SUSE Offers Free Container Software to Medical Device Makers Fighting COVID-19

The Linux and container software is being offered with free support and maintenance for as long as it is needed.

Todd R. Weiss

March 25, 2020

4 Min Read
Medical device manufacturing

Open source software vendor SUSE has announced that it is now providing free Linux and container software to any medical device manufacturers that are working in the global fight against the COVID-19 coronavirus.

SUSE said the offer is being made to help speed the time to market for all new medical technologies that can be used to help battle COVID-19, which has been continuing to spread around the world for months. No vaccine yet exists to stop the virus and it likely is 12 to 18 months away, according to reports.

Under the offer, the free SUSE software, which will also include no-charge support and maintenance, is available to be embedded in medical devices to run them efficiently for patients. The company already has many existing SUSE pharmaceutical, research and laboratory customers who have been using SUSE Linux Enterprise and the company’s container software, SUSE CaaS Platform, in the ongoing fight against COVID-19, according to SUSE.


SUSE’s Paul Devlin

“We encourage all of our partners to get involved in this effort,” Paul Devlin, the chief customer officer for SUSE, told Channel Futures. “We will have all our partner executives reach out to our partner community to discuss and make them aware,” while also communicating on social media about the program.

To participate, medical device companies should email SUSE at [email protected] and company representatives will contact them to move forward, said Devlin.

The free SUSE Linux and SUSE container software will be provided for as long as the coronavirus crisis continues as part of the company’s effort to support medical device manufacturers that are working to find a solution to the pandemic, he said.

“We are speaking with the companies contacting us to understand what they need and how we can help,” said Devlin. “In the embedded space, just provisioning some solutions doesn’t do the job. We want to provide real value to those who approach us.”

By providing the software, SUSE hopes that it will give medical device manufacturers additional help to create innovative devices quickly around the world. “This doesn’t have to be limited to existing medical device manufacturers,” said Devlin. “This can be leveraged by those who may be creating these for the first time. We believe we can and will support improved time to design, develop and deploy, based on our experience with similar manufacturers.”

All kinds of research and manufacturing efforts will be needed to help solve the pandemic crisis, said Devlin, and that’s why the company’s offer is being made.

“We’re willing to provide our support as soon as possible to help drive solutions more quickly,” he said. “We will do everything we can to support those companies taking advantage of this, to set up quickly and efficiently.”


SUSE’s Melissa Di Donato

In a March 25 blog post about the free software offer, Melissa Di Donato, SUSE’s CEO, said the company is joining the efforts to fight COVID-19 because open source is rooted in community and includes unwavering collaboration, compassion and innovation that can be harnessed to battle the illness.

“High performance computing, crowdsourcing, hackathons and innovative tracking are all helping us win this unprecedented fight,” wrote Di Donato. “I passionately believe that we are stronger than ever when we work together to build solutions that tackle the world’s greatest challenges. Our open source community was built to handle moments like this, and together, we will persevere.”

Charles King, principal analyst with Pund-IT, called SUSE’s offer an interesting example of how technology companies are stepping up to assist in COVID-19-related work.

“SUSE isn’t alone in such efforts by any means, but its offerings could be valuable in a wide range of research and product development efforts,” said King.

SUSE’s Linux Enterprise operating system can be embedded into and run a wide range of devices, hardware and appliances, while a SUSE Embedded Linux version includes an optimized system footprint for specific products, including medical devices, according to the company. SUSE’s CaaS Platform allows companies to use Kubernetes to deploy and manage container-based applications and services.

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About the Author(s)

Todd R. Weiss

Todd R. Weiss is an award-winning technology journalist who covers open source and Linux, cloud service providers, cloud computing, virtualization, containers and microservices, mobile devices, security, enterprise applications, enterprise IT, software development and QA, IoT and more. He has worked previously as a staff writer for Computerworld and, covering a wide variety of IT beats. He spends his spare time working on a book about an unheralded member of the 1957 Milwaukee Braves, watching classic Humphrey Bogart movies and collecting toy taxis from around the world.

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