might take an interest in this; Novell’s SuSE Linux is the distro of choice in six of the top ten supercomputers.
After tabulations were complete, Novell wasted no time patting themselves on the back. “Supercomputers are helping to push the boundary of science and knowledge around the world, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server from Novell has been chosen as the optimal operating system to power many of these HPC environments for good reasons,” said Novell VP of Business Development Holger Dryoff.
The current king of the supercomputer hill is the Jaguar computer at the US Department of Energy Oak Ridge lab. It's quite a monster of a machine, capable of 2.3 petaflops. It runs Linux, but not Novell's SuSE. Rest assured, as soon as one of these supercomputers develops sentience and proceeds to wipe out humanity, odds are it will be running on open source. There will be no blue screen to save mankind.
Although most Linux users rely on pre-built Linux distros and customize their software configuration after installation, there is nothing quite like having a Linux distro that was custom-designed to your specifications. This allows you to get whatever you want out of the box, but in the past it was difficult to create such a distro since it involved compiling the entire operating system from source. (something firmly in the realm of advanced-to-expert-level users)
In more recent years, it has become possible to create your own Linux distro through various easy-to-use online interfaces. The most well-known distro customization tool is Slax (which we recently discussed) but Novell has a tool called SuSE Studio in closed beta which allows you to assemble your own custom SuSE-based distro from pre-compiled packages. Right now, SuSE Studio is still invite-only since Novell gives you storage space on their servers and bandwidth to both store and download your creations.
Read on to learn how we built our own Maximum PC-themed Linux distro!
Yes, there is more to Linux than Ubuntu. As you are probably aware, there are many different types of Linux to choose from, even though not all get the attention they deserve. These are organized into separate distributions, (distros) and each one is different. If you've read our previous Beginner's Guide to Linux, you are already familiar with the advice we gave about choosing the right distro for your needs. This guide will shed more light on some of the more common distributions in use today and will cover the distinct advantages or disadvantages of each.
For the purpose of comparison, we personally tested each distro and critiqued it based on several distinct areas: appearance, ease of use, system administration, software/package management, security, and the level of support available for the distro. We graded each factor on a scale of zero to five: 0 – Abysmal or non-existent; 1– Very bad; 2 – Needs improvement; 3 – Average; 4 – Good; and 5 – Excellent. We hope that this guide will give you a better understanding of the current state of Linux, so you can make an informed decision about choosing the right Distro without just defaulting to Ubuntu (which we've included in this roundup)