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Novell SUSE Linux 11 Everywhere?

Novell today is rolling out the newest edition of its flagship enterprise Linux, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) 11 and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED) 11. The new releases are the first major updates since the SLES and SLED 10 releases in July of 2006.

Novell's new Linux includes a host of feature improvements including enterprise Mono support (.NET on Linux), high availability enhancements and a streamlined operating system build geared towards appliance vendors.

The new Linux release from Novell, comes on the heels of a new report from IDC showing increasing opportunity for Linux in the current economy and as Novell's marketplace battle with rival Red Hat continues.

Novell generates a large portion of its Linux revenues from Microsoft as a result of a November 2006 deal between the two companies. SLES 11 benefits from the Microsoft partnership and will offer at least one feature that no other enterprise Linux distribution has ever had, support for Microsoft's .NET framework.

The .NET support comes by way of the Novell led Mono effort which to date has only been available on community Linux distributions like Novell's openSUSE and Red Hat's Fedora. Red Hat has told InternetNews.com in the past that it was not interested in including Mono with its Red Hat Enterprise Linux release.

Technically, Novell is calling the .NET support, SUSE Linux Enterprise Mono Extension. It's intended to enable users to run fully supported Microsoft .NET-based applications on Linux.

"It's not more than what is in the community in terms of the actual project," Justin Steinman, Vice President of Solution and Product Marketing at Novell, told InternetNews.com. "Mono is, like many community projects, a fairly fast release project. What we did is applied the same rigor and discipline that we apply with SLES. We used the same q/a (quality assurance) process and same hardening and testing processes to make sure that Mono could handle the most mission critical workloads in the enterprise."

While Mono will be available on the server side with SLES, there are also benefits to desktop users with SLED as well. One of the spinoff projects from Mono is the Moonlight project which is an effort to bring Microsoft's Silverlight media framework to Linux. Moonlight will enable SLED users to legally run Microsoft media codecs on their desktop to view content.

With SLES 11, Novell is also rolling out a new high availability extension which claims to offer flexible policy driven clustering and continuous data replication. On the file system side, Novell is using the OCFSv2 (Oracle Clustered File System), which competes against Red Hat's GFS (Global File System), though both files systems are included in the mainline Linux kernel.

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