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Does Novell Sell Proprietary Windows Virtualisation? (Corrected)

Posted in Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Red Hat, Security, SLES/SLED, Virtualisation at 11:28 pm by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

A couple of interesting items (both embedded in a single press release) came out from Novell yesterday. The first one seems to confirm what we already knew — that Novell’s patching process has become assimilated to Microsoft’s. This comes at the same time as another lifeline gets cut: “SUSE Linux 9.3 Security Support is Now Discontinued”.

Novell Inc. on June 18 released its first service pack for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10. This service pack, also known as SP1, features significant enhancements in virtualization, high-performance computing, security, interoperability, and system management.

By contrast, Red Hat released RHEL 4.5 several years after the release of RHEL 4. They did this in order to add some popular virtualisation functionality. There was a regular flow of patches, but never a “Service Pack”. It sometimes seems as though Novell is building Microsoft’s next desktop/server built upon GPL-licensed code. Will Service Packs give Microsoft some control over what gets included in SLED/SLES 10?

The second part of Novell’s announcement left some more room for thought and interpretation. On the face of it, paravirtualisation drivers for Windows are proprietary and they need to be sold (yes, for a price)). Is this the price of openness and interoperability? See for yourself:

The paravirtualized drivers for Windows in the Driver Pack are currently distributed under a proprietary license. The paravirtualized drivers for SUSE Linux and Red Hat Enterprise Linux, on the other hand, will be distributed under an open-source license.

Are they selling the ability to do Windows virtualisation? This continues a worrisome trend where Novell limits Windows/Linux virtualisation as a whole. Are we missing something?

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  1. Anonymous said,

    June 19, 2007 at 12:06 am


    You guys are so ill:

    > that Novell’s patching process has become assimilated to Microsoft’s

    There have been three “service packs”, yes with that name, for SLES 9 until now and Novell used the term “service pack” also before. And now the name “service pack” shall be something bad because of a deal with Microsoft?

  2. David Mohring (NZheretic) said,

    June 19, 2007 at 7:40 am


    05/12/2005 : Xen and the art of Coexistence

    Covers 2005 Microsoft Redhat talks, worth reading.

  3. Ian said,

    June 19, 2007 at 8:48 am


    I agree with Anon. Come on, that’s a bit of a stretch Roy. Novell has been releasing revs of their software under the SP# naming convention for years. I still have a few NetWare 5.1 servers, 5.1 being released half a dozen years ago or more, running SP8 which was released a little over a year ago. There’s nothing new here. No smoking gun.

  4. Roy Schestowitz said,

    June 19, 2007 at 9:05 am


    Thanks for the correction, guys. I have crossed that part out.

    I first heard about the service packs about a year ago. I was a long-time Opensuse user, so I was used to regular releases, not service packs. SLED 10 really amazed me (Compiz was a nice touch), but 3-4 months later, the company I once used to cherish sold out (not just its own franchise).

  5. shane coyle said,

    June 19, 2007 at 11:04 am


    Yeah, let’s remember that the service packs are the things that make Microsoft bound by the GPL, since their coupons that they distribute entitle holders to updates and support for SUSE – updates that are GPL code in many cases.

    Viva los SUSE Service Packs!

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