The newest enterprise edition of the Suse Linux distribution allows administrators to go back in time, for instance, to immediately before they made that fatal system-crippling mistake.
Suse Linux Enterprise Server 12 (SLES 12) features a system snapshot and rollback capability that allows the user to boot the system to an earlier configuration, should the latest one unexpectedly fail.
Such a capability can be handy for undoing a system configuration change that did not turn out as expected. For instance, an administrator might have the SLES computer in a perfectly fine running state, but then install a botched software update, or make a change that destroys the kernel.
Typically, Unix systems have been unforgiving about such mistakes, forcing the administrator to reinstall the system software from scratch, should they not know how to undo the unfortunate change.
“This stuff happens, for whatever reason,” said Matthias Eckermann, Suse senior product manager. “So the admin has an emergency exit, so to speak.”
Users of Microsoft Windows and Apple Macintosh systems have long enjoyed rollback functionality within their respective OSes, but this capability had been missing in Unix-based systems such as Linux, at least as a native function of the OS.