Updates to enterprise Linux server releases don’t typically include rebased Linux kernels. Yet that is indeed what SUSE Linux is doing with SUSE Linux Enterprise Linux Server (SLES) 11 SP2. The new SLES service pack is the first major update to SUSE’s flagship platform since the business unit was re-formed as an operating division of Attachmate in 2011.
SLES 11 SP2 includes the Linux 3.0 kernel and provides enterprise support for the Btrfs filesystem. Neither of those items were initially available in the first SLES 11 release back in 2009. SLES 11 SP1 debuted in May of 2010
“We changed our development model in terms of bringing the SLES 11 SP2 platform to market,” Kerry Kim, director of solutions marketing at SUSE Linux, told InternetNews.com. “We adopted something that is a bit more forward looking versus the historical approach that had been used.”
The traditional approach to Linux enterprise releases is to keep the kernel the same in an effort to maintain compatibility. In that approach, new features are back-ported to the update. SUSE is now taking a different approach and is instead forward-porting compatibility for new features.