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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.

Is SLED 11 the most Microsoft-friendly Linux distribution ever? Click here to see eWEEK Labs’ take.

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.