This blog was contributed by SearchEnterpriseLinux.com expert Sander van Vugt.
At Novell Inc.’s annual BrainShare user conference in Salt Lake City, I talked to Guy Lunardi, one of the most important guys behind Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop (SLED). I had one pressing question for him. I showed him my new Dell XPS laptop, which has a lot of fancy stuff and runs out of factory Windows Vista (since that is the only OS that will allow me to use all the fancy stuff). So I asked him, “When will I install SUSE Linux on that?”
He responded, “Sander, if you go to a shop, buy a Vista DVD and install it on your laptop, do you think it will all work?” The answer was of course not.
When you introduce new hardware, one of the major issues is driver support. “Currently we are talking a lot with the people that develop the devices that are in these new computers to make sure that Linux drivers will be available,” Lunardi explained. “We help them wherever we can and it’s only getting better. It helps that we have some major customers like the Peugeot car manufacturer in France that demand specific functionality. They ask [for] a feature, we’ll make sure they get it and the result of all the effort will be in our new software.”
So there have been lots of developments recently. As a result, when it comes out later this year, openSUSE 11 will be as good as Windows Vista in supporting devices. “But,” Lunardi assured me, “you’ll always have to complete the installation of your operating system by downloading and installing additional drivers. That’s the case for Linux, [just] as it is the case for Windows.”
Fair enough. I’ll give it a try when openSUSE 11 comes out.