SuSE is to start shipping its new, SuSE Linux 7.3 operating system (OS) distribution in the United States and North America today. The German version has been shipping for about ten days.
What's in SuSE Linux 7.3
According to Holger Dyroff, director of sales at SuSE's U.S. operation, the SuSE Linux 7.3 Press Release, and other SuSE information, SuSE Linux 7.3 ships with the new Linux 2.4.10 kernel and XFree86 4.1.0. SuSE Linux 7.3 includes both the GNOME 1.4.1 beta 2 and KDE (K Desktop Environment) 2.2.1 windows-like desktops. The new KDE 2.2.1 desktop features an improved Konqueror browser and file manager.
In a telephone interview, Holger Dryoff mentioned that in large part the 2.4.10 kernel, KDE 2.2.1, and XFree86 4.1.0 are what prompted SuSE to release a SuSE Linux distribution at this time. He also mentioned that it is good to have a release before the holiday season.
Holger Dryoff noted there are some problems in pre-2.4.7 Linux kernels. He said that the 2.4.10 kernel corrects these problems.
Incidentally, the 2.4.10 kernel also has a partial fix for a Linux root exploit in pre-2.4.9 kernels reported by the O'Reilly Network yesterday: (Link in the Resources section at the end of this article.)
Some Linux kernels have vulnerabilities that can be exploited to gain root access and be used in a denial-of-service attack. It is reported that Linux kernels 2.2.19 and earlier in the 2.2.x series, and 2.4.9 and earlier in the 2.4.x series, are vulnerable.
The denial-of-service attack is caused by making the kernel de-reference multiple symbolic links. The Linux Kernel version 2.4.10 has a partial fix for this vulnerability . . .
It is recommended that affected users upgrade their Linux kernel to version 2.4.12 or a patched version of the 2.2.x kernel as soon as possible . . . (A Root Exploit and DoS in the Linux Kernel, O'Reilly Network, 10/22/2001)
Desktop & Browser Issues
Earlier this year, SuSE and the other three leading Linux distributors, Caldera, Mandrake, and Red Hat had declined to include Netscape 6.0/6.01 in their Linux Distributions. Rather, they opted to include Netscape 4.7x. However, SuSE includes the much improved over Netscape 6.0/6.01, Netscape 6.1, in its SuSE Linux 7.3 operating system distribution. (Please see our two-part series, Is Netscape Losing the Browser Wars? Part I: Linux Could Be Netscape's Last Browser Battlefield and Part II: Why Are Major Linux Distributions Rejecting Netscape 6? for more about the Linux distributors rejecting Netscape 6.0/6.01.)
We discussed some Linux desktop and browser issues with Holger Dyroff by phone and by e-mail. He emphasized that SuSE tries to include tools and applications the customers/users want and to give its customers/users lots of choices. In part that is why SuSE has not dropped the Netscape browser.
MozillaQuest Magazine: What is the default desktop in 7.3?
Holger Dyroff: KDE 2.2.1 and we offer Gnome 1.4 as an alternative. SuSE is a very customer driven organisation, which means we are not putting things we like on our product, but things that our customers like.
MozillaQuest Magazine: Are Mozilla or Netscape included in 7.3?
Holger Dyroff: We have included Netscape 4.78, Netscape 6.1, Mozilla 0.9.4, Konqueror and Opera and our customers should choose which one to use. As Netscape is a very popular software we don't have intention to drop support for it.
For more information about the new, SuSE Linux 7.3 operating system (OS) distribution please see SuSE Linux 7.3 Set for October 22 Release.
SuSE Linux 7.3 Shipping & Languages Issues
Have you seen different dates for the SuSE Linux 7.3 release? If so, that is because the German and U.S. version release dates are different. We asked SuSE's Holger Dryoff about that by e-mail prior to the 7.3 release.
MozillaQuest Magazine: Why is it that SuSE does not release the English language version of SuSE 7.3 until ten days after it releases the German version?
Holger Dyroff: let me explain why it needs a little bit longer for the English product and other language versions.
In principle we have four challenges:
a) Actuality (software is getting older every day and further away from the cutting edge of Linux development)
b) Translation (the documentation, the boxes and everything must be translated in the different languages and delivered to production)
c) Success (SuSE Linux is one of the most sold software products and we have 1000 pages of documentation and 7 CDs and 1 DVD and it simple needs time to produce about 200.000 packages of SuSE Linux!)
d) Prices and transportation (due to pricing issues SuSE Linux is completely produced in Germany and transportation to the US or the UK need about 3-4 days plus customs)
We try to find a compromise between these issues, one solution would be to wait until the time we have all our versions ready and everything is produced and start on one given day (would be the 25th of October as an example), but then our users would have to wait another 14 days for their SuSE Linux 7.3 in Germany! So, we simple start delivering what we have ready and that's why we have a slight time difference in the delivery dates.
Another issue is that the date in the US means the day SuSE Linux is on the shelves! And from our distributor in Minneapolis it needs another 4 days to come to the west coast!
In a telephone conversation yesterday, Holger Dyroff told MozillaQuest Magazine that the North American 7.3 boxes finally had passed through U.S. Customs, yesterday. The Minneapolis-based distributor will start shipping boxed SuSE Linux 7.3 product from Minneapolis today. Depending on delivery speeds, stores should have boxed 7.3 product on their shelves by the end of this week -- and SuSE Linux customers who pre-ordered 7.3 should be receiving their orders this week too.
Additionally, SuSE Linux 7.3 will be available in more than two languages.
MozillaQuest Magazine: "Is SuSE Linux available in other languages in addition to German and English? If so, what languages? If there are other language versions, what are the release dates for SuSE Linux 7.3 in those other languages?"
Holger Dyroff: "Yes, SuSE Linux 7.3 will be available in English, German, Spanish, Dutch, Czech and Hungarian, they will all be available before the end of October. You can install SuSE Linux in more than thirty languages such as Japanese, Russian, etc.!"
SuSE Linux 7.3 Packaging & Downloading
The two for-sale editions of SuSE 7.3 are the Personal edition (3 CDs, 3 manuals, 60 days of installation support) and SuSE Linux 7.3 Professional (7 CDs, 1 DVD, 5 manuals, 90 days of installation support).
You will not be able to download the basic, non-commercial SuSE 7.3 files, yet -- but you can buy the commercial, boxed packages now.
MozillaQuest Magazine: "What is the date for SuSE 7.3 to be available for free downloading from SuSE?
Holger Dyroff: "SuSE Linux will be downloadable from ftp.suse.com before mid of November.
Incidentally, there are different language versions of the SuSE Web site with slightly different information. There is what amounts to a German language version of the SuSE Web site and an English language version.
For more information about the English language version of SuSE Linux 7.3 and the English language SuSE 7.3 press release, please see our article SuSE Linux 7.3 Set for October 22 Release.