First look: Novell SLED 11, with screenshots

New desktop eye candy configuration options

Novell's SLED 11: The Control Centre is used to administer the system

Novell's SLED 11: The Control Centre is used to administer the system

Back in 2006, Novell took the plunge with its first significant Linux desktop for business product SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop, or SLED, 10.

Since then Novell has been praised for doing a lot of software integration to make Linux “just work” on the desktop, including the glitzy 3D desktop, but soon after was derided for entering into an intellectual property agreement with Microsoft.

With that behind it, Novell has taken two years to produce the next generation, SLED 11, which should offer an even more polished user experience. TechWorld takes a look at SLED 11, including what's changed since version 10.

Getting started

The installation process has been refined over previous versions and involves fewer steps.

A media check “to avoid installations problems” is now part of the process, and a new “Auto Config” option will setup the hardware, including network interfaces, graphics cards, printers and TV Cards – we're not sure why you would have TV cards as part of an enterprise desktop, though.

A zooming, graphical world map is now used to set the timezone.

If you have Windows installed you will be prompted and asked if you wish to shrink windows for dual booting and the Windows partition is checked for continuity before resizing.

Easy partitioning has always been a welcome feature of SUSE Linux and SLED 11 keeps it up.

If you have not shut your Windows installation down cleanly a “Windows not Clean” message along with instructions to correct the problem are displayed.

With a clean windows system, the disk will be resized and installation commences.

Novell has done a lot more work with its software partners for SLED 11 so you need to accept more licence agreements than previously. These include agreements for the Citrix ICA client, Agfa Fonts, Adobe's Flash, Fluendo's Gstreamer, Sun's Java and the Java browser plugin.

The final phase of the installation involves registering and logging into the Novell Customer Centre and running an online update. Then a reboot is required to finish.

On our test machine – a Dell Optiplex SX280 with 1Gb RAM – the installation found and configured all the hardware correctly and the whole process took about 30 minutes.

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