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SuSE Businesses Linux Business IT

A CIO's View of SUSE's Enterprise Viability 184

Posted by Zonk
from the can-stay-out-of-the-fridge-for-quite-a-while dept.
onehitwonder writes "As part of an ongoing quest to find a viable alternative to the Microsoft desktop in the enterprise, well-known healthcare CIO John Halamka spent a month using Novell SUSE 10 as his sole operating system. His conclusion? It's good enough for the enterprise. In Windows vs. Linux vs. OS X: CIO John Halamka Tests SUSE, he explains how SUSE stacks up against RHEL, Fedora, XP and OS X (in a life-critical business environment), and which issues should influence an enterprise-class organization to adopt it."
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A CIO's View of SUSE's Enterprise Viability

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  • by nz17 (601809) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @09:45PM (#19624641) Homepage
    We've had everyone from HardOCP to grandmas post their opinion on the "best desktop system" issue, but I think someone with not only workers and an enterprise on the line, but the life-and-death of people on his hands, is really going to give an honest opinion. He doesn't want deaths on his hands either directly or from his recommendations. I think everyone reading this post should give the article at least a cursory glance before jumping to their own opinions.
    • I think it's telling that he was originally gunshy about Linux because of his previous exerience with Fedora and Red Hat. The constant problem (as far as mass adoption goes) with Linux is that there are too many versions running around. It's time to thin the herd.
      • by jlarocco (851450)

        I think it's telling that he was originally gunshy about Linux because of his previous exerience with Fedora and Red Hat. The constant problem (as far as mass adoption goes) with Linux is that there are too many versions running around. It's time to thin the herd.

        I completely disagree. There are a lot of problems with Linux, but too many "versions" isn't one of them.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Maxwell (13985)
          If you build your own PC's and put up screenshots on your desktop on your website, then it's 'fun' to have dozens of versions of everything. If you are a CIO, it's a pain in the ass and a huge, huge, problem with Linux adoption.

          You gave no reason for you assertion that multiple versions is not a problem, but allow me give you some for reasons for why it is:
          # You can't even use "linux" because there really is no such thing.
          # And you can't hire Linux people because there is no Linux people, there are Fedor
          • by Jane_Dozey (759010) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @12:50AM (#19625585)
            In a corporate environment one enterprise distro will be used and the same software loaded onto each desktop. That means no problems with directory structures, libs, DE's or really much else. Everyone in the company will be using the same thing, much like they are with windows (can you really see the IT dept letting users choose between windows versions?).

            The company doesn't care about whether there's a "linux" or not. They're using RHEL/SuSE/whatever not this mysterious "Linux". I think you'll find a whole lot of "Linux people" disagreeing with you there. Every single Linux admin I've ever met has used lots of different distros and knows the quirks of each one. The company will hire people who can do the job on the system used, not those who don't.

            A *good* Linux admin will know whether they can use the system or not and apply for jobs accordingly. A bad admin might try and wing it but hey, they're a bad admin and should never had been hired in the first place.

            At the enterprise level there are very few options. I can currently think of 2 off the top of my head: RHEL and SuSE. These are what companies will be using and these are what they will be advertising jobs for, so no, at the enterprise level multiple versions really aren't such a problem.
            But what if more enterprise distros appear? I still don't see a problem. The IT market has a habit of having it's top 2 or 3 choices and a multitude of alternatives. IT managers will be using the top 2 or 3 and pretty much ignoring everything else unless they get good enough to topple one of the current leaders, in which case there's still only 2 or 3.

            It's only really when you get down to individuals and their home desktops that it becomes more difficult...
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by mrsteveman1 (1010381)
              RHEL and Suse are the exception, everything else is forked to infinity.

              Heres an example, I have a production server I need to run VMware server on, if my running kernel doesn't exactly match one of the 50+ modules VMware was nice enough to compile and include (wasting their time), I have to keep a build toolchain on a production server just to install the kernel module. That is not acceptable.

              We don't need forks of everything just to change one small part of the system, we don't need 2 package formats, we d
              • [Honest questions]Can't you build the kernel module on a test server and upload it to the production server? Besides, if you really need to run VMware on your production server wouldn't that be something you'd research before building the server?[/Honest questions]

                I know there are always corner cases, but it seems to me like most of this kind of Q&A has already been answered. Anyways, choice and competition are one of open source software's greatest strengths; weakness is all to often a product of defi

              • by init100 (915886)

                Heres an example, I have a production server I need to run VMware server on, if my running kernel doesn't exactly match one of the 50+ modules VMware was nice enough to compile and include (wasting their time), I have to keep a build toolchain on a production server just to install the kernel module. That is not acceptable.

                Then why not keep a test machine with exactly the same configuration as the production server? This could have the build toolchain installed, and you could just transfer the modules to the production server.

                Actually, I'm surprised that you don't already do this, as competent admins usually do.

              • I see no advantage to having this many Linux systems at once, I do see plenty of problems.

                So rather than fix the real problem (too many possible configurations in production use), you would have me use a test box which is currently being used to test things.... it isn't a stable build environment, nor does it perfectly match the running server, that's why its a test box and not a hot spare. So in addition to having a test server which i use all the time, i should keep a perfect copy of the production server
            • by thynk (653762)
              The company doesn't care about whether there's a "linux" or not. They're using RHEL/SuSE/whatever not this mysterious "Linux". I think you'll find a whole lot of "Linux people" disagreeing with you there. Every single Linux admin I've ever met has used lots of different distros and knows the quirks of each one. The company will hire people who can do the job on the system used, not those who don't.

              A *good* Linux admin will know whether they can use the system or not and apply for jobs accordingly. A bad adm
              • The biggest difference on *NIX flavours I've used has been init systems. The first *NIX I used was Red Had (4.something), which used SysV init. I moved to FreeBSD just after it started using RCng and now use OpenBSD which still uses the classic BSD init system. I also use OS X (Launchd) and Solaris (SMF) which are both very different.

                Beyond that, man hier is a huge help and everything else boils down to minor difference (missing / extra options on a few POSIX commands). If someone can't move from one *

            • by Maxwell (13985)
              "Pick one" works only if you have no other applications to support. Think bigger.

              If I standardize on one desktop, or roll my own, I don't get support from any vendor that does not support my desktop. Further, some of the distros are server or desktop only. If the CIO uses Oracle Linux for his Oracle servers, great. But Novell does not support Oracle Linus, only Suse. So I have some oracle and some suse. And some desktop tools use Gnome, which means they work best on Redhat. Gee, we are up to three already.
          • Hmmm, I read there are about three distros he is trying out Red Hat, Suse, and Ubuntu. You can say that he also tried Fedora, but I'm pretty sure he tried them both as a matter of evaluating Red Hat.

            Funny thing here is he is testing out the Linux systems that have already proven themselves in the corporate world, they are sold by both Dell and Sun-Microsystems. Basically, these systems are standards, they are ubiquitous and they are being recognized as such. It's multiple versions that are driving them to

          • by jgrahn (181062)

            And you can't hire Linux people because there is no Linux people, there are Fedora, RHEL, Suse, Ubuntu, Kubuntu, BSD, FreeBSd,Openbsd people, etc, etc. And the "linux" crowd tends to rush off on whatever the latest trend is, remember when Caldera Open Linux was trendy? Now it's Ubuntu, whoops, Kubuntu, whoops, linspire, whoops now back to Fedora. Like little kids running after the shiniest candy.

            And no they are not all 'the same'. They have wildly different directory structures, gui, lib version, kernel ve

          • by init100 (915886)

            Sorry, but multiple versions is holding Linux back at the enterprise level

            Why is this only a problem for Linux? <sarcasm>Wouldn't it be better if there were only one or two manufacturers for cellphones, computer hardware, tv sets, cars, shoes, food, etc? It is so tedious to choose, why cannot the other manufacturers just go away and die, so that I won't have to choose which one to buy? Monopolies are A Good Thing.</sarcasm>

          • by Patoski (121455)
            If you build your own PC's and put up screenshots on your desktop on your website, then it's 'fun' to have dozens of versions of everything. If you are a CIO, it's a pain in the ass and a huge, huge, problem with Linux adoption.

            Go read most recent surveys about why the enterprises are considering / deploying Linux. The biggest reason given is that with Linux, they don't have to rely on one vendor, like they do for MS. This is basic business sense, don't rely on one vendor unless you have to for anything b
        • by Ngarrang (1023425)

          I think it's telling that he was originally gunshy about Linux because of his previous exerience with Fedora and Red Hat. The constant problem (as far as mass adoption goes) with Linux is that there are too many versions running around. It's time to thin the herd.

          I completely disagree. There are a lot of problems with Linux, but too many "versions" isn't one of them.

          One of the complaints is about USB device support. This distro may have it good, but the next doesn't. If the combined labor of the Linux distros were put behind just a few, this complaint would disappear. It is possible to have too many distros.

      • by gweihir (88907) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @10:28PM (#19624895)
        It's time to thin the herd.

        I don't agree. The differences are of an other type than the ones between, e.g., versions of Windows. First thing is that the "look and feel" is really not tied to the distribution. Whether I run fvwm2 on top of Suse, RedHat, Debian, etc. does not matter much for its look and feel. That is almost completey determined by my .fvwm2rc file. Second thing is that hardware support (i.e. kernel) is again not tied to the distribution. I am running Debain with a stock kernel.org kernel with my own config. I did the same before with Suse. Not a problem. Third thing is that the rest of the OS is again not tied to the distro. Practically everything can be changed or customized. Same is true for the applications. Which distro I run an application on makes very little difference. The most difference makes the window-manager, but that is an application in itself and not distribution specific.

        The thing that does matter is support and updates. These can be very different from distro to distro. This is also the point that becomes very important in professional adoption. Of course Linux has all the advantages here, since MS support is really very, very bad. For Linux you not only can get better support. You can have your own people do it on every level. Or buy the support from a lot of different poeple, with just the quality level you need. And if one support offer cannot cut it, moving to another one is a very real option.

        And if you do not use the vendor-support, the distribution becomes even less important. Of course a large organization will need to hier a few Linux gurus in a move to Linux. But the potential gains are staggering.
         
        • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @12:53AM (#19625595) Homepage

          since MS support is really very, very bad

          I have a live version of Kubuntu running on a machine downstairs. I could install the live version to test that hardware, network compatibility and that it could find the shared network printer and backup drives. It didn't cost anything and the few minor problems resolved online. Actually, there weren't any problems, all I had to look up were some installation instructions. Didn't need to buy anything, call anyone, wait for anything. Tomorrow I can install it if everything else checks out. What risk am I taking adding that OS to my network?

          Microsoft support, like Dell's support, used to be THE reason to stay with Windows on Dell hardware. But lately they've both let their support slide. There's no reason to stay with them. There's no risk trying Linux. You can test everything before committing. And it doesn't cost...how much are MSFT service calls going for these days?

          • On a practical level, we know this is fine. But in business, people higher up the food chain like to know that their business can continue to operate in the future without risk of an IT failure. They typically do this by employing an outside company to "support" the product; by "support" however, they actually just want someone to blame/sue if things go badly wrong.

            So whilst *we* know that Kubuntu (or whatever) will likely be very solid and reliable, and any future problems will be resolved by the communi
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          The thing that does matter is support and updates. These can be very different from distro to distro. This is also the point that becomes very important in professional adoption. Of course Linux has all the advantages here, since MS support is really very, very bad. For Linux you not only can get better support. You can have your own people do it on every level. Or buy the support from a lot of different poeple, with just the quality level you need. And if one support offer cannot cut it, moving to another
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by WindBourne (631190)
          Of course Linux has all the advantages here, since MS support is really very, very bad.

          If is funny, but I got modded down for that a couple of days ago. But you are 100% correct. MS has more an 100 billion dollars in the bank, and are still whining for customers. Yet, if they had spent even a fraction of that on boosting support (and had spent a couple of more billions on development), then this blog would NOT have happened. The CIO would be judging Linux against a superior OS, rather than a peer with man

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by init100 (915886)

            As to thinning the herd, that would be the biggest mistake.

            Fortunately, that is simply not possible. Nobody has a mandate to declare that only a few distros can exist, and distro maintainers have to answer to no one guy. They can happily continue to maintain their distro forever, giving the "we must thin the herd" crowd the raised middle finger.

      • by ozmanjusri (601766) <aussie_bob@NOsPam.hotmail.com> on Saturday June 23, 2007 @10:29PM (#19624901) Journal
        It's time to thin the herd.

        So don't use the bad distros, and do support the good ones.

        It's called "competition" and while it's been absent from the OS space for a long time, it's what drives innovation in capitalist economies.

        Look, this dumb meme gets trotted out at just about every discussion of Linux. It's dumb because:

        • Linux is free. That means anyone can make their own distro. Even if you were right (which you're not), there's bugger-all you can do about it.
        • Having plenty of competing distros encourages distributors to keep improving their versions.
        • Because of the copyleft provisions of the GPL, improvements in one distro can be adopted by all other distros. That means if one distributor fails (like Corel did), their efforts are not lost to the community
        • Having specialised versions of Linux filling dozens of different niches means it's that much harder for an aggressive and predatory competitor to "fucking kill" all of them.
        It's great that SuSe is able to fill the corporate desktop niche, but I'd still prefer to use Sabayon for gaming, Puppy on my pen drive, SME on a small server, Debian on a big one, Ophcrack for rescuing Windows users who've forgotten passwords, etc, etc, etc.

        There's plenty more reasons this meme is dumb and dangerous. Try thinking of a few yourself, preferably before posting next time.

        • It's great that SuSe is able to fill the corporate desktop niche, but I'd still prefer to use Sabayon for gaming, Puppy on my pen drive, SME on a small server, Debian on a big one, Ophcrack for rescuing Windows users who've forgotten passwords, etc, etc, etc.

          That's exactly my point right there. Sure IT guys might think that your list was a great sign of how well versed you are, but to the people who run companies that aren't IT guys you look like a disorganized gear head. I'm not saying that the advanta
          • by Ajehals (947354) <a.halsall@pirateparty.org.uk> on Sunday June 24, 2007 @08:42AM (#19627293) Homepage Journal
            So are companies currently running a single windows flavour on everything? No they may run XP on their desktops (Probably a few 2K, NT or 98 boxes left for some application that doesn't like XP), Vista on some of the laptops (Sales need the latest gizmo's). Windows 2k or 2k3 server (Or more likely a mixture) on their internal servers (if they are a windows shop). A *nix on their web servers, whatever OS is in their managed routers (with its own management applications), PalmOS on their PDA's, Symbian on their Phones, Mac OS on their Graphic designers Powebooks.. Its hardly a monoculture.

            With Linux you could get closer though, you could be running Dabian on all your desktops, Laptops and servers, And then Debian derivatives on your routers (well maybe...), PDA's and Phones... I haven't seen Linux specifically for switches but it may get there... - you could really get to the point where our entire IT infrastructure is based on the same code base, but still role specific (i.e. you are not going tobe running KDE on your servers or your PDA's - the kernel or each type of device is going to be different).

            So as an enterprise you could have a license free (and therefore license cost free - no extra software costs associated with growth...) environment, total compatibility between everything (Your PDA works seamlessly with your desktop scheduling and mail software and happily mounts NFS shares to sync documents.. (I do that at home - never done it in a corporate environment))
            All updates and patches come from a single source, or can be aggregated into a single source using the same methods (you can run your own internal repositories and manage all your application maintenance - not just the OS and some applications (ala Windows) No more having a SUS server, a Anti-Virus Update Server and a million small updating systems and scripts..)

            I guess what I mean is that Linux is as diverse as you need it to be, but that diversity can be harnesed and standardised standardised... Its easy to create policies and procedures to manage and maintain Linux environments, (and to automate that management) in a way that isn't possible with windows.

            The obvious caveat with all this is that you obviously (as a large company) cannot just install the latest release of Ubuntu on your desktops, the latest version of PCLinuxOS on your laptops, Red Hat on your servers, some OE Linux flavour on your PDA's, Phones, switches, and Routers and just expect stuff to work. You need to think about it first, design a good system and then implement it well.

            So does that sound like the ramblings of a gear head? I would assume I would use about 4 different distributions (All derived from Debian), plus probably different versions of those distributions (stable / unstable) across the enterprise. Every Specific role would have a base image (including as much software as possible that as common to sub roles (i,e, Common Drivers, X, a DM, NFS Client, Office and productivity software on the Desktops, Common Divers, Tripwire, SSH maybe NFS on the servers ). Fro these you derive your environment... All very neat, simple and safe.

            Oh and you have all the code so the vendor cannot harm you by going bust.
            Oh and you have your own update servers so they cannot be denied to you.
            Oh and you can change where you get your updates from, as other distributions will use the same code.
            Oh and you can make your own changes to your applications if you need to and have the resources.

            I cannot think of anything that offers these kind of possibilities except Linux/BSD. but correct me if I am wrong.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by shlashdot (689477)
        "It's time to thin the heard"

        no, it's time to develop a decent groupware solution.
      • The herd is already thin enough.

        IT people in big corps know that the gem in town is Red Hat, SuSE and perhaps Mandriva or Ubuntu depending on the situation.

        Smaller companies that will provide their own in house support can opt for Debian or perhaps Slackware.

        Anybody else should be free to try anything that is being produced, but it is a false economy not to have options. The last thing I want to see is freedom of choice killed in Linux.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Ant P. (974313)
      One of the things that might've put him off Windows is the EULA clause near the bottom stating "NOT SUITABLE FOR CRITICAL SYSTEMS INCLUDING NUCLEAR REACTORS, LIFE SUPPORT" etc.
      • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @10:19PM (#19624829) Homepage
        He's not running a nuclear reactor -- or a hospital. He's just doing email and typical business person stuff. Nobody lets a CIO do potentially dangerous or important things.
        • He's not running a nuclear reactor -- He's just doing email and typical business person stuff. Nobody lets a CIO do potentially dangerous or important things.

          Oh, I just hate to quote the fine article but:

          That summer, Halamka had embarked on a quest to find a viable alternative to the Microsoft desktopfed up as he was with Windows instability.

          It's kind of like ... unsafe at any speed.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Daychilde (744181)
            "It's kind of like ... unsafe at any speed."

            And if you go read up on the history (as opposed to the 'popular knowledge') of the item you reference, you might be surprised at how much that really applies.

            Tip: The car in question wasn't nearly as unsafe as it was made out to be - there was a lot of hype involved. That's true here. Not only of Windows, but also Linux and Mac. Some overhyping of the good points, and some overhyping of the bad points...
          • Well Twitter, (Score:5, Informative)

            by ColdWetDog (752185) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @12:09AM (#19625383) Homepage
            I'm glad you read the article. Now go back and work on reading comprehension. He's looking for a desktop OS replacement. I've worked in health care for over 20 years and desktop computers don't run health critical systems.

            Desktop computers ("PCs" in the vernacular) run things like, please excuse me if this raises your blood pressure, Microsoft Office, Windows Explorer, Outlook and Bugs Bunny wallpapers. The critical systems typically use an embedded OS (ventilators and other machines that go "ping") or they run some UNIX variant (CTs, MRIs).

            I'm trying desperately to get our small hospital off of XP. All we run are the above "productivity" apps and a bizarre VT100 terminal program that talks to the billing / order entry / lab system. Any reasonable Linux system would be fine except that company that runs the back end system won't allow anything but this oddball emulator to talk to their system. (Don't even think of VMware or similar - that's much too complex for them).

            But anyway, don't have a heart attack if you see the green and blue wavy fields on the screen at your local ER. It won't shock you.

            • I'm trying desperately to get our small hospital off of XP.

              Then we both agree with Halamka that Windoze is suitable for neither critical systems nor desktops in a hospital. That was my point, so you might want to work on your own reading comprehension skills, coldwetdog

              I'll go a step further and say that Windoze is an accident waiting to happen, however you use it. It's surprising how annoying a botnet can be on your network and how such non critical systems, like the door opener to surgery, can be

        • He's not running a nuclear reactor -- or a hospital. He's just doing email and typical business person stuff. Nobody lets a CIO do potentially dangerous or important things.
          John is also an Emergency Medicine MD, so his business stuff is potentially dangerous and important. Actually, he is a programmer too. And he has a Masters in informatics from MIT.
        • I dunno. CIO's tend to pick mail systems, trouble ticket systems, and do departmental hiring. The damage they can do is pretty serious in any environment: in a hospital where the budget masters are often not as technically sophisticated as those at a fundamentally technological company, these decisions can ruin careers and cost lives as systems fail at awful moments, or lead to stunningly unstable workarounds.

          Not that this one is incompetent, but I've discussed IT issues with physicians: one of them always
    • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Gawd this is getting to be an old and annoying discussion.

      The typical home user does three things:
      1. Instant messaging
      2. Email
      3. Surf the Internet

      Once the typical user realizes that these tasks can be easily performed on any number of OS's, that they have a choice, there will be some movement away from MS Windows for these people.

      Not that it matters that much to MS because most of their profits are derived from corporate customers.

      Corporations have a fourth requirement, standardized information exchange
      • by NeverVotedBush (1041088) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @12:24AM (#19625447)
        I won't name where I work, but it is pretty big - over 12,000 employees - and they are seriously considering dropping Windows to switch to Linux. Vista is not considered suitable, the cost is huge per seat, and they figure that as long as they are retraining the workforce to use something, it might as well be something that is cheaper, more secure, and more reliable.

        I know people will say that the TCO might be higher but in the long run, is it really? Once you get people moved over and used to it, and after a few new versions of OS where MS keeps gouging but Linux stays free, there is a point where the cost drops drastically comparitively. We don't have so many trained to support Linux yet, but that's coming.

        Bye MS.
        • I recently talked to the "C level" folks at a large state-owned mobile carrier in a developing country. They've got somewhere north of 50,000 employees and are ACTIVELY excising M$ products from their desktop environment (it has never really been used as a server there since their infrastructure is unix-based). They cited the upgrade-itis of Microsoft and the constant march of new hardware to deal with the growing bloat. They figure they can get longer life cycles out of hardware and enjoy (at least for
    • Glad you remembered us!

      -- Brian Boyko
      -- Gramma's HardOCP Contributor
    • The "not sure personally"... statement gives me pause.

      Look, I like (to a point, which is when RMS starts screaming it's GNU/Linux) Linux, it's great for certain applications, and fun to tinker with. However, having just been subjected to two months of intensive Health Care (hospitalized, multiple IV), and spent several of those weeks in a major research hospital (high-tech to the gills, MD/PhD's poking me daily), I really don't want to see something like that deployed until each critical app has been shown
  • by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @09:54PM (#19624685)
    If anybody knows about medical tech, they do NOT run "laptops" or desktops on critical equipment.

    The life-maintaining equipment runs only secure hardware, with mathematically proven code, and fiber-optic links for isolation (to prevent electrocution hazards). There was even a heart monitor someone made and posted to /. , and it would have likely killed someone as it had them hooked up to a computer serial port.

    SuSE will NOT run on the dangerous equipment. It will run on the network as a "online chart". Many people should be against that as well, for altogether different reasons. This is somewhat critical, as most med groups run paper charts just in case..
    • by twitter (104583)

      uname -a on one of GE's latest generation of CT scanners reports a version of Red Hat. Diagnosing cancer may not be as life critical as an EKG, but it's not something you want to have crash or degrade over time or have some kind of file quirk that screws up images.

      • And a lot of the MRI systems are IRIX, with an increasing use of Linux. Laptops and desktops are critical at the nursing stations and doctor's offices as well, for medical record and prescription management.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    When it comes to sex, nerds everywhere claim that an inflatable doll is "good enough".
     
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2007 @10:11PM (#19624781)

    well-known healthcare CIO John Halamka
    Most well known for being the responsible guy for one of the biggest hospital IT failures on the books. All hospital systems out for 4 days? What kind of good CIO has that kind of failure on his watch?

    See http://www.medical-journals.com/r0313.htm [medical-journals.com]
    • Coincidence perhaps, but right at the beginning of the story is this line:
      That summer, Halamka had embarked on a quest to find a viable alternative to the Microsoft desktop--fed up as he was with Windows' instability.
      • by DogDude (805747)
        That summer, Halamka had embarked on a quest to find a viable alternative to the Microsoft desktop--fed up as he was with Windows' instability.

        Yeah, and after I read that, this guy lost all credibility in my eyes. As a non-Windows admin (not even an IT person), I have no idea how people manage to make Windows 2000+ "unstable".
        • Patching is a nightmare of unintended consequences, the GUI is very often on the way of what the machines hould be really doing.

          Bizarre dependencies.

          Applications locking up the machine.

          Sorry, but that just does not happen in Linux and UNIX land.
    • What kind of good CIO has that kind of failure on his watch?

      One that's using Windows? He seems wiser than you think as he's now trying to find an alternative. This month it's SuSE, then he'll be testing Ubuntu next, in July. From TFA:

      That summer, Halamka had embarked on a quest to find a viable alternative to the Microsoft desktopfed up as he was with Windows instability. [...] They suggested he try SUSE [...] and Ubuntu. So he did. Keep reading to find out what Halamka thinks of Novells SUSE Enterpri

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Most well known for being the responsible guy for one of the biggest hospital IT failures on the books. All hospital systems out for 4 days? What kind of good CIO has that kind of failure on his watch?
      In this case, one who inherited a broken network architecture from a previous CIO and was denied funding to fix it until it was too late. I know; I was there.
    • "Most well known for being the responsible guy for one of the biggest hospital IT failures on the books"

      Yea, and he was personally responciple for the outage, not.

      "On that date, a researcher at the hospital who was sharing data with colleagues inadvertently flooded the network with large quantities of data, causing it to slow drastically"

      "The problem had to do with a system called spanning tree protocol [bnug.org], which finds the most efficient way to move information through the network and blocks alternate
    • What kind of good CIO has that kind of failure on his watch?

      ``Being a well known industry screwup can make you more employable.'' ``It's one of those things you're not meant to know'' ---Dogbert
  • One point in the article alleges tha MS knows that it must no cooperate with Linux. This is a silly notion. From what I can tell, the major reason that corporate does not have experience with other OS is because MS sets up the playing field so that it is expensive to do so. For instance, I believe that a customer has to pay for each machine at the location, even if it runs no MS products. Likewise, your agreement to non optional audits insures that any non MS hardware must be defended, and MS can put pr
  • by NoGenius (976447) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @10:24PM (#19624871)
    The author of the summary is flat wrong when he says the conclusion was "ready for the enterprise". If you actually RTFA the exact words were: "Though he personally is pleased with the OS, Halamka is not so sure he'd deploy it widely in his organization." Incredible that the poster of this article actually gets the conclusion 100% wrong. Biases like this is why nobody trusts technology people for an opinion of the readiness of new technology.
    • Exactly......from the article: "For your average administrator or manager who is very comfortable with Windows 95, 98 and XP, it might be a little bit of a leap," he [Halamka] adds."
    • His real opinion is this:

      The X60 running Novell SUSE is the first Linux laptop I have used that is good enough to be my only computing device,

      That is astounding after only one month of use. Most users take years to shake bad old M$ habits and almost as long to learn which of the dozens of free packages is their favorite for any given task. Most people want their Windoze safety blanket for a year or so. This kind of endorsement is ringing - he's saying that he could do without Windoze tomorrow, foreve

    • "It feels well-integrated and well-supported enough to be used in selected circumstances in my organization, but I don't know enough about the remote management tools and capabilities for it"

      "He would consider running Novell SUSE on kiosks used exclusively for browsing the Web in CareGroup's hospitals. He also thinks it would be fine for early adopters of new technology who are willing to adapt to slightly different user interfaces and experiences"

      His conclusion? Its NOT ready... (Score:4, Informative
  • by itsjpr (16533) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @10:40PM (#19624965) Homepage
    I've used SUSE 9.3-10.2 on a lightweight Dell laptop for the last 3.5 years. My experience was nearly identical, down the wifi connection issue after suspend and the work around. :)

    I've used SUSE for a while. They pulled me away from RedHat with SUSE 9.0. It was the first linux I used that just worked after being installed. I didn't have to jigger with crap. RedHat lost me when they decided to put the desktop user in second place. I've used Linux exclusively for home and office for the past 5 years and it's been SUSE that made it enjoyable.

    Too bad Novell felt the need to lick Balmer's d*** last fall. The best thing that could happen to the computing world is *not* greater compatibility between Linux and Windows. Windows is on its way disappearing into the ether. At the moment it fast becoming just a crappy API that can run (safely) in a VM to support the odd application that's not got a functional duplicate on Linux (eg. IE for testing web pages and some of the corporate crapware clients (oracle)). Too bad Hovispan forgot to read the judgment from the MS monopoly trial and pay attention to ever other poor bastard that thought they could dance with the devil.
    • Too bad Hovispan forgot to read the judgment from the MS monopoly trial and pay attention to ever other poor bastard that thought they could dance with the devil.

      He does not really think M$ is co-operating with Novel and is close to fed up with Outlook/Exchange:

      Halamka notes that the problem he encountered with Evolution isnt due to any inherent flaws in the e-mail application; Evolution just doesnt work well as a front end to Exchange, he says. The fact that a Microsoft product doesnt play nicely with

      • I think he's catching on very well for a big dog. Most of us would be very happy with a boss this open and clued.

        Yeah, John is a great boss. And he is very technical. In addition to his MD he has a degree in informatics from MIT and has written books about healthcare informatics, programming and unix system administration. [amazon.com] Also, if you happen to suffer from mushroom poisoning, he is your man. [harvard.edu] John is also the CIO of the Harvard Medical School. Here is a word doc of his CV. [harvard.edu]

    • by houghi (78078)
      Do not forget he tested SLED, not openSUSE, which is the product you have used. It used to be called S.u.S.E, the SuSE, then SUSE and now openSUSE. SUSE is now 100% for SLES and SLED.

      One of the main differences is that openSUSE updutes are free and will be available for 2 years. SUSE ones you need to pay and are available for 5 years. Pretty importand for a company, I would say,
  • by Venik (915777) on Saturday June 23, 2007 @11:37PM (#19625223)
    Here are some of the recent impressions from someone who just had to deploy a 120-node SLES 9 cluster, shortly followed by an 80-node RHEL 4 cluster. This is not scientific research, so here is my unscientific professional opinion: both RHEL and Suse are a royal pain the ass to install, configure and maintain.

    I have over a decade of Unix sysadmin experience (Solaris, AIX, HP-UX, IRIX) and about five years Linux experience (Red Hat and SuSE primarily). To give you an idea of my personal preferences and my unbiased nature: my personal laptop runs Solaris 10; my work laptop runs Suse 10; my home PC is a Windows XP Pro; my work desktop #1 is RHEL 4 WS; desktop #2 is Suse 9.1; and desktop #3 is a Sun Blade running Solaris 10.

    So what is my problem with Linux? I like Suse as a desktop system. It's easier to configure and re-configure then Red Hat, mostly thanks to Yast and some logical organization of things. I am not a GUI sysadmin: I live inside Korn shell. Still, having a well-organized GUI is useful because you just can't remember everything.

    All the little annoying things, which I can deal with on my laptop or desktop, are multiplied to obscene proportions in a large cluster. Scali and Yast apparently don't like each other; there are strange transient NFS problems having something to do with large file support; patching is more complicated then it has to be with RHEL and absolutely infuriating with SLES.

    I don't want to go into all the bugs and idiosyncrasies of the two leading enterprise linuxes, the bottom line is: you want reliability and performance - stick with the big 'nixes and leave Linux to ripen a bit more. You want a desktop, then go with Linux, if Windows is not your cup of tea. But be prepared to catch heavy flak from your former Windows users.

    There is no such thing as a "typical user". Rather there are typical tasks. Web browsing, emailing, text messaging are all trivial things you can do with most modern operating systems. Or can you? How many of your users ran into problems with video and sound using a Linux desktop? Why don't Java applets in Web pages never seem to work right under Solaris? Why does a thousand other things go wrong?

    Is Linux more buggy than Windows? I don't think so, but many of my users do. They are switching from Windows to Linux - not their choice to begin with - and, being already used to all the Windows problems, they find Linux bugs to be new and worth complaining about. A lot. I have Suse 10 running on my laptop PERFECTLY. Everything works right: video, sound, wireless, card reader, volume buttons and all the other little things that usually annoy Linux users. But it wasn't easy getting there and it has to be if Linux is ever going to squeeze Windows market share. Not every PC user is a Unix sysadmin and they don't have to be.
    • For a desktop your on your own with no fancy gui tools with Solaris. As a server it kicks ass and I agree.

      I was going to say Ubuntu works well with almost any piece of hardware compared to most distros. I know OpenSuSE does not even have proprietary drivers which maybe causing issues on your desktops. With Ubuntu it supports proprietary drivers so more hardware works correctly.

      But as the article says the CIO is convinced its the hardware and not the software which made his experience with SuSE.
    • for a more typical windows-like experience in linux distros (w/r/t windows users, anyway,) you really want to be looking at ubuntu-based distros (ubuntu, kubuntu, xubuntu, etc): all those video/sound probs w/ webpages (as well as java apps etc) are unbelievably easy to solve (very literally between 4 and 5 lines of apt-get tomfoolery).

      server-side, PHB's like RHEL/SuSE EL for the corporate "support" warm and fuzzy, but I've found FreeBSD and Solaris to be the way to go (particularly w/ Solaris 10's improved
  • Guys, I am yet to be convinced about SUSE's viability. It might be stable, secure and the like according to the reviewer...but I'm not convinced its main configuration tool (YaST2) is any better than before. You see, one changes one simple thing and the tool has to go through re-creating [all] configuration files...wasting time...not to mention its slow response time!

    The placement of GNOME as the default desktop environment does not help matters either. This is not an endorsement of KDE either. But I hear

  • Actually ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Kristoph (242780) on Sunday June 24, 2007 @12:38AM (#19625519)
    The conclusion of the article is that:

    Though he personally is pleased with the OS, Halamka is not so sure he'd deploy it widely in his organization.

    Although he apparently thought much more of SuSE then he did of RedHat, which is covered in this article:

    http://www.cio.com/article/41140 [cio.com]

    Incidentally, in that article (which is the actual comparison) he says the best OS is Mac OS X, although his favorite piece of hardware is a Dell?!?

    ]{
  • Here we have a study buy a highly technical CIO that claims that SUSE Linux is an acceptable enterprise OS. This is bunk. Any solid technical person can use any OS and make it work.

    Show me a study where a non-technical standard business user is successfully using SUSE for 30 days as their only OS, and suddenly you got my interest.
    • "Show me a study where a non-technical standard business user is successfully using SUSE for 30 days as their only OS, and suddenly you got my interest"

      I've sat non-technical Windows user down in front of this dual boot Win/SuSE/KDE box and they can't tell the difference. Start menu, browser, word processer, email, media player, they can't tell the difference.

      was: Re:This Article Is Heavily Flawed
  • Halamka Halamka Halamka Halamka Halamka .... Come on everyone, it's getting better as you keep saying it.

    Halamka Halamka Halamka Halamka Halamka Halamka Halamka Halamka Halamka Halamka Halamka ...
  • Suse dropped the ball for 10.2. The software management and update stuff is slow in 10.0. But in 10.2 it is extremely slow. I don't know about 10.1 (seems the suse support people claim 10.2 is an improvement over 10.1, and they are aware of the problem - this was when I submitted a bug to complain).

    Maybe 10.3 will be better. But I suggest a test drive first.

    I have no idea what they are doing that requires the software mgmt/update stuff to be so slow. I turned off their ZMD (Zen/Enterprise) crap and it's sti
  • C'mon a CIOs opinion of a desktop is as valid, or trite as anyone else's. Why?

    CIOs have support staffs, you do not.
    A desktop is not a server or an enterprise it's a desktop in the enterprise.

    This is silly. Are we going to read CIO reviews of corporate caterers too?
    • I believe the key word here is "Enterprise" . That usually implies that there is a support staff of some sort, an IT department, and generally paid support from the software company and/or hardware company.

      And with regards to CIO's not caring about desktops: When your employees' productivity decreases due to viruses, spyware, adware, instabilities, &c, you care.

      • by gelfling (6534)
        No not in the real world. Desktop deployment is driven by cost and only by cost. And the current model for most large corporations is to provide a standard build and deliver support through a do-it-yourself model. If you can't fix it yourself then you send in your desktop for a new build installation. Ergo the build's design points are cost and application compatibility. "Function" as it were isn't even in the top 5 of feature points. It's an asset and it's managed as one.
  • Now that Novell got officially 0wned by Microsoft (okay, so Novell gave up the farm, work with me here) you gotta think they'll put a stop to such propaganda.

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