At first glance, Novell’s SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 (SLED 11) is virtually indistinguishable from the company’s Free/Open Source and community supported Linux distribution, openSUSE 11.1. But does SLED 11 have the extra polish and the value add to justify its position as Novell’s premier enterprise desktop OS?
From a pure technical achievement, openSUSE 11.1 is at package parity with the best Linux distributions available — such as Fedora 10 and Ubuntu Intrepid Ibex 8.10. In many ways it’s more polished, as clearly it has a lot of customization work that went into it to make it well-integrated, but at the same time, the distribution still feels like it was designed for people who know what they are doing, not for regular end-users. By trying to be a Server, Developer, and end-user Desktop platform at the same time, its target audience remains unfocused and its scope is too big. It’s now the Linux equivalent of the Swiss Army knife with 50 separate tools in it.
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