Novell Ships Service Pack 1 for SUSE Linux 10
Published: June 19, 2007
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
Back at the end of March, at its BrainShare 2007 user and partner conference, commercial Linux distributor Novell previewed some of the capabilities of its Service Pack 1 (SP1) update to its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 Linux variants. And this week, Novell delivered SP1 and, as it turns out, it includes some extra goodies that might have made it worth the extra wait time.
After SLES 10 and SLED 10 were launched last July, Novell had been expecting to put together an SP1 update to the code by the end of 2006, which would include updates to the integrated Xen hypervisor and Novell virtualization management tools as well as tweaks that would allow Open Enterprise Server, the company's hybrid NetWare-Linux platform, to support virtualization for the first time. But in December, as the company was previewing the OES 2 kicker, code-named "Cypress," it said that it would have to push out the SLES SP1 update into 2007. Novell did not say when it would get SLES SP1 out the door, or why it was delayed, but the scuttlebutt is that getting the Xen hypervisor hardened and supporting not just SUSE Linux instances, but also instances of Red Hat Linux, NetWare 6.5, and Microsoft Windows has turned out to be a little bit more tricky than XenSource, the creator of the open source Xen server and desktop virtualization hypervisor, and its partners had hoped.
In any event, whatever the hold up, as of this week, SLES SP1 is here, and according to Holger Dyroff, vice president of SUSE Linux product management, who I spoke to through email, that puts the Cypress OE2 release on track for its re-scheduled appearance in the third quarter.
SLES SP1 has support for Intel's quad-core "Clovertown" Xeon 5300 and "Kentsfield" Core 2 Quad processors as well as for the forthcoming "Barcelona" quad-core Opteron processors from Advanced Micro Devices.
The patches for SLES also include something called the Virtual Machine Driver Pack, which is a collection of network, bus, and block device drivers for supporting paravirtualized hypervisors, including Xen and VMware's ESX Server. Paravirtual support in these hypervisors allows operating systems such as Linux and Windows to run without having their source code changed to account for hypervisors. (Paravirtualization usually does not mean making use of the hardware-assisted virtualization that is enabled by the Intel VT and AMD-V electronics in the latest X64 chips, and this virtualization pack is really a hybrid of full virtualization and paravirtualization to take the benefits of both approaches.) Bus and block device drivers for Windows 2000 (32-bit), Windows XP (32-bit and 64-bit), and Windows Server 2003 (32-bit and 64-bit) are in this pack. Paravirtualized drivers for RHEL 4 and RHEL 5 are due in the second half of 2007 and will be delivered electronically, just like the Windows drivers are. The Windows drivers are closed source, while the RHEL drivers will be open source.
The SP1 patch also has updated storage software, including tweaks to the cluster file system, volume manager, and cluster resource manager that is bundled with SLES 10. Novell's AppArmor 2.0 security framework is integrated into SLES 10 and SLED 10 and now has a profile out of the box (er, out of the bits?) for the Apache Tomcat Web application server.
On the SLED 10 front, SP1 sports a redesigned default menu, control center, and logout, and also has an international clock and disk usage applet added to the utilities section. SLED 10 has desktop lockdown tools and allows end users to create secure disk partitions for sensitive data as well, and has the latest OpenOffice 2.1 suite, which has the OpenXML-OpenDocument Format conversion tool that allows OpenOffice to exchange documents with Office 2007. Novell has also added some more support for Visual Basic macros to the mix in SLED 10 with SP1, and has put a product preview of the Xen hypervisor into the package.
Customers who want SP1 can use Yast Online Update to get the patches to the operating system, or they can order media directly from Novell. All of the patches except the Virtual Machine Driver Pack are available free to customers using SLES 10 or SLED 10. The virtualization software is only available as a fee-based product, however. It costs $299 for a one-year subscription on a machine with a limit of four virtual machines per physical server; an unlimited VM license is available for $699 per year.
Novell Previews SLES 10 Service Pack 1, OES 2 Extensions
The openSUSE Project Ships 10.2 Release
Novell Previews Open Enterprise Server 2, Delays SLES 10 SP1
Novell Aggressively Launches SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 10
Novell Targets Windows Stack with Open Workgroup Suite
Open Enterprise Server Updated by Novell
Novell Delivers Open Enterprise Server, Preps SUSE Professional 9.3
Novell Combines NetWare and Linux with Open Enterprise Server
Post this story to del.icio.us
Post this story to Digg
Post this story to Slashdot