Cool Solutions

ZENworks imaging updates



March 9, 2007 8:27 am





I’ve written a few times about the cool additions to ZENworks that are written and released by ENGL in the UK.

In the last month I have been working closely with the ENGL team – and they have some very cool things that are coming along.

First they will be at BrainShare – showing their integration with ZENworks – and also running some technical sessions. You can read more at ZENworks Cool Solutions.

The session list includes:

  • Changing the computer name with ENGL Zim
  • Using ZENworks Image-safe Data to store ENGL Imaging Toolkit Build parameters
  • Advanced ENGL Zim scripting and forms
  • Customizing the ENGL Ztoolkit build process using custom scripts
  • Configuring multiprocessor/AMD processor support in the base image
  • ENGL Imaging Toolkit 5.0 preview

The ENGL Imaging Toolkit version 5 promises to be a valuable addition to ZENworks Pulsar and make lives much easier for those looking to deploy Windows Vista.

I’ll not spoil their scoop at BrainShare – keep reading for more!

Written at: Beijing, China

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  1. By:Mr Lee

    I can vouch for ENGL and there products… As a long term customer there products have saved us time and money

    However…. Zen Works imaging is becoming a frustratinf and worthless process…. Here are some common quotes from the supoort forums…
    Sorry these are hard htting but this is the reality…..

    “Novell has managed to make updating of drivers in Zen Imaging so
    complicated and frustrating that it is quickly becoming a worthless product.”

    “I agree. It used to be moderate – now it is worse.”

    “I couldn’t agree more. After this last patch (which still didn’t fix our
    problems) we are now searching for new imaging solutions. We can’t
    afford to be down for days and weeks at a time unable to image desktops.
    I dread receiving new hardware because I know it will be a painful and
    frustrating experience to get the damn things working with ZEN imaging.
    Enough – I’ve had it.”

    “I couldn’t agree more either. It’s a sickening process sometimes when you
    have to compile new linux drivers for hardware.
    I have a problem today with Fujitsu-Siemens ST5112 Tablet PC, have to
    download image from USB drive WITH NIC DISABLED to make it work. With NIC
    enabled it took from 7 mins (1 out of 50 times) to 7 hours (49 of 50
    times) to download an image of 1.3GB. (drumroll…..) Its a Marvel Yukon

    “Agree 100%

    I have been harping on about this since it first came out!!!

    Tried enhancements requests, mailing and speaking to the evil zen
    scientist… We are a 1000 user site of Zen Suite (one of the last Novell
    products we use) If it does not get better we will kiss it goodbye.”

    “compiling the drivers isn’t really the problem, the major issue people
    nowadays have is chipset support, and that is a kernel AND driver problem.”

    Whats to be done!!!!!

  2. I have taken the comments and asked my colleagues in Product Management to comment. Watch this space.

  3. By:sk


    Imaging sure needs improvements, especially the support for new hardware.

    for instance, our std machine type changed to HP DC5750 few months back and it still doesn’t work like it should. And HP is supposed to be somekind of Novell partner?!

    We have seen HP2 / HP3 patches for Zen7, which will update all Zen services. Separate updates for the Imaging/pxe part would be better, which should be released more often.. like monthly updates to the imaging part?


  4. By:Sean O'Brien

    To get the imaging section of this product functioning at all requires “secret” Hot Patches, half a dozen TIDs and a Cool Solution or 2 (not to mention sometimes playing with an obscure BIOS setting or 2). Or just plain dumb luck on your hardware.
    This product does not run out of the box, with the minimum patch list using all Novell Partner hardware eg. HP.

    As some one who has done the ATT etc etc I still find it a cumbersome and painful process.

    If Novell can’t or won’t update the drivers frequently/rapidly. Then the process for updating/inserting the drivers needs to be simplified.

  5. By:paul

    I, personally and professionally,
    am not interested in spending more money on zenworks imaging
    until it’s fixed.
    linux just isn’t working as a preos imaging platform.
    it’s constantly changing and always out of date,
    any new hardware you acquire invariably means you’re hunting
    for HPs and fixes that rarely exist.
    why not spend time on fixing that, with lrmi or vm86 task
    to access bios interrupts, bios32d and PXE! undi
    so the thing will (for almost everybody) at least work ?
    or at least put some effort into getting an ndisulator style
    interface working so you can drop in win32 nic drivers and
    get imaging moving that way.
    all we see now is increased bloat, pretty vesa boot displays
    and continual failure.


  6. By:Mr Lee

    Any update Martin?

  7. We recognize that with the new introduction of new type of devices, both drives and NICs there is a large delay when we are able to get drivers out for these devices into our imaging system. We acknowledge that this is an issue and we are working to find a solution that will be acceptable. There is a new team that has been formed in Novell whose responsibility it is to work with hardware vendors to assist in rapidly getting linux drivers for their new hardware. This along with our working with the SUSE team will hopefully speed up the support for these newer devices. Additionally we have been discussing with SUSE our needs for being able to drop drivers easier into the system, at boot time, and have them loaded.
    We are also examining other options to help solve this problem and provide a good imaging solution for your systems.

    ZENworks Product Management

  8. By:Rob

    I’ve got to agree with most of the gripes in the forums, the support for major vendor equipment is terrible. We have a whole new batch of HP TC4400 tablets that we can’t get to image from CD. After two days of fighting to find working drivers we finally decided to just look for a better imaging solution. I’ve read a few posts that mention HP3 might help – but finding that patch on the Novell site takes just as long, if not longer than trying to get the drivers. The utility for adding drivers in the sys\public\zenworks\imaging directory is useless when you don’t have a single floppy drive on your network, it’s just one frustrating issue after another.

    I was a little sad when Novell decided to kill NetWare, we’ll be going 100% Microsoft before we go with any flavor of Linux, now it looks like we’ll be going to Symantec Ghost for our imaging.

  9. By:Mr Lee

    I really do hope that something happens soon….. Like some of the posters here we have recently migrated all NetWare to Windows 2003 R2 and the Novell products (excluding edirectory) that we run now are Zen (1000 seats) and iChain…. Please so something soon!

  10. By:Shawn

    I have to admit there’s some consolation that so many others are having the same frustrations with ZENworks imaging. Of course, that consolation doesn’t help with the fifty Dell workstations that I’m currently facing – or the hundred more on the way – all of which need to be imaged and deployed quickly.

    Novell needs to show that they understand this and are working RAPIDLY to remedy the situation, or there will be alot of once loyal customers jumping ship just to save their jobs.

  11. By:sk

    Any update on this?

  12. I do not want to repeat my post in, it is in case of imaging the same discussion and I totaly aggree to all of the (non Novell) comment there and in this blog. Novell needs to speed up delivering new imaging kernels otherwise Novell looses loyal customers. We (the admins working with Novell produkts) have the pressure to deliver good work and if not we have two choices: request a change of the product or loose our job. You (Novell) can guess what we will choose …

  13. By:paul

    2 months and still no update

  14. By:jack3412

    Oh thanks God I am succeeded to register on Its too hard to register here. It require the country and the state, but do not show the state. As a result it gives error. Anyhow, this time I have spent too much time here so just writing my introduction here like any thread in the community. Jack is here from New York although written afghanistan in the profile due to the registration problem. I work in a wireless internet company. Our all work has been transferred into novel network and that is the thing that brought me here.