Novell has just released the latest versions of its flagship operating system: SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) and SLES (SUSE Linux Enterprise Server) 11. You don’t have to be a Linux expert to quickly see what’s different about these Linux distributions. SLE is easily the most Windows-friendly of any edition of Linux in history.
How friendly? I’ve already been using SLED 11 for a few days and I can now say that you can manage SLED workstations with AD (Active Directory); read and write Office 2007 file formats; watch and listen to Microsoft Silverlight and Windows Media videos and audio; and work smoothly and fully with Exchange server. SLED’s the closest thing you’ve ever seen to a Windows desktop that’s actually Linux. For more on that, look for my SLED review in ComputerWorld later this week.
Novell and Microsoft’s partnership doesn’t stop at the desktop. Novell states that SLE will run at near-native performance on Microsoft Hyper-V virtualization. While I haven’t done any extensive testing of this, I have used a SLES 11 beta on Hyper-V running on Windows Server 2008, and it was darn fast.