SLED 10 is finally here, and so begins Novell’s effort to get it onto as many business computers as possible. This event also comes shortly after the departure of Jack Messman as CEO, an event which has dramatically changed Novell’s business strategy, especially as it relates to its SUSE Linux products. To find out more about SLED, its cousin SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, and the company’s plans for the future, I got in touch with senior Novell executive John Dragoon.
Interview: Novell’s John Dragoon
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2006-07-19 3:06 amblastwave
I tried out the beta. Super slick looking install on IBM dual Opteron hardware. Took about two hours to install and then I logged in as a regular user and killed it deader than dead in 15 secs flat. Total lockup and had to pull the power plug.
Not my idea of “enterprise” class.
but it looks real pretty
2006-07-19 3:49 amsmitty
While that does sound bad, you can’t expect a beta product to be bug free. For all you know, that bug and every single other one that existed had all been fixed by the time it was released.
2006-07-19 9:42 amczubin
Well any good admin would put limits on a user account to stop these things from happening.
[personel opinion]I think a fork bomb is more usefull in a server environment instead of workstation for a single user.
2006-07-19 11:52 amblastwave
That was an IBM Dual Opteron server and I logged in from a remote workstation. I then instantly went for my checklist and number one on the list is that silly fork bomb. Which killed the server back in the rack totally.
I believe that any “enterprise” class OS should be absolutely protected from such simple DOS attacks or resource abuses ( from any user ) out of the box. Various OS’s are. To varying degrees. I think that FreeBSD and Solaris will just get real busy and then return to normal.
We need to always have a mind on the past to see how we arrived at this destination. Once upon a time we had mainframes and no vendor would allow an entire system to be crashed by a single abusive user. Resources were allocated correctly. In truth, we had operator staff and timeshare processes to control things. By the time the late eighties were upon us we had IBM 3090 ESA systems and customers were trying to make a switch to UNIX which was “good enough”. As UNIX began to rise in popularity and power it was possible for an engineer to work at his workstation as opposed to using resources on a big expensive mainframe. Then, over time, we were able to put many users on a UNIX server and replace the mainframes to some degree.
Now we have Linux that is still trying to replace UNIX and in a lot of places it is “good enough” but it lacks the maturity and scale that we have in UNIX. What is the equivalent of a mainframe in terms of real long term horsepower and stability? What is “good enough”? Windows is, at best, a travesty.
Novell has released this closed source non-GPL derivitive ( can we get the complete source and built it ourselves? ) of Linux called SUSE Enterprise Linux 10 and its not really capable out of the box. It can potentially be tweaked. It could perhaps be “good enough” for a limited number of users or a single application like Lotus Notes. Maybe Lotus Domino server, again, for a limited number of users. I can not truthfully say what it will do with a big application on it but I will try and then report what I see.
The real issue here, if you read between the lines, is that the journey we began forty years ago in computer science has turned into a multi-generational wander. This last generation today does not know their fore fathers and has forgotten the purpose of the journey. So we have some interesting technology but we have not realized any real improvement in the human experience with this “computing machine”. We learn how to talk to computers and we learn how to care for them and how to power them and we must adapt to them in order to use them. This is the reverse of the original intention and its the obvious result of commerce not science.
The open source movement in computer science is a wonderful concept as it gives us all the chance to strive together. Those that shroud their technology in darkness and hide it from us are really just practitioners of money counting. Commerce. Or worse.
So this release is like a lot of OS releases. It comes with some marketing fanfare. Some noise and color. It breaks no new ground. It takes us over no hill. We are still just wandering in a valley somewhere and if you look just over there, maybe to the next tent, someone else will have a party tomorrow which also takes us no where but it looks real pretty. What we need is leadership and unity, not more commerce and empty OS releases.
2006-07-19 12:35 pmczubin
note: excuse me for my bad english
>I believe that any “enterprise” class OS should be absolutely protected from such simple DOS attacks or
>resource abuses ( from any user ) out of the box. Various OS’s are. To varying degrees.
I believe any non-hobby OS should be protected from that, but the impact on a desktop OS is much less then on a server.
(should the user account be limited in creating a number of processes if there’s only one user? perhaps it needs a better solution)
>Now we have Linux that is still trying to replace UNIX and in a lot of places it is “good enough”
Don’t you think that modern day UNIX has matured enough to be simply better or equal as those mainframes, don’t think this will happen to linux as well?
Blame the companies for not sharing their knowledge. I might be wrong but I think linux enterprise distro’s will only improve since most is open.
If one improves then the others get it for free -> nothing is kept locked behind bars. They can share technology (Xen etc). Unlike other closed OS’s
BTW: Haven’t notice how programmers always want to redevelop the wheel?
2006-07-19 1:29 pmblastwave
> note: excuse me for my bad english
I have the same problem. 🙂
> I believe any non-hobby OS should be protected from
> that, but the impact on a desktop OS is much less
> then on a server. (should the user account be limited
> in creating a number of processes if there’s only one
> user? perhaps it needs a better solution)
I think that SUSE Enterprise Linux 10 or Red Hat Enterprise Linux or FooDoo Enterprise OS for tomorrow should never crash due to a resource abuse.
Regardless if there is 1 user or 20,000 users there should be sufficient intelligence in the computer science world by now to protect both the user and the system from such usage.
> Don’t you think that modern day UNIX has matured
> enough to be simply better or equal as those
> mainframes, don’t think this will happen to linux
> as well?
Sorry, thats the best I can give you. I think that both UNIX and Linux and Windows are “transition” software systems. We are not really close to a good solution for human beings and computer technology but we are closer than front panel switches and hex keypads. It may be another twenty years before computer science ( not commerce ) can produce an OS that actually delivers on any of the promises made in the 60’s. We are still no closer to the four day work week and the grand vision of technology that actually serves humans. What we have is humans that serve computers. This OS as well as every other OS on the planet today is still a failure in terms of delivering on the visions that computer scientists had forty years ago. At this moment I think Issac Asimov is rolling in his grave.
> Blame the companies for not sharing their knowledge.
Some companies … only some .. not all.
Now there is a great idea that the scientific community holds dear. Perform research. Publish results for open peer review. I thinks that we learn that by the age of five. Its called “share”.
2006-07-19 4:50 pmSEJeff
These resource limits can *NOT* be set by distros by default. They won’t be the same for a pentium 100mhz and an opteron 64 with 4gb of ram. As a good systems administrator, read some documentation.
2006-07-19 5:26 pmblastwave
don’t get condescending or hand me a manpage
This was a 64-bit build for 64-bit x86 type processors of which there are how many? If the OS can not detect the architecture and processor type and number and make even trivial adjustments then gee … whats the sense of a manpage ? The very idea is like banging rocks together to make fire.
2006-07-19 1:06 pmporcel
Yeah, real freeking objective comment coming from someone who obviously has an account on a Solaris-based distribution’s server.
This is nothing more than a veiled FUD attack. Keep it. It won’t help you.
2006-07-19 2:07 pmblastwave
install it yourself — out of the box — no tweaks.
create a user account or create fifty
login from a remote site
Type in the exact characters from the image
Watch the server die.
That is as objective as it can get.
If I am wrong then you let me know.
Had good success with AMD X2 4400. The Nvidia driver did not work with my 7600 out of the box. The Nvidia driver I downloaded worked with a couple of tries. It was odd that it saw the card and loaded a driver but wouldn’t let any settings work in test mode. This was the only part that require a cmd line.
Sound card worked after a little messing with control pannels.
On install it could not talk to my WPA network but after the fact it worked fine. It also resized my NTFS partition successfully.
Generaly better driver support then my xp 64 install.
As user that works on a lot of platforms it is my new favorite. As good or better then Mac OS. It will be amusing to see vista on the same box.
The xgl functions are pretty useful not just eye candy.
I would love to install this for customers. The only thing that stops me are the vertical apps. Too bad. Maybe Java, Mono, or AJAX will resolve this in the next few years.
Considering linux + vmware as a resonable solution.
It is amazing how bad 64 xp is. Very few drivers lots of broken apps. There is a security patch that breaks itunes. And now the new version of itunes doesn’t even support being installed on the platform. Lots of odd flackiness. I was hoping it would feel more like 2003.
The install went real smooth … however, it did not ask me the root password not did it ask me to create a regular user! Result: Nice release but how do I login to use it?
2006-07-19 8:20 amNxStY
That’s weird. It asked me for both when I installed it.
In regards to Microsoft Vista, Dragoon said, “They’re questioning whether they need a fully-loaded desktop with expensive new hardware for every single worker in their organization.” While this is true, I’d expect Dell and HP/Compaq, among others, to pitch very attractive deals to their biggest corporate customers.
2006-07-19 9:19 amkaiwai
True, and also, the new Media Accelerator 965/X3000, which Intel is pitching, is DirectX 10 compliant, so even if one were to go out and purchase a machine with that said card, it might not set the world alight in terms of games performance, but it’ll run Vista quite adequately.
Having seen, for example, the Macbook using the GMA900 with MacOS X, without any worries, I’d say that the hype about vista requirements has more to do with scare mongering that actually anything that is real.
Edited 2006-07-19 09:19
Something nobody seems to have picked up on is that that $50 is actually $50 PER YEAR PER DESKTOP.
Subscriptions rearing their ugly head again!
2006-07-19 2:22 pmHiThere
Yes, that includes updates and most importantly,.. enterprise level support. I’m sure that if you contacted Novell to deploy 1200 desktops they will offer you a bulk discount
I get a strange sense of deja vu whenever someone from Novell is interviewed.
Is openSUSE going to become Novell’s Fedora Core?
openSUSE is our open source development project. It’s how we collaborate with the open source community to develop the next innovations that you’ll see in the enterprise product line.
So that’s a yes then?
What is the SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 platform?
SUSE Linux Enterprise 10 is the Platform for the Open Enterprise.
OK Novell. You can’t just stick the word ‘Open’ in everything and expect it to sell. A bit like discontinuing and renaming a perfectly logically named product (that’s a shocker when it comes to Novell) called ‘Small Business Suite’ and calling it ‘Open Workgroup Suite’.
SLES 10 is where Novell need to focus their effort because that’s where their money is most likely to come from, and I found it pretty damn woeful to be honest. They’ve obviously ditched Gnome for KDE as the UI, and Qt for GTK and more specifically Mono, but they’re going to have to lie in that particular bed now.
The interface for SLES is particularly spartan, and you really do have to ask why there’s a GUI at all. YaST is still there but a second class citizen, the Qt front end now sticks out and the graphical tools are so non-existant as to be completely useless. Unless there are some neat, quality graphical tools (like Xandros’ for example) there is absolutely no point whatsoever in choosing SLES over some other distribution, and YaST was always a big reason why Suse was popular – amongst other things.
I suppose it’s a question of whether existing SLES users will be enamoured enough with the changes to upgrade and renew, or whether Red Hat customers will migrate. Neither scenario looks particularly likely given the Earth shattering lack of anything different or new. Arguably, a lot of things have been taken away.
OES is a different system again, designed for existing Netware customers with, supposedly, Netware services running on it. Unfortunately, Netware customers are having a really difficult time swallowing it. It’s hard to understand when and where SLES and OES should fit in, and bizarrely, Novell execs talk about OES and SLES interchageably.
Unfortunately, I think Blastwave’s comment sums it up:
So this release is like a lot of OS releases. It comes with some marketing fanfare. Some noise and color. It breaks no new ground. It takes us over no hill.
For existing SLES and Netware customers it’s arguably taking them back down the existing hill.
Novell SLED 10 is fantastic. I ordered the e-license but haven’t received it yet. Can this guy tell me when I will receive the e-license for SLED 10? Apparantely the test machine I am using for this analysis will expire in 15 days.
Overall, SLED 10 is exceptional.