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August 6, 2002

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SuSE Says Yes to LSB and UnitedLinux

SuSE Linux 8.1 in October -- UnitedLinux Server in November

Mike Angelo -- 6 August 2002 (C)

SuSE Linux 8.0 is the most recent SuSE Linux distribution. It was released in April 2002. So, what's next for SuSE? You likely can expect SuSE 8.1 in October 2002 and a UnitedLinux powered SuSE server product in November 2002.

Holger Dryoff is head of SuSE Inc, SuSE Linux AG 's United States operation. We recently had the pleasure of discussing what's up next distribution-wise for SuSE, SuSE's involvement with the Linux Standard Base (LSB) and UnitedLinux projects, and SuSE's plans for Netscape with Holger Dryoff.

While Holger Dryoff noted that he could not comment on any future products, he did mention that SuSE usually releases a new version about every six months. If you care to read between the lines there and do the math folks, you likely can look for SuSE Linux 8.1 sometime in October 2002.

Also, the SuSE Linux immediately previous to the current SuSE Linux, 8.0, was SuSE Linux 7.3. It shipped in October 2001. That's another good clue that SuSE Linux 8.1 will hit the streets in October 2002.

However, do not expect a public beta of SuSE Linux 8.1.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Will there be a public beta of it? If so, when?

Holger Dryoff: As usual, we do beta tests with a restricted circle of people all over the world. We don't think that a public beta test would increase the quality of our products, it would just mean more work and effort to read all bug reports a thousand times, [rather] than 10 or 100 times.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Is the current version of SuSE Linux, 8.0, LSB compliant?

LSB Mission Statement

The goal of the Linux Standard Base (LSB) is to develop and promote a set of standards that will increase compatibility among Linux distributions and enable software applications to run on any compliant Linux system. In addition, the LSB will help coordinate efforts to recruit software vendors to port and write products for Linux.

(Linuxbase.org)



What is UnitedLinux?

UnitedLinux is a standards-based, worldwide Linux solution targeted at the business user and developed by Caldera, Conectiva, SuSE, and Turbolinux. Designed to be an enterprise-class, industry-standard Linux operating system, UL provides a single stable, uniform platform for application development, certification, and deployment and allows Linux vendors, Independent Software Vendors (ISVs), and Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs) to support a single high value Linux offering rather than many different versions.

(UnitedLinux FAQs)

Holger Dryoff: Yes. As you might know, we did some major changes like dropping rc.config as our central configuration file, to be LSB compliant. After a standard is fixed, we are more than willing to immediately switch to it.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Does SuSE believe that it is important for SuSE Linux to be LSB compliant?

Holger Dryoff: Yes. We are a founding member of the Free Standards Group and our engineers were part of all definition efforts ...

MozillaQuest Magazine: How will SuSE Linux fit in with UnitedLinux?

Holger Dryoff: SuSE Linux will offer SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 powered by UnitedLinux in November. SuSE Linux is the technical integrator for UnitedLinux, which includes project management and core development.

UnitedLinux is a distribution targeted towards Servers, nothing else. Our workstation/desktop product will continue to serve our current and future customers in that area. Will it be possible to run applications that are certified on UnitedLinux on a coming SuSE Linux Professional/Personal [distribution]: Yes.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Are LSB and UnitedLinux technically compatible?

Holger Dryoff: Yes, we agreed with several other founding members of LSB that LSB just doesn't go far enough. We saw the need to standardize further in order to make our customers in the enterprise happy. As we didn't have time to convince all others in the first place we did go ahead with four partners and announced UnitedLinux. This was the only way to get the effort done, fast.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Should application software and hardware drivers that are LSB compliant be able to run with Linux distributions that are UnitedLinux compliant?

Holger Dryoff: Yes, UnitedLinux will be LSB compliant and therefore it'll work as long as the vendors didn't make decisions above or in LSB that are different between Distributions.

Hardware drivers usually interact just with the kernel, as far as I know. SuSE Linux Kernels and in the future UnitedLinux kernels are compatible with kernel.org kernels. Open Standards that's our way. Now and in the future.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Are LSB and UnitedLinux politically/socially/community-wise/economically compatible?

Holger Dryoff: Absolutely.

MozillaQuest Magazine: Will SuSE eventually drop Netscape from the SuSE Linux distribution?

Holger Dryoff: We are neither political, nor religious but we listen to our customers. Our customers are demanding Netscape, so we will deliver it. Our customers also demand Konqueror, Mozilla and other browsers like Opera, so we deliver them. SuSE Linux is about choice, not about restriction.

We also deliver, as the only bigger Linux vendor, StarOffice 6.0 to our customers, right now for a nominal extra fee, but we deliver. This is what our customers like to see and our growing success, especially in the United States, shows us this is the right way to go!

Incidentally, if you happen to attend the LinuxWorld Expo in San Francisco next week, you might want to stop by the SuSE booth. SuSE plans to have a Preview version of United Linux there. SuSE also will be showing its recently released SuSE Linux eMail Server 3.1 and its recently updated SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 7 at LinuxWorld Expo next week.

Stay tuned.

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