SUSE Linux

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SUSE Linux (/ˈssə/[1] or /ˈszə/;[2] German: [ˈzuːzə]) is a computer operating system. It is built on top of the open source Linux kernel and is distributed with system and application software from other open source projects. SUSE Linux is of German origin, basically an acronym of “Software und System-Entwicklung” (software and systems development), and was mainly developed in Europe. The first version appeared in early 1994, making SUSE one of the oldest existing commercial distributions. It is known for its YaST configuration tool.

Novell bought the SUSE (then "SuSE") brands and trademarks in 2003. Novell, one of the founding members of the Open Invention Network, decided to make the community an important part of their development process by opening widely the distribution development to outside contributors in 2005, creating the openSUSE distribution and the openSUSE Project. Novell employed more than 500 developers working on SUSE in 2004.[3] On 27 April 2011, Novell (and SUSE) were acquired by The Attachmate Group,[4] which made SUSE an independent business unit. Later, in October 2014, the entire Attachmate Group, including SUSE, was acquired by the British firm Micro Focus International.[5] SUSE continues to operate as an independent business unit.[6]


The developer[edit]

Gesellschaft für Software und System Entwicklung mbH (Lit. Company for Software and System Development) was founded on 2 September 1992 in Nuremberg, Germany, by Roland Dyroff, Thomas Fehr, Burchard Steinbild, and Hubert Mantel. Three of the founders were still mathematics students at a university; Fehr had already graduated and was working as a software engineer.

The original idea was that the company would develop software and function as an advisory UNIX group. According to Mantel, the group decided to distribute Linux, offering support.

Their name at founding was "S.u.S.E" and it was chosen as a German acronym for "Software und System-Entwicklung", meaning "Software and systems development". The full name has never been used, however, and the company was known as "S.u.S.E", which was shortened to "SuSE" in October 1998 and more recently, to "SUSE"[citation needed].

SUSE GEEKO official plush toy

The official logo and current mascot of the distribution is a veiled chameleon officially named, "GEEKO" (portmanteau of "Gecko" and "geek"), following a competition. As with the company's name, the "GEEKO" logo brand has evolved over time to reflect the name changes.


The company started as a service provider, which among other things regularly released software packages that included Softlanding Linux System (SLS, now defunct) and Slackware. Also, they printed UNIX/Linux manuals and they offered technical assistance. These third party products SUSE initially used had those characteristics and were managed by SUSE in different fashions:

  • In mid-1992, Peter MacDonald created the comprehensive Linux distribution known as SLS, which offered elements such as X and TCP/IP.[citation needed] This was distributed to people who wanted to get Linux via floppy disks.[6]
  • In 1993, Patrick Volkerding cleaned up the SLS Linux distribution, releasing a newer version as Slackware.
  • In 1994, in support with Patrick Volkerding, Slackware scripts were translated into German, which was marked as the first release of S.u.S.E. Linux 1.0 distribution. It was available first on floppies, and then on CDs.[6]

For building its very own distribution of Linux, S.u.S.E used the jurix distribution (now defunct) as starting point. This was created by Florian La Roche, who joined the S.u.S.E team. He began to develop YaST, the installer and configuration tool that would become the central point of the distribution.[7][8]

In 1996, the first distribution under the name S.u.S.E Linux was published as "S.u.S.E Linux 4.2". The version number has caused much discussion: it should have been just version 1.1, but using the number 4.2 was an intentional reference to the answer to the "Big Question about Life, the Universe and Everything" of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy science fiction novels by the English writer Douglas Adams. YaST's first version number, "0.42", was a similar reference.


Over time, SuSE Linux incorporated many aspects of Red Hat Linux, such as its RPM Package Manager and its file structure.

S.u.S.E. became the largest Linux distributor in Germany. In 1997, SuSE, LLC was established under the direction of President and Managing Partner James Gray in Oakland, California, which enabled the company to develop Linux markets in the Americas and Asia. While Red Hat was ubiquitous in the United States, SuSE Linux continued to grow in Germany as well as in Nordic countries such as Finland and Sweden. In October 1998, the name was changed officially to, SuSE (without dots). Linus Torvalds, the creator of the Linux kernel, used it fairly often. SuSE entered the UK in 1999.

In 2001, the company was forced to reduce its staff significantly in order to survive.


SUSE/Novell company building in Nürnberg

On 4 November 2003, Novell announced it would acquire SuSE Linux AG for $210 million.[9] The acquisition was finalized in January 2004.[10]

In a move to reach its business audience more effectively, SuSE introduced the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in 2001, and a few months before Novell's purchase, changed the company name to "SUSE Linux" .[11] "SUSE" is now a name, not an acronym.

According to J. Philips, Novell's corporate technology strategist for the Asia Pacific region, Novell would not "in the medium term" alter the way in which SUSE was developed.[12] At Novell's annual BrainShare conference in 2004, for the first time, all of their computers were run with SUSE Linux and it was announced that the proprietary SUSE administration program YaST2 would be released under the GPL license.[13]

The openSUSE Project[edit]

On 4 August 2005, Novell announced that the SUSE Professional series would become more open, with the launch of the openSUSE Project community. The software always had been open source, but openSUSE opened the development process, allowing developers and users to test and develop it. Previously, all development work had been accomplished in-house by SUSE. Version 10.0 was the first version that offered public beta testing.

SUSE Linux 10.0 included both open source and proprietary applications and retail boxed-set editions. As part of the change, YaST Online Update server access became free for all SUSE Linux users, and also for the first time, the GNOME desktop was upgraded to equal status with the traditional KDE.

Microsoft agreement[edit]

On 3 November 2006 (renewed 25 July 2011), Novell signed an agreement with Microsoft covering improvement of SUSE's ability to interoperate with Microsoft Windows, cross-promotion/marketing of both products and patent cross-licensing. The agreement is considered controversial by some in the Free Software community.[14][15]

The Attachmate Group takeover[edit]

On 22 November 2010, Novell announced that it had agreed to acquisition by The Attachmate Group for $2.2 billion. The Attachmate Group plans to operate Novell as two units with SUSE becoming a stand-alone business,[16] and it anticipates no change to the relationship between the SUSE business and the openSUSE project as a result of this transaction.[17]

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that in order to proceed with the first phase of their acquisition of certain patents and patent applications from Novell Inc., CPTN Holdings LLC and its owners would have to alter their original agreements to address the department's antitrust concerns. The department said that, as originally proposed, the deal would jeopardize the ability of open source software, such as Linux, to continue to innovate and compete in the development and distribution of server, desktop, and mobile operating systems as well as middleware and virtualization products.

Stipulations regarding the licensing the patents were:

  • All of the Novell patents will be acquired subject to the GNU General Public License, Version 2, a widely adopted open-source license, and the Open Invention Network (OIN) License, a significant license for the Linux System;
  • CPTN does not have the right to limit which of the patents, if any, are available under the OIN license; and
  • Neither CPTN nor its owners will make any statement or take any action with the purpose of influencing or encouraging either Novell or Attachmate to modify which of the patents are available under the OIN license.

The acquisition was completed on 27 April 2011.[4] Subsequently, on 23 July 2011 The Attachmate Group launched a new website for the SUSE business.

Micro Focus merger[edit]

On 20 November 2014, the Attachmate Group merged with Micro Focus to form the Micro Focus Group. SUSE is operated as a separate business unit with a dedicated product portfolio.[18]


SUSE provides a thirteen-year product life cycle for SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 & 12. For detailed EOL, EOS and EOXS (End-of-eXtended-Support) information see

SUSE distributions[edit]

Project Version Date of issue End of General Support Linux kernel version
S.u.S.E Linux


3/94 1994-03-29  ???? 1.0
7/94 1994-07  ???? 1.0.9
11/94 1994-11  ???? 1.1.62
4/95 1995-04  ???? 1.2.9
8/95 1995-08  ???? 1.1.12
11/95 1995-11  ???? 1.2.13
S.u.S.E Linux


4.2 1996-05  ???? 2.0.0
4.3 1996-09  ???? 2.0.18
4.4 1997-04  ???? 2.0.23(25?)
4.4.1 1997-04-24  ???? 2.0.28
5.0 1997-07  ???? 2.0.30
5.1 1997-10  ???? 2.0.32
5.2 1998-03-23 2000 2.0.33
5.3 1998-09-10 2000 2.0.35
SuSE Linux 6.0 1998-12-21 2000 2.0.36
6.1 1999-04-07 2001 2.2.6
6.2 1999-08-12 2001 2.2.10
6.3 1999-11-25 2001-12-10[19] 2.2.13
6.4 2000-03-09 2002-06-17[20] 2.2.14
7.0 2000-09-27 2002-11-04[21] 2.2.16
7.1 2001-04-21 2003-05-16[22] 2.2.18 / 2.4.0
7.2 2001-06-15 2003-10-01[23] 2.2.19 / 2.4.4
7.3 2001-10-13 2003-12-15[24] 2.4.9
8.0 2002-04-22 2004-06-30[25] 2.4.18
8.1 2002-09-30 2005-01-31[26] 2.4.19
8.2 2003-04-07 2005-07-14[27] 2.4.20
SUSE Linux Enterprise 9.0 2003-10-15 2005-12-15[28] 2.4.21 / 2.6.1
9.1 2004-04-23 2006-06-30[29] 2.6.4
9.2 2004-10-25 2006-10-31[30] 2.6.8
9.3 2005-04-16 2007-04-30[31] 2.6.11
10.0 2006-07-17 2007-12-31 2.6.16
10.1 2007-06-18 2008-11-30
10.2 2008-05-19 2010-04-11
10.3 2009-10-12 2011-10-11
10.4 2011-04-12 2013-07-31
11.0 2009-03-24 2010-12-31 2.6.27
11.1 2010-06-02 2012-08-31 2.6.32
11.2 2012-02-29 2014-01-31 3.0.13
11.3 2013-07-01 2016-01-31[32] 3.0.76
11.4 2015-10-13 2019-03-31 3.0.101
12.0 2014-10-10 2016-06-30 3.12
12.1 2015-12-22 2017-05-31 3.12
12.2 2016-11-08 TBD 4.4
Project Version Date of issue End of General Support Linux kernel version
  Unsupported distribution

openSUSE distributions[edit]

Name Version Codename Release date[33] End of life Kernel version
Regular[34] Evergreen[35]
SUSE Linux[36] Old version, no longer supported: 10.0 Prague 2005-10-06 2007-11-30 N/A 2.6.13
Old version, no longer supported: 10.1 Agama Lizard 2006-05-11 2008-05-31 N/A 2.6.16
openSUSE Old version, no longer supported: 10.2 Basilisk Lizard 2006-12-07 2008-11-30 N/A 2.6.18
Old version, no longer supported: 10.3 N/A 2007-10-04 2009-10-31 N/A 2.6.22
Old version, no longer supported: 11.0 N/A 2008-06-19 2010-06-26 N/A 2.6.25
Old version, no longer supported: 11.1 N/A 2008-12-18 2011-01-14 2012-04 2.6.27
Old version, no longer supported: 11.2 Emerald 2009-11-12 2011-05-12 2013-11 2.6.31
Old version, no longer supported: 11.3[37] Teal 2010-07-15 2012-01-16 N/A 2.6.34
Old version, no longer supported: 11.4[38] Celadon 2011-03-10 2012-11-05 2015-07 2.6.37
Old version, no longer supported: 12.1[39] Asparagus 2011-11-16 2013-05-15 N/A 3.1.0
Old version, no longer supported: 12.2[40] Mantis 2012-09-05 2014-01-15 N/A 3.4.6
Old version, no longer supported: 12.3[41] Dartmouth 2013-03-13 2015-01-01 N/A 3.7.10
Old version, no longer supported: 13.1[42] Bottle 2013-11-19 2016-02-03 2016-11[43] 3.11.6
Old version, no longer supported: 13.2[42] Harlequin 2014-11-04 2017-01-16 N/A 3.16.6
openSUSE Leap Old version, no longer supported: 42.1[44] Malachite 2015-11-04 2017-05-17 N/A 4.1.12
Old version, no longer supported: 42.2[45] N/A 2016-11-16 2018-01-26[46] N/A 4.4
Current stable version: 42.3[47] N/A 2017-07-26 2019-01-31 N/A 4.4
Future release: 15.0[48] N/A 2018 TBA N/A 4.14
openSUSE Tumbleweed[49] Current stable version: Rolling N/A Rolling N/A N/A Latest stable
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release

SUSE Linux Enterprise[edit]

SUSE family products[edit]

SUSE Linux is available under two brands, openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise. openSUSE is a free, community distribution driven by the openSUSE Project. It includes some of the latest "bleeding edge" Linux technologies and is designed for home users and enthusiasts. SUSE Linux Enterprise is Suse's tested and certified open-source solution for major enterprises.

openSUSE vs SUSE Linux Enterprise[edit]

openSUSE is a freely available, community project that releases versions on a comparatively frequent basis, and generally uses the latest versions of the various open source projects that it includes.

SUSE Linux Enterprise is SUSE's commercial edition, which SUSE releases much less frequently, enabling it to offer support more effectively for enterprise and production deployments. It is certified for a wide variety of enterprise applications and offers a number of special enterprise features including, High Availability and Point of Sale extensions. SUSE historically uses a heavily-tested subset of packages from openSUSE Linux as the basis for SUSE Linux Enterprise.

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server vs Desktop[edit]

SUSE offers SUSE Linux Enterprise Server and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop. Each focuses on packages that fit its specific purpose. For example, SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop does not include the Apache Web Server, and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server does not include Xgl/Compiz.

In contrast, openSUSE does not have separate distributions for server, desktop, and tablets. Rather, its repositories contain the needed software, and use installation patterns to accomplish the same.

openSUSE Linux[edit]

openSUSE is driven by the openSUSE Project community and sponsored by SUSE, to develop and maintain SUSE Linux components. It is the equivalent of the historic "SuSE Linux Professional". After their acquisition of SUSE Linux, Novell (now SUSE) has decided to make the community central to their development process.[50][51]

It has a theoretical development cycle of 8 months and a lifetime (duration of the critical updates) of 18 months from the date of release. It is fully and freely available for immediate download.

openSUSE was the sixth most popular Linux distribution for 2013 and the fourth most popular for 2014, according to DistroWatch.[52][53]

SUSE Linux Enterprise[edit]

SUSE develops multiple products for its "enterprise" business line. These business products target corporate environments, with a higher life cycle (10 years, extendable to 13), a longer development cycle (6 to 18 months), a guarantee of stability at the potential expense of development speed, technical support, and certification by independent hardware and software vendors. SUSE Linux Enterprise products are only available for sale (updates fees).

SUSE Linux Enterprise has fewer packages than the openSUSE distribution. Most of the differences are desktop applications that are more suited to consumers than to business. The enterprise products are:

  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) is a server-oriented operating system targeted at corporate environments.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Real Time is a modified version of SLES supporting low-latency operations where the time factor is critical.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop is a desktop-oriented operating system targeted at corporate environments.
  • SUSE Linux Enterprise Thin Client (SLETC) is a modified version of SLED targeted at thin client terminals.

When installed using a Linux kernel, Novell Open Enterprise Server (OES) uses SUSE Linux Enterprise Server as a platform. This product is also known as OES-Linux.

SUSE Linux Enterprise was included with VMware's vSphere licensing, up until June 25, 2014 for 'free', as noted on SUSE Partners website

SUSE Studio[edit]

SUSE's SUSE Studio product is a web interface (built with Ruby on Rails) to openSUSE's KIWI and the Open Build Service tools. It allows users to put together a custom Linux distribution graphically and to generate output including a large variety of Virtual Machine and Disk Images.

See also[edit]



  1. ^ SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 10 Demo Archived November 8, 2006, at the Wayback Machine.
  2. ^ Maria Saavedra (Executive Creative Director), Scott Worley (Director of Video Production). SUSE - Rosetta Stone (Marketing Video). Hewlett-Packard.  (, YouTube)
  3. ^ Arthur Griffith, CompTIA Linux+ Certification (Virtual Training Company, 2004)
  4. ^ a b "Novell Completes Merger with Attachmate and Patent Sale to CPTN Holdings LLC". Retrieved 28 April 2011. 
  5. ^ "Micro Focus to Buy Attachmate in $1.2 Billion Share Deal". Bloomberg L.P. 15 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014. 
  6. ^ a b c "View SUSE Through the Years". SUSE. Retrieved 10 February 2015. 
  7. ^ jurix Readme file
  8. ^ History of Jurix.
  9. ^ "Novell to acquire SuSE Linux". CNET news. Retrieved 2009-04-26. 
  10. ^ Kennedy, D. (2003). Novell's Linux buy opens road to top. Retrieved December 20, 2003.
  11. ^ "SuSE Rebrands Ahead of 9.0 Launch". Retrieved 2008-03-03. 
  12. ^ Ramesh, R. (2004). Novell: SuSE stays the same, for now. Retrieved 14 January 2004.
  13. ^ The previous YaST license allowed modification and redistribution, but not sale of the code.
  14. ^ "Microsoft, Novell Extend Controversial Partnership". Webmonkey. 2008-08-20. Retrieved 2009-11-23. 
  15. ^ "Microsoft cannot declare itself exempt from the requirements of GPLv3". Free Software Foundation. 2007-08-28. 
  16. ^ Novell Agrees to be Acquired by Attachmate Corporation, Novell, 22 November 2010, retrieved 2010-11-22 
  17. ^ Attachmate Corporation Statement on openSUSE project, Attachmate Corporation, 22 November 2010, retrieved 2010-11-23 
  18. ^ "SUSE is now part of Micro Focus | SUSE". Retrieved 2016-05-01. 
  19. ^ SuSE: Version 6.3 end-of-life announcement - The Community's Center for Security
  20. ^ [SuSE] Support fuer SuSE Linux 6.4 wird eingestellt
  21. ^ [suse-security] Supported Distributions
  22. ^ Re Discontinued 7/7.2/7.3 - msg#00105 -
  23. ^ Linux Today - End of Life for SuSE Linux 7.2, Mandrake Linux 8.2
  24. ^ Discontinued SuSE Linux Distributions []
  25. ^ End of support for SUSE 8.0 []
  26. ^ Discontinued SUSE Linux Distributions: 8.1
  27. ^ Discontinued SUSE Linux Distribution: 8.2
  28. ^ SuSE Security announcements: [suse-security-announce] Discontinued SUSE Linux Distribution: 9.0
  29. ^ Discontinued SUSE Linux Distribution: 9.1
  30. ^ Discontinued SUSE Linux Distribution: 9.2
  31. ^ SUSE Linux 9.3 security support discontinued soon
  32. ^ "Release Notes for SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 11 Service Pack 4 (SP4)". Retrieved 2015-11-27. 
  33. ^ "openSUSE Roadmap". 
  34. ^ "openSUSE Lifetime". 
  35. ^ "openSUSE Evergreen". 
  36. ^ but done by openSUSE project
  37. ^ Yunashko, Bryen (15 July 2010). "openSUSE 11.3 is here!". opensuse-announce mailing list. Retrieved 15 July 2010. 
  38. ^ "Portal 11.4: openSUSE 11.4 was released on Thursday the 10th of March 2011". 
  39. ^ "Portal 12.1: openSUSE 12.1 has been released on Wednesday, the 16th of November 2011". 
  40. ^ "Portal 12.2: openSUSE 12.2 has been released on Wednesday September 5th 2012". 
  41. ^ "Portal 12.3: openSUSE 12.3 has been released on Wednesday, March 13, 2013". 
  42. ^ a b "Supported Regular distributions". 
  43. ^ "Evergreen EOL". 
  44. ^ "Release Notes openSUSE 42.1". 
  45. ^ "Optimal Release for Linux Professionals Arrives with openSUSE Leap 42.2". November 16, 2016. 
  46. ^ "[security-announce] openSUSE Leap 42.2 has reached end of SUSE support". 
  47. ^ "OpenSUSE Roadmap". April 28, 2017. 
  48. ^ "openSUSE Leap's Next Major Version Number". April 28, 2017. 
  49. ^ "Tumbleweed". 
  50. ^ Toulas, Bill (2012-01-23). "Interview with Jos Poortvliet from SUSE". Archived from the original on 2012-05-09. Retrieved 2016-02-06. 
  51. ^ "openSUSE:Factory development model - openSUSE". Retrieved 2012-10-30. 
  52. ^ "DistroWatch home page". DistroWatch. 2014-01-07. Retrieved 2014-01-07. 
  53. ^ "DistroWatch home page". DistroWatch. 2015-01-21. Retrieved 2015-01-21. 



External links[edit]