Roll your own Linux distribution with Novell's SUSE Studio

Roll your own Linux distribution with Novell's SUSE Studio

Summary: It's easier than ever to make your own Linux distribution or appliance. Novell first annual "Dister" Awards, to groups that built Linux-based software appliances using SUSE Studio, shows just much you can do with an easy-to-use Linux development tool.


One of the advantages of Linux is that you've always been able to build your own Linux distribution... if you were an expert programmer. But, today thanks to programs like Novell's SUSE Studio it's easier than ever to create Linux appliances or your house-brand Linux.

For proof that you can use SUSE Studio to create useful applications look no further than the winners of Novell's Dister Awards. The two $10,000 grand prizes went to software companies, Radical Breeze and Anderware.

Radical Breeze, won in the "Commercial" category for its Illumination Software Creation Station. This program lets non-developers design their own software applications with no programming experience required. Anderware, a software company from Sweden, won in the "Community" category for its Hypergrid to Go appliance, which allows users to easily set up an extension to the OpenSim platform to create a multi-user 3D world similar to Second Life.

In addition to the winners, Novell and its independent panel of judges also named a pair of appliances for honorable mentions. In the commercial category, the honorable mention went to EasySpooler Appliance, an advanced printer spooler to handle multiple printers by ROC Software's Paul Scripko. In the community category, the honorable mention went to BrowserBox. This application appliance, by Opera Software's Jacob Rask enables Web developers and quality assurance staff to do cross browser testing of Web sites and applications with 22 versions of 13 different Web browsers. I've tried both of these honorable mentions myself, and I can see businesses liking the print spooler a lot and BrowserBox would be great for anyone doing Web page design and development.

The contest also handed out a "Spirit Award" - recognizing a creative and innovative use of SUSE Studio that's useful to the community at large - to Gourav Shah of Efficient Frontier in India for his FreeSWITCHBOX appliance. This is an interesting VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) in a box appliance. If you find Asterisk, the open-source PBX (private branch exchange) program, to be over-kill for your phone needs, I'd give FreeSWITCHBOX a try.

None of those appliances do anything for you? Well, build one that does with SUSE Studio. Sure, you could do it the hard way, but if you have an idea that vanilla Linux and open-source software can't quite do right for you, SUSE Studio makes it easy to come up with just the right blend of ingredients to create an application that will work for you. If you come up with one that you think there's a market for you can always sell via Novell's SUSE Appliance Program.

SUSE Studio gives you access to most of the same programs that you can bake into any Linux distribution. The foundation Linux, is, of course, Novell's own SUSE Linux 11. You can then deploy it in a variety of formats including CD, DVD and USB-drive images; virtualization images and even on the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2).

Of course, you need to know something about Linux works to build applications, but you don't need to be a Linux programming guru to put together a working appliance. So, if you know something about Linux and open-source software, and you've always thought you could build a better Linux mouse-trap, here's your chance. Go for it! Who knows maybe next year you'll win a Dister.

Topics: Operating Systems, Linux, Open Source, Software

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  • RE: Roll your own Linux distribution with Novell's SUSE Studio

    You know what would be super cool? If the people at rpath sued Novell for this patent infringement. Then no one would use linux until these issues were resolved. Well that and I like to see linux companies fighting with each other.
    Loverock Davidson
    • Nah...

      It'd be far more amusing if Microsoft sued Bill Gates and he counter-sued. Then no one could use Microsoft products until it was resolved.

      However, it'd probably be the most amusing if Microsoft sued you for making predictions that cost them billions, as was the case when you assured the world that Microsoft was going to "spank" the EC.
      • RE: Roll your own Linux distribution with Novell's SUSE Studio

        You give his posts way to much credit. I'm sure no one lost a red penny by trusting in his posts. If anything, perhaps some saved money using his posts as a trigger to bet against him.
        Viva la crank dodo
    • RE: Roll your own Linux distribution with Novell's SUSE Studio

      @Loverock Davidson Think before you speak moron, many electronic devices run in Linux, maybe if you'd research you'd find you would have to toss out half your things in the box you live in on the street corner.
  • Very Impressive!

    I had a go with Suse Studio a couple of months back, it is very impressive. You can base distros on openSUSE or Novell Suse Enterprise Linux.<br><br>Configure your Linux install online however you wish (LAMP Server, non-free Multimedia desktop, etc) Add a Skype RPM, whatever. When you are done you can download the pre-configured install as a disk image, CD/DVD iso, USB stick, virtual machine. Then deploy as many times as you like.<br><br>It makes serious Linux image creation childsplay.<br><br>Also, openSUSE is a great distro, give it a try!
  • Nice

    I just might give it a try one of these days. :-)
  • This is a good article

    cause somebody is finally giving SUSE the recognition it deserves.

    SUSE is the best linux distro out there. I'm not a computer person and I've always able to install SUSE on a pc without a problem. Ubuntu always gave me a headache and Redhat was even worst.

    tl;dr - Linux would not suck so much if SUSE was the only flavor.
    • RE: Roll your own Linux distribution with Novell's SUSE Studio

      @iPad-awan Part of the point of linux is choice of distribution and competition among the distributions for better free market outcomes. If SuSE were the only distro, I probably wouldn't use it because I hate RPMs.
    • re:This is a good article

      @iPad-awan <br>It may be the best for you. There are more than 100 desk top distros out there, and at least 15 or 20 which could be considered mainstream. The best for me is pclos. Some swear by slackware, or debian, or RHEL, or centos, or ubuntu, or arch, or gentoo, or sabayon, or mandriva, or fedora and the list goes on. I don't understand how ubuntu or red hat gave you a headache. I have never had a problem with them. Of course, your last sentence(tl;dr - Linux would not suck so much if SUSE was the only flavor)is very telling. A little flame bait there.
  • Yet another distro?

    The 100+ Linux distros each with their own structure, package manager, file system, libraries etc have only fragmented the Linux marketplace and diluted the mindshare. What we don't need is yet another way of fragmenting an already broken ecosystem. <br><br>This is one reason I feel Android will never really be a solid competitor to iOS or even WP7 in the high end smart phone market. We already have "flavors" of Android, and I've communicated with a few app developers who complain that each company's Android behaves differently.
    • WP7 is not a competitor to anybody, not even WinMo 6

      So saying that Android is not a competitor to WP7 is just being plain ignorant to reality.
    • RE: Roll your own Linux distribution with Novell's SUSE Studio

      @kraterz Yeah, YOU TELL EM! THAT 400,000 smart phones/day figure? YEAH THAT DOESN'T MATTER!

      I'm a developer, and quite frankly, the different versions aren't really all that different, they just look different. The APIs are the same, the hardware's a little different, but if you manage your requirements properly and stick to Google's best practices it isn't a problem.
  • Novell's SUSE ?? Or do you mean MS SUSE

    After all, MS now owns Novell.
    • RE: Roll your own Linux distribution with Novell's SUSE Studio

      Attachmate owns Novell.
      Microsoft-organized consortium purchased 882 Novell patents.
    • Liar.

    • RE: MS SUSE

      @wackoae Yes. looks like MS has finally admitted Linux is better than Windows. Windows 8 will be Linux. Its about time.