SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 to receive support right up to end of Unix epoch

And there's a special offer on the CentOS-compatible Liberty Linux

As SUSE ascends its self-imposed ALP, this version may be the last of the fixed release cycle for openSUSE Leap.

Last week at SUSECon, the annual conference for Europe's longest-established Linux vendor, the company announced the latest update to its current long-term supported enterprise server distro, SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP6. SLE 15 came out way back in 2018. With this release, its supported lifespan lasts to 2037, as the (somewhat typo-riddled) announcement puts it:

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 has a commited [sic] lifecycle until 2037. With 19 years of support since SUSE Linux Enteprise [sic] Server 15 was launch [sic], SUSE is able to provide a safe platform to deploy today your long term applications ensuring that your IT investment is safe in the longest term.

In other words, that's 13 years from now. Even so, it's the longest support lifetime in the industry. It means paying users of SLE 15 will get critical updates until shortly before the Unix epoch in January 2038, which is about as long as anyone in the Unix world can guarantee anything.

For disillusioned CentOS or Red Hat refugees, it's an enticing prospect, and SUSE knows it. It's also got a special offer on its CentOS-Linux compatible distro, Liberty Linux:

Get SUSE Liberty Linux Lite at $25 per unit for one year. Offer expires 10/31/24.

Before you get too excited, though, the stinger is the minimum order size:

100 subscriptions: $2,500 total

Still, if you have a significant number of CentOS Linux 7 boxes still running, this extends your deadline to migrate them to June 30, 2028.

The openSUSE installer isn't flashy, but it's easy and it does the job

The openSUSE installer isn't flashy, but it's easy and does the job

openSUSE Leap 15.6

At the end of the week of SUSEcon, SLE 15 SP6 was followed by the corresponding version of the SUSE-sponsored, community-driven free distro, openSUSE Leap 15.6. As The Register reported back in 2021, the core packages of the two distros, SLE and Leap, are kept in sync and are inter-compatible.

Both SLE 15 SP6 and Leap 15.6 come with kernel 6.4 and GNOME 45. OpenSUSE users also get the options of KDE Plasma 5.27.11 or Xfce 4.18, along with other updates. A wide variety of other desktops are in its repositories including Cinnamon and Enlightenment. This release adds the Cockpit Project web GUI for remotely managing servers.

We gave Leap 15.6 a very quick spin in VirtualBox and it worked perfectly, even picking up that it was inside a VM and installing the relevant guest additions automatically. The installation disk configures ZRAM compressed swap-in-RAM automatically, which will help on low-spec hardware or VMs, but the final installed system had a 2 GB swap partition. With KDE, Leap 15.6 took about 6.3 GB of disk and idled at 1 GB of RAM in use, and even with a modest 24 GB virtual drive, it configured a Btrfs root volume with snapshot support, which could save you if an update goes wrong.

The Plasma 5.27 desktop is as neat and clean as you will find on any KDE distro anywhere

The Plasma 5.27 desktop is as neat and clean as you will find on any KDE distro anywhere

This year's openSUSE conference runs over June 27-29 in Nuremberg. More info about the future of openSUSE will be revealed there. We asked openSUSE spokesman Doug diMaio if this was the last release of openSUSE Leap 15 before the next major version, and he told us:

Will there be 15.7? Highly doubtful. I would say "no," there will not be a Leap 15.7.

openSUSE Leap is an exceptionally solid distro if you want something slow-moving, stable, and free. It doesn't get as much attention as it deserves. In terms of being technologically conservative, it's similar to Debian or the late CentOS Linux – but in our opinion, openSUSE is rather more polished and a smoother ride than either. An added bonus for those looking to leave the Red Hat camp is that openSUSE uses the familiar RPM packaging format, although managed via SUSE's Zypper tool rather than yum or dnf. ®

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