Novell releases SP3 for SuSE Enterprise Linux

Novell has released Service Pack 3 for SuSE Enterprise Linux Server 9, which includes all security patches and bug fixes since SP2 -- of which there have been dozens -- as well as consolidating driver updates for both storage and network subsystems.

It also includes LSB 3.0 certification -- the Linux Standard Base open standard which is aimed at maintaining product quality. LSB 3.0 is a set of APIs supported by the Free Standards Group, and is an open source project to develop open standards for portable software on GNU/Linux systems. It describes a portability platform allowing compiled software to run correctly across versions and distributions -- it includes Posix compliance so it aids the porting of applications across from Unix to Linux, for example.

In addition, SP3 includes Novell's AppArmor security system, which the Utah company open-sourced earlier this week. The idea is that AppArmor secures Web servers and e-mail and instant-messaging systems against network-based attacks from hackers, Trojans and viruses. Novell acquired it with the purchase of Immunix last May and it now ships with SuSE Linux. It'll be available via a GNU General Public Licence, and developers will be able to download code and exchange enhancements at and Novell Forge.

The advantages claimed by Novell for the peculiarly named AppArmor system are that it can scale to multiple machines and is easier to administer than SE (Security Enhanced) Linux. SELinux, a more established alternative, is an enhancement to the Linux kernel developed by the US National Security Agency, and is included in a number of Linux distributions. Advocates say that it is the more scalable system.

Finally, SP3 brings improvements in SELS9's handling of Serial Attached SCSI, according to Novell, as well as updates to the open Intel platform management interface (openIPMI), and a variety of other enhancements, including improvements to the open source Oracle Cluster File System, plus added support for running on IBM's zSeries mainframes; IBM is a major investor in Novell.

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Manek Dubash
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