SUSE Linux is one of the oldest distributions of Linux available, and it was the first version to come out shortly after Linus Torvalds had completed his initial versions of the Linux kernel. SUSE was originally a German company, but nowadays it is owned by Novell, although a large percentage of its staff remains within Europe. In addition, SUSE is a distribution partner of many large computer manufacturers, such as Sun Microsystems and IBM.
SUSE is an acronym for Software und System-Entwicklung, which translates as software and system development. This refers to the days, long passed, when the SUSE company was also a Unix consultancy.
Like many Linux distributions, SUSE Linux formed its formidable reputation as a server operating system. Its unique YaST and SaX system configuration tools made configuring and updating servers easy for those new to Linux and Unix. Recent years have seen the company make a strong push for the desktop market, with the result that SUSE Linux is considered one of the best desktop Linux distributions available, again thanks to its YaST configuration software.
SUSE's engineers have invested time not only in polishing the user interface, but also in improving hardware compatibility, to the extent that SUSE Linux is frequently considered cutting-edge in terms of the sheer number of items of hardware supported. Considering that a major criticism of Linux has been its poor showing in this area, SUSE is to be applauded in this regard.
Unlike some desktop distributions that abandon fundamental Linux concepts in order to mirror the Windows experience, SUSE Linux retains the robust feel and power of Linux. Technical thoroughness isn't sacrificed yet, somehow, SUSE Linux is very easy to use, even for those who are new to computing. It's certainly an ideal distribution for Windows users who are looking for a way into Linux.
Learning how to use SUSE Linux has an added advantage in the corporate workspace. Novell is releasing its own distribution of Linux, which is largely based on SUSE Linux technology. In addition, Sun Microsystems offers its Java Desktop product, which is again based on SUSE Linux.
Make no mistake—SUSE Linux is ideal for both the corporate and home desktop.