Linux on Raspberry Pi: SUSE support turns $35 board into enterprise IoT platform

SUSE rolls out full commercial support for its SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP3 (SLES) Raspberry Pi image.

Video: How to set up your Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+

SUSE has released a SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12 SP3 (SLES) for the popular Raspberry Pi, which comes with full commercial support for enterprise customers.

The release upgrades an unsupported version of SLES SP2 Raspberry Pi image released at 2016 SUSECON, which offered enterprises an alternative to Raspbian OS with an OS that uses the SUSE Linux Enterprise kernel for Arm.

Raspberry Pi chief Eben Upton was very pleased with SUSE's experimental release, because it was first the major 64-bit OS to support the Raspberry Pi's wireless networking and Bluetooth.

Today, Upton is thrilled because SLES 12 SP3 is the first time a major vendor has offered a full, commercially-supported Raspberry Pi image.

"Unlike two years ago when they just provided a downloadable image with community support, SUSE can now offer 12 x 5 or 24 x 7 support," writes Upton. "This is all built on the same SUSE Linux that is available on everything from Raspberry Pi to the mainframe."

According to SUSE, companies have been using SLES for Arm on Raspberry Pi for monitoring older industrial equipment such as robotic screwdrivers and sending alerts when they malfunction.

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The new SUSE Raspberry Pi image still targets the Raspberry Pi Model 3 B, although SUSE says it is planning support for the new Raspberry Pi Model 3 B+.

The new version also contains a few updates and fixes. According to SUSE, developers have made the new image smaller -- around 630MB -- by trimming compilers and debugging tools while tuning the Arm OS for IoT tasks.

The image supports the Raspberry Pi's Wi-Fi module by default, as well as HDMI, Ethernet, and GPIO ports. However, it doesn't support audio, 3D graphics, the Raspberry Pi touchscreen, or camera.

SUSE is also planning to update I/O support so that SLES can be installed on a Raspberry Pi over a network rather than using an SD card image. And it's planning to add support for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, which has the same hardware as the Model B but in a smaller form.

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