Thursday, April 3, 2014

Black Lab Linux Enterprise new features and support explained

Today we are pleased to answer the questions regarding Black Lab Linux Enterprise and how Windows XP businesses can benefit from these changes.

With that we have released Black Lab Linux 5.0 Enterprise.

With this release we made several changes to the core of Black Lab Linux Enterprise

Updated Linux kernel
OpenSSH 6.2
PostgreSQL 9.3
Linux Firmware updates
PackageKit Package Management
Folder encryption
Wine 1.7
Glom 22

This release also includes all updates of its default productivity applications so users can be assured of full functionality and up to date applications.

Current customers can request an updated ISO and new customers can purchase a new license or licenses here.

Black Lab Linux Enterprise Licenses
We caught up with Mr. Roberto J. Dohnert and had a Q&A regarding the new changes in Black Lab Linux 5.0 Enterprise and Black Lab Linux 5.0 Education as well;

Q.  Why wasnt there a direct upgrade path for users of Black Lab Linux 4.2.5 Enterprise users
A.  Because, there were just too many functional changes to try to provide a direct upgrade path.  A lot of things changed, all the way to package management.  And in all of our test scenarios, out of 10 direct upgrade attempts 7 failed and so we decided to cut down on support tickets the best thing to do was release an entirely new ISO.

Q.  What about customers of 4.2.5?  How can they upgrade and will we still support 4.2.5?
A.  If you are happy with 4.2.5, you can continue to use it.  There will be no interruption in your service or your upgrades.  Updates will be delivered through the update manager and life will go on as usual.  If you decide you want more licenses then you will get Black Lab Linux 5.0 Enterprise or Education.

Q.  I know for Black Lab Linux 4.2.5 Enterprise and Education we gave a few customers a complimentary license, are they eligible for the free upgrade?
A.  Unfortunately no.  They are not. What they are eligible for is to run 4.2.5 as long as they would like.  But if they want Black Lab Linux 5.0 Enterprise and Education they must purchase a license.

Q.  Whats the new support features and how can Windows XP licensees take advantage of this?
A.  We talked to several enterprise users and our own customers.  One thing we heard was that they dont want a release often distribution.  They dont want to have to go and re-install machines every 6 months.  So we are introducing a new Service Pack support model.  Service Packs will be delivered every 12 to 18 months.  While users will still get critical updates through the update manager, Service Packs will include new functionality as well as updates.  During this time, customers can come along and make requests.  How this can benefit Windows XP users is that Linux has a reputation of being an OS that you have to upgrade every few months and we break that mold by offering long term, commercial support on the desktop which no other Linux distribution does.  We also offer  support for modern technologies, web applications, desktop database.  So for business desktops we offer a wealth of productivity apps that your users can utilize to get their work done more efficiently.

Q.  You say we are the only Linux distributor to offer a complete desktop experience for businesses but what about Linux Mint and SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop?
A.  Linux Mint does not offer commercial support.  They tailor mostly to the Linux community.  To the Ubuntu users who absolutely hate Unity.  Now, they are popular among home users because someone from the Linux community tells their friends to give it a try and when you see that you see two things happen.  They absolutely hate it and get off of Linux or they love it, and they dual boot with Windows.  Most of our users who try to go to Linux Mint and replicate what we do at PC/OpenSystems LLC, they get tired of it and usually come back.  I have seen most everyone return except maybe 1 or 2 and when we bid on a job, I never hear Linux Mint.  I hear SUSE, I hear Red Hat, I hear Ubuntu.  Now, Red Hat and Novell dont take the enterprise and business desktop seriously.  They throw in the fact that they have this desktop distribution as they call it.  But they only throw in a few applications for productivity.  An office suite, a browser and a mail client.  What we have discovered is that the business and enterprise desktops are more complex than that.  In a small business your secretary is a lot of times your graphic artist, they are your marketing team, they do videos on your product, they create your podcasts and more.  So they need the tools to satisfy their many roles and we are the only distributor to do that and offer a solution that is cost effective, and that is commercially supported and that is extremely easy to use and administer.

Q.  What is the custom builds and how do they satisfy users needs and how can a business who used Windows XP benefit from a custom build?
A.  Well first, here is the datasheet for custom configurations.  In a nutshell, a custom configuration is a service that we offer where we create a configuration per a customers request.  We add applications, artwork and drivers that they need and want.  We host it for them, we test it to make sure your applications work and that nothing breaks.  We also apply all the updates and we charge a yearly maintenance fee to keep it up to date.  Its cost effective because with this you get unlimited licenses and you can redistribute to whomever you see fit, but alas if you give it to somebody outside of your organization you have to provide them with support as we dont.

Q.  What else has the team done to make a migration from Windows XP to Black Lab Linux Enterprise easier?
A.  We provide new users with an interface that Windows users can come to and get working immediately.  We have always prided the fact that with our distribution new users can be up and running and completely understand the system in 10 minutes.  So we provide a very comfortable user interface.  Now, users and admins may want to run a certain Windows application like Photoshop, even Microsoft Office.  For that, we include in a copy of Wine which emulates the Windows API and allows certain applications to run at near native speeds.  Just because they are coming to a new platform does not mean they have to sacrifice applications they know and love.

Q.  What about Linux in general.  What makes the Linux ecosystem so enticing for new users?
A.  For many they look at the Linux ecosystem as everything is free.  To a point that is true, Linux does not mean free as in zero costs.  The code is free.  The code can be used any way people see fit as long as they respect the license.  I think the ecosystem itself is a good one because bugs get fixed faster, features are introduced at a faster rate, and there is someone out there who gives advice on how to fix something  While some see it as free as no cost users and customers get a definite cost advantage.  With Black Lab Linux we are 70% cheaper than Windows 7, we are 80 percent cheaper than Windows 8.  Plus, we offer a definitive upgrade path.  Not only are we cheaper to acquire but we are cheaper in TCO (total cost of ownership).

Q.  Where can business and education users find out more about Black Lab Linux Enterprise and Black Lab Linux Education?
A.  We have a couple of links to the product page.

Q.  Where does the free release of Black Lab Linux fit in to our strategy?
A.  The Black Lab Linux project is very similar to the Fedora Project from Red Hat and the OpenSUSE project from Novell.  What we do is we experiment with Black Lab Linux and test it and keep testing it.  The Black Lab Linux Project is completely unfunded and it survives off the donations from the community.  It is free of charge to download and free of charge to redistribute among your friends.  All donations and sales of the Black Lab Linux Project go back to the Black Lab Linux Project

Welcome to PC/OpenSystems LLC

PC/OpenSystems LLC. is dedicated to providing top customer service including integration, providing Linux compatible hardware and enterprise desktop software solutions. We provide solutions tailored to your needs whether its building systems to suit your needs. Whether its a custom database solution, providing Linux powered PC and Server Solutions. Whatever you need you can rest assured that PC/OpenSystems LLC. will deliver a high performance and stable product

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About PC/OpenSystems LLC.

PC/OpenSystems LLC. is a small consulting firm and the only Linux retailer in NC for Linux PC's and custom systems located in Franklinton North Carolina. We specialize in hardware repair and we resell custom Linux based computers, software maintenance as well as custom application development.