SUSE Studio, now in beta, allows you to build custom versions of our Linux distribution via a slick and easy web interface.
This is good for nerds who want to impress their girlfriends* with portable versions of SLES on a USB stick.
It’s better for ISVs (independent software vendors) who want to create appliance versions of their applications
But, I think, it’s best for corporate IT shops that are looking to create a standard build environment for their technology infrastructure. In Novell’s consulting organization, we have a popular core build [.pdf] offering, which does much the same thing, except with requirements gathering, security reviews, documentation, and all that complicated enterprise-y stuff. Remember that a distribution is a kind of application marketplace, with more applications than you’ll ever need or want. Enterprise IT usually wants less, if only for manageability and security concerns, which is why customers routinely hire Novell consulting to come and create custom versions of the distribution for them.
If they want to skip all that, this tool (screencast) allows them to create their own core builds and what we call ‘personalities’ on top of the core build — a personality for a database server will be different than a personality for a web server, for example, but the core build underneath will be the same.
Corporate IT teams can use it at the end of a regular build process to create blessed workloads consisting of “JeOS” (just enough operating system) + personality + custom or packaged applications. These can be XML config files, .iso images, VMs, or AMIs for deployment to Amazon’s cloud services. The deployment is just a checkbox option; pretty cool.
* (You must be new here.)