SUSE Studio

Juicy ButlerSUSE 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.

Suse Studio

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.)

Mike’s being difficult, again

The Problem of Email

I know I’m stating the obvious, but email is very very broken.

I have two email accounts, one personal and one for work, and they are both, each in their own way, profoundly broken.  Like most people, I actually have a bunch of email addresses, but they’re logically separated into work and personal.  I use a combination of Gmail and Thunderbird for my personal mail, and Groupwise for my work mail.

I try to manage my personal account so that at least occasionally I get to the mythical zero inbox, but my corporate account with 3,000 messages in it is just a stream that flows by with me on the river bank with a pathetic net trying to catch the most important bits roaring by.  Right at this moment I have 19 emails open on my desktop, awaiting action.

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A supported Linux desktop

Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols writing in ComputerWorld asks: what is the best Linux desktop for a small to medium sized business upgrading from Windows XP but with limited in-house technical expertise?

The nerds, he says, will answer Ubuntu; it has street cred on the Interwebs.  (I hasten to add that that includes me: I’m running Xubuntu on an old laptop and it’s great, ideal for its purpose.)

But  for small to medium sized businesses lacking nerds, the real answer, he says is Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop.

And why, you may ask?  Well, in a word: services!

In particular, if I don’t really know Linux that well and I’m running an SMB, I want a company that can offer me the full support package. That’s more than just 24×7 phone support. Both Canonical and Novell offer that. Novell also offers other support options such as certification, training, consulting, and even retaining the services of an engineer.

Novell acquires Managed Objects

Novell today announced the acquisition of Managed Objects, a CMDB vendor, today.  They’re a leader in business service management software and will be a part of our SRM (systems and resource management) business unit.

Using their (our) products, customers can “extract IT configuration and workload information in near real-time into a robust CMDB, model how the IT configuration provides business services, and then generate visualizations and dashboards that dynamically show how IT aligns to business services.”