suse-logoSUSE is one of the more popular Linux distributions for enterprise users. A handful of netbooks including the HP Mini 2140, Lenovo Ideapad S10e and MSI Wind U90 come with SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop as an option, and it runs well on mini-laptops with Intel Atom processors. But it’s possible that a growing number of netbooks will be using low power ARM-based processors soon. And the folks at Novell, the company behind SUSE, say they have no plans to port the operating system to run on ARM processors.

Other Linux distributions including Ubuntu and Xandros should be ready for ARM CPUs by the time netbooks start to use them in the coming months. But Computer World reports that a Novell executive says the company is focusing on other opportunities right now.

The move probably makes sense… for now. While SUSE is popular among enterprise users, low cost ARM based netbooks are most likely going to be targeted at consumers who are looking for portable computing devices with larger screens and keyboards than found on a cellphone, but without the same kind of performance found on Atom-based netbooks. The few prototypes I’ve run across with ARM processors so far have been a bit more sluggish than netbooks with Intel Atom, or even VIA C7-M CPUs. But that could change in the coming years. And companies that have decided not to support ARM like Novell and Microsoft could come to regret it. (Windows Mobile runs on ARM processors, but Windows XP, Vista, and 7 do not).

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5 replies on “No plans for an ARM-based port of SUSE Linux”

  1. ARM based netbooks will only appeal to those who don’t know any better. Anyone who has any knowledge of these chips would go for the more powerful chip with an XP install. I think a great Linux install (like the one on my netbook) is an elegant thing.. but face it, XP is just more practical.

    Like I have said before unless the ARM chip netbook is $100 less or more… its just not worth it. Whether its Suse, Xandros, Ubunto or whatever…

  2. It makes sense for SuSE/Novell to wait. Porting to a new platform takes a faor amount of effort but it is maintaining one that is the bigger drain. Right now there is no need so no port. If Enterprise level customers show an interest later one could be up and going in under a year, less if working code can be cribbed from the distros who went first… and being Open Source it can be reused and nobody even thinks ill of ya when you do it.

    Ubuntu apparently does have one or more vendors in hand so they are doing a port. Notice it didn’t take them long either since Debian already supports arm. The arm based Nokia tablets shipped in ’05 and run a Debian derivitive with X/GNOME/Gtk supprt already ironed out. All you do is add hardware support for the goodies in your new target device, get issues with the bootstrap sequence sorted out and Bob’s yer uncle.

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