Can Novell's SLED 11 Power Enterprise Netbooks?By Frank Ohlhorst | Posted 2009-04-03 Email Print
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Novell's SLED 11 brings enterprise desktop features to the market and offers enhanced security and management features in a Linux desktop operating system. The SLED 11 Linux OS could work well for netbook computers in the enterprise.
Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Desktop has never been a run-of-the-mill Linux distribution; from the outset, Novell's interpretation of Suse Linux has been squarely aimed at business PCs in a networked environment. With SLED 11, Novell shows its commitment to the enterprise by incorporating new features and strengthening networking features. What makes SLED 11 different from the multitude of Linux distributions out there is the operating system offers out-of-the-box support for Windows business networks, data files and application servers.
SLED 11 also incorporates several security features, including Novell's AppArmor and features found in SELinux (Security-Enhanced Linux). AppArmor offers firewall-like protection and helps to prevent malware from infecting attached Windows networks.
SLED 11 has a great deal in common with the recent OpenSUSE 11.1 release, but differs from other Linux distributions in yet another area; there is a relatively limited selection of software packages available for SLED 11. Novell is looking to address that limited software ecosystem by incorporating "single-click install," which, as the name implies, makes installing application programs a breeze. As in previous versions, SLED 11 uses Novell's update service to provide automated security and program updates. That service requires an activation code from Novell.
While it's hard to imagine Windows users in the enterprise switching over to SLED 11, there is another avenue that Novell can take to speed adoption—that would be to aim SLED 11 at the growing netbook market. Netbooks normally come with Windows XP Home Edition installed, and that operating system is far from perfect for a networked desktop in the enterprise. What's more, most netbooks are unable to run Windows Vista, making it difficult to incorporate those systems into the enterprise. SLED 11 could very well be the answer needed by network administrators looking to bring inexpensive netbooks into the corporate environment. SLED 11 is lightweight enough to run on a netbook system, yet it incorporates networking and security features that make it suitable for Windows networks.
Network administrators looking to introduce low-cost computing, mobility and Linux into the enterprise can get a head start by combining SLED 11 with netbooks and not giving up networking, management and support features—while reducing costs.