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SUSE Linux (//; German: [ˈzuːzə]) is a computer operating system. It is built on top of the open source Linux kernel and is distributed with system and application software from other open source projects. SUSE Linux is of German origin and mainly developed in Europe. The first version appeared in early 1994, making SUSE one of the oldest existing commercial distributions. It is known for its YaST configuration tool.
Novell bought the SuSE brands and trademarks in 2003. Novell, one of the founding members of the Open Invention Network, decided to make the community an important part of their development process by opening widely the distribution development to outside contributors in 2005, creating the openSUSE distribution and the openSUSE Project. Novell employed over 500 developers working on SUSE in 2004. On 27 April 2011, Novell (and SUSE) were acquired by The Attachmate Group. The Attachmate Group made SUSE an independent business unit.
Gesellschaft für Software und System Entwicklung mbH (Lit. Society for Software and System Development) was founded on 2 September 1992 in Nuremberg, Germany, by twenty-somethings Roland Dyroff, Thomas Fehr, Burchard Steinbild, and Hubert Mantel. Three of the founders were still studying mathematics at a university; Fehr had already graduated and begun work as a software engineer.
The original idea was that the company would develop software and function as an advisory UNIX group. According to Mantel, the group decided to distribute Linux, offering support.
The name "S.u.S.E" was originally a German acronym for "Software und System-Entwicklung", meaning "Software and systems development". However, the full name has never been used and the company has always been known as "S.u.S.E", shortened to "SuSE" in October 1998 and more recently "SUSE".
The official logo and current mascot of the distribution is a veiled chameleon officially named "Geeko" (portmanteau of "Gecko" and "geek") following a competition. Much like the company's name, the "Geeko" logo design has evolved over time.
The company started as a service provider, which among other things regularly released software packages that included Softlanding Linux System (SLS, now defunct) and Slackware, printed UNIX/Linux manuals, and offered technical assistance. These third party products SUSE initially used had those characteristics and were managed by SUSE in different fashions:
For building its very own distribution of Linux S.u.S.E used the jurix distribution (now defunct) as starting point. This was created by Florian La Roche, who joined the S.u.S.E team, and began to develop YaST, the installer and configuration tool that would become the central point of the distribution. 
In 1996, the first distribution under the name S.u.S.E Linux was published as S.u.S.E Linux 4.2. The version number has caused much discussion: it should have been just a version 1.1, but it was the beginning of a new distribution. The number 4.2 was an intentional reference to the answer to the "Big Question about Life, the Universe and Everything" of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy science fiction novels by the English writer Douglas Adams. YaST's first version number, 0.42, came from the same source.
S.u.S.E. was the largest Linux distributor in Germany. In 1997, SuSE, LLC was established under the direction of President and Managing Partner James Gray in Oakland, California, which enabled the company to develop Linux markets in the Americas and Asia. While Red Hat was ubiquitous in the United States, SuSE Linux continued to grow in Germany, but also in Nordic countries such as Finland and Sweden. In October 1998, it was renamed SuSE (without dots). Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, used it himself fairly often. SuSE entered the UK in 1999.
In 2001, the company was forced to significantly reduce its staff to survive.
In a move to more effectively reach its business audience, SuSE introduced the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in 2001, and changed the company name to SUSE Linux a few months before Novell's purchase. "SUSE" is now a name, not an acronym.
According to J. Philips, Novell's corporate technology strategist for the Asia Pacific region, Novell would not "in the medium term" alter the way in which SUSE was developed. At Novell's annual BrainShare gathering in 2004, all computers ran SUSE Linux for the first time and it was announced that the proprietary SUSE administration program YaST2 would be released under the GPL license.
On 4 August 2005, Novell announced that the SUSE Professional series would become more open, with the launch of the openSUSE Project community. The software had always been open source, but openSUSE opened the development process, allowing developers and users to test and develop it. Previously all development work was done in-house by SUSE. Version 10.0 was the first version that offered public beta testing.
SUSE Linux 10.0 included both open source and proprietary applications and retail boxed-set editions. As part of the change, YaST Online Update server access became free for all SUSE Linux users, and also for the first time, the GNOME desktop was upgraded to equal status with the traditional KDE.
On 3 November 2006 (renewed 25 July 2011), Novell signed an agreement with Microsoft covering improvement of SUSE's interoperability with Microsoft Windows, cross-promotion/marketing of both products and patent cross-licensing. The agreement is considered controversial by part of the Free Software community.
On 22 November 2010, Novell announced that it had agreed to be acquired by The Attachmate Group for $2.2 billion. The Attachmate Group plans to operate Novell as two units, SUSE becoming a stand-alone business and anticipates no change to the relationship between the SUSE business and the openSUSE project as a result of this transaction.
The U.S. Department of Justice announced that in order to proceed with the first phase of their acquisition of certain patents and patent applications from Novell Inc., CPTN Holdings LLC and its owners altered their original agreements to address the department's antitrust concerns. The department said that, as originally proposed, the deal would jeopardize the ability of open source software, such as Linux, to continue to innovate and compete in the development and distribution of server, desktop, and mobile operating systems, middleware, and virtualization products. With regard to licensing the patents:
The acquisition was completed on 27 April 2011. Subsequently, on 23 July 2011 The Attachmate Group launched a new website for the SUSE business.
For EOL, EOS and EOXS (End-of-eXtended-Support) see http://support.novell.com/inc/lifecycle/linux.html
|Project||Version||Date of issue||End of life||Linux kernel version|
|S.u.S.E Linux |
|S.u.S.E Linux |
|7.1||2001-04-21||2003-05-16 ||2.2.18 / 2.4.0|
|7.2||2001-06-15||2003-10-01 ||2.2.19 / 2.4.4|
|SUSE Linux||9.0||2003-10-15||2005-12-15 ||2.4.21 / 2.6.1|
|openSUSE||10.2||2006-12-07 ||2008-11-30 ||2.6.18|
|10.3||2007-10-04 ||2009-10-31 ||2.6.22|
|11.0||2008-06-19 ||2010-06-26 ||2.6.25|
|11.1||2008-12-18 ||2011-01-14 ||2.6.27|
|11.2||2009-11-12 ||2011-05-12 ||2.6.31|
|11.3||2010-07-15 ||2012-01-16 ||2.6.34|
|11.4||2011-03-10||2012-11-05  / 2014-07 ||2.6.37 |
|12.1||2011-11-16||2013-05-15 ||3.1 |
|12.2||2012-09-05 ||2014-01-15 ||3.4 |
|12.3||2013-03-13 ||N/A||3.7 |
|Project||Version||Date of issue||End of life||Linux kernel version|
SUSE Linux is available under two brands, openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise. openSUSE is a free, community distribution driven by the openSUSE Project. It includes some of the latest "bleeding edge" Linux technologies and is designed for home users and enthusiasts. SUSE Linux Enterprise is SUSE's tested and certified open-source solution for major enterprises.
openSUSE is a freely available, community project that releases versions on a comparatively frequent basis and generally uses the latest versions of the various open source projects that it includes. SUSE Linux Enterprise is SUSE's commercial edition, which SUSE releases much less frequently, enabling it to offer support more effectively for enterprise/production deployments. It is certified for a wide variety of enterprise applications and offers a number of special enterprise features including High Availability and Point of Sale extensions. SUSE historically uses a heavily tested subset of packages from openSUSE Linux as the basis for SUSE Linux Enterprise.
SUSE offers SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. Each focuses on packages that fit its specific purpose. For example, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop does not include the Apache Web Server, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server does not include Xgl/Compiz.
openSUSE is driven by the openSUSE Project community and sponsored by SUSE, to develop and maintain SUSE Linux components. It is the equivalent of the historic "SuSE Linux Professional". After their acquisition of SUSE Linux, Novell (now SUSE) has decided to make the community central to their development process.
It has a theoretical cycle development of eight months and a lifetime (duration of the critical updates) of 18 months from the date of release. It is fully and freely available for immediate download.
SUSE develops multiple products for its "enterprise" business line. These business products target corporate environments, with a higher life cycle (7 years, extendable to 10), a longer development cycle (24 to 36 months), a guarantee of stability at the potential expense of development speed, technical support and certification by independent hardware and software vendors. SUSE Linux Enterprise products are only available for sale (updates fees).
SUSE Linux Enterprise has fewer packages than the openSUSE distribution. Most of the difference are desktop applications which are more suited to consumers than to business. The enterprise products are:
When installed using a Linux kernel, Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES) uses SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a platform. This product is also known as OES-Linux.
SUSE's SUSE Studio product is a web interface (built with Ruby on Rails) to openSUSE's KIWI and the Open Build Service tools. It allows users to graphically put together a custom Linux distribution and generate output including a large variety of Virtual Machine and Disk Images.