SUSE Releases Linux Distribution with a 19-Year “Best Before Date”

SUSE has unveiled its corporate distribution, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 15 Service Pack 6 (SLES 15 SP6), featuring an exceptionally long official support term. Developers highlighted the OS’s key features and explained the rationale behind its extended lifespan.

SLES 15 SP6 is an LTS (Long Term Service) distribution. Initially slated for support until July 31, 2031, an update with SP6 has extended this period until 2038. SUSE’s top manager, Rick Spencer, cited the reason for this decision. He explained that on January 19, 2038, at 03:14:08 UTC, Unix systems using 32-bit processors will reach the limit of their timekeeping capabilities, a problem known as the “Year 2038 problem.”

If left unaddressed, systems will roll back to December 13, 1901, potentially causing critical software failures. While the Linux kernel fixed this issue in 2020, some applications still lack the necessary patches. Until that date, developers promise stable operation of the distribution.

Key updates in SLES 15 SP6 include Linux kernel version 6.4, updates to several libraries (libc 2.38, MariaDB 10.11, PostgreSQL 17, PHP 8.2, Python 3.6 + 3.11, among others), and new security features such as post-quantum cryptography using OpenSSL 3.1 and 4096-bit signature keys. A full list of enhancements is available on the company’s official website.

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