SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 11 SP3 (I’m just going to call it SLED) is not a modern Linux distribution. I’m using “modern” in the sense of less-than-one-year-old sense. It seems that most modern Linux distributions are on a six-or-eight-month schedule for releases.
While Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, and others push ever onward, SLED sticks with the tried-and-true until the dust settles and everything quiets down just a little bit. You won’t find GNOME 3 here (yet), and you won’t find a deluge of new and exciting offerings in the standard repositories. You will find stable applications and a stable system. That’s what someone like SUSE or Red Hat offers to “enterprises” and it might just be something that regular people are looking for as well.
That stability brings a big benefit: support.
Years and years of it. Security and stability updates keep coming even as other distributions and operating system vendors move on. This means less change, more time spent working on other projects and other needs, and stuff continuing to work even as the technology market continues to move ahead.
This isn’t just for SUSE either, but there are others who do this same thing. It is important to keep that in mind when you are choosing an operating system for almost any application. How long can you keep this server in service and still receive support?
This gets back to something I talk about a lot … cutting down on the choices which need to be made. Apple does this by only offering a few things and you can choose from those few things. SUSE and other “enterprise” vendors do this by making you choose once and then letting you use it for up to 10 years without needing to pull it out and upgrade it again (even if it continues to work and fills the current and sometimes future needs … for example: DNS servers).
Two different ways to handle it.