In a move which open-source 'advocates' will find striking SuSE Linux, the German distribution maker, have added new terms to their licensing agreement which result in corporate users of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server only receiving support if they don't customise their copy of the operating system too much.
This is a move which shows that perhaps the openness of the GPL and other licenses associated with Linux could make a company like SuSE's life difficult. The source code is still included with the product but by doing too much customisation the end customer could forfeit support. Many have seen the ability to change and tweak Linux as one of its key advantages but in the area of technical support life could be a nightmare for those helping the corporate customers if there isn't any standardisation, as the changes made by the customers could mean the help staff's information is incorrect.
SuSE is a company which has been working with IBM, who have been using the distribution on their servers, and this alliance has made SuSE move more towards the enterprise level. The Enterprise Server runs on a variety of hardware and is known for being a stable and reliable system which is tailored for enterprise applications and the new version 8 will be available later in the year (based on the 8.0 Professional which was released last Friday).
Linux has been seen as having many advantages over other operating systems due to its GPL licensing, which has proven to be one of the most successful licenses ever created as it has always stood its ground legally. The ability to customise and tweak Linux and its components has given companies the freedom to change and manipulate programs as they need, but now this freedom comes at a cost if SuSE is chosen as the distribution.
News source: ZDNet UK