SuSE to announce Linux security certification

Novell plans to announce on Wednesday that SuSE Linux, the version of the open-source operating system it acquired earlier this month, has passed a new level of security certification.

Stephen Shankland principal writer
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Stephen Shankland
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NEW YORK--Novell plans to announce on Wednesday at the LinuxWorld Conference and Expo that SuSE Linux, the version of the open-source operating system it acquired earlier this month, has passed a new level of security certification.

In August 2003, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) was certified to meet Evaluation Assurance Level 2 (EAL2) of an internationally adopted set of government security requirements called the Common Criteria. Novell Chief Executive Jack Messman is expected to announce that the operating system has passed the more stringent EAL3 tests, a source familiar with the plan said.

The certification will apply to the SLES software that runs on all IBM server lines--its zSeries mainframes, xSeries Intel-based servers, iSeries midrange servers, pSeries Unix servers and the eServer 325, which uses Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron processors, the source said.

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Achieving Common Criteria certifications--a necessity for many government and military customers--moves Linux a step closer to the established status of competing operating systems such as Microsoft's Windows, Sun Microsystems' Solaris, Hewlett-Packard's HP-UX and IBM's AIX, all of which have the higher EAL4 certification.

Red Hat, the company that sells the most widely used version of Linux, announced in February that it was working with Oracle to achieve EAL2 certification by the end of 2003, but the company hasn't announced that approval yet.

In December, an Oracle representative said the Red Hat certification was expected by mid-January.

Red Hat and SuSE are both IBM business partners, but in New York, Big Blue has been showing warm ties with SuSE. Jim Stallings, IBM's general manager of Linux operations, praised SuSE at an event for SuSE business partners Tuesday on the eve of the Linux show.

"We've seen phenomenal strength in their technology leadership. They were the first company that scaled to eight ways," he said, meaning that SuSE beat out rivals with a version of Linux that could effectively run on a powerful eight-processor server. SuSE "goes to market faster than any of their competitors," he added.

Though SuSE lagged Red Hat in market share, it supported all IBM's server lines much earlier than Red Hat, which reached that point in October. IBM is slated to make a $50 million investment in Novell now that the Provo, Utah-based company has completed its $210 million acquisition of SuSE.