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Tech Genie Thinks It’s Time for OpenSUSE to Say Goodbye to Novell

Posted in GNU/Linux, Microsoft, Novell, OpenSUSE, Patents, SLES/SLED at 4:53 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Lizard runs away

Summary: Another suggestion for disengagement from Novell as a new release of OpenSUSE is announced

FOR SEVERAL months we have repeatedly argued that OpenSUSE ought to disengage from Novell and possibly fork to avoid the Novell-owned trademark, “OpenSUSE”.

By all indications — and this is a subject that also came up in our IRC channels — Novell did too little to promote OpenSUSE after signing that deal with Microsoft — a deal whose goal was to sell a lot of Ballnux. Novell and Microsoft don’t make any money from OpenSUSE users, but they do use OpenSUSE in order to promote SLE*, test SLE*, and generally make use of a volunteer workforce neither Microsoft nor Novell truly deserve.

Tech Genie wonders whether it’s time for OpenSUSE to say goodbye to Novell, which is up for sale anyway.

It seems after years of working together in developing a complete Linux platform the openSUSE project that was taken in by Novell have developed different interests are seeking to co-exist with different set of goals and ideas. The OpenSUSE community is developing their own community statement and is now looking for wider horizons. The main objective of this statement is to clarify their goals and put forth a new technical focus of their project.


The basic problem with all the open source projects is that at one point of time it becomes hard to collect funds and keep the operation running, it might very well be the reason for Novell and OpenSUSE growing differences.

Although it is too early to say that the companies have drifted apart completely. But that possibility cannot be rules out because OpenSUSE has traversed a long way from being a small project in its testing stage to a fully functional operating system that is in commercial use. Hence it makes a sense for this project to have its own goal and marketing strategy rather than using the ideas of its parent company.

The release of OpenSUSE 11.3 came with a whimper, not with a bang. There were few short reviews in obscure blogs [1, 2], but the more visible review (also short) is this review from Jason Perlow:

Despite the distribution’s political and organizational problems — ones which admittedly, I know these folks are trying very hard to address — openSUSE is still a very solid Linux distribution, albeit one which is more for the experienced user than the newbie. KDE 4.4.4 appears to be maturing nicely and now that it is finally stable, may now actually get some significant adoption.

Without blog items from SUSE/Novell people [1, 2], this distribution would drop into obscurity.

Perlow’s colleague at ZDNet says that OpenSUSE Education 11.3 is still not there yet.

I really wanted to love the latest version of openSUSE’s education-oriented distribution, Li-F-E (Linux For Education). It was released this weekend, alongside version 11.3 of the main openSUSE distribution, and was incredibly promising with a host of great features. Ultimately, though, it was let down by poor hardware support and a glitchy installer that left me anxious to switch back to Ubuntu.

Other OpenSUSE coverage that we found is the following:

  • Linux Like Legos: Inside Novell’s New openSUSE Build Service 2.0

    How is a Linux distribution put together? For Novell’s openSUSE, it starts with its newly improved Build Service 2.0.

    Building a Linux distribution is a complex task that involves both project and package management skills. For Novell’s openSUSE community Linux distribution, the key tool it uses is the openSUSE Build Service, which was recently improved with a 2.0 release in June.

  • OpenSUSE 11.3 Netbook Benchmarks

    Following yesterday’s release of openSUSE 11.3 we tested this updated Linux operating system that’s sponsored by Novell on an Intel Atom netbook and compared the performance to that of Ubuntu 10.04 LTS and Fedora 13. Here are the results.

  • OpenSUSE 11.3 LXDE Screenshots

    Need something to play with over the weekend? The OpenSUSE 11.3 release is the first ever to include the OpenSUSE LXDE flavor. LXDE version 0.5.5 is included on the OpenSUSE DVD along with other desktop options KDE, GNOME, and XFCE. LXDE 0.5.5 is integrated into OpenSUSE along with Lxdm 0.2.0 is the default Login Manager, Pcmanfm 0.9.7 has been completely rewritten to have GVFS and Trash support, LXDE Control Center and Lxdm-conf configuration tool are included by default and Brasero works without GNOME dependencies.

  • openSUSE Weekly News, Issue 132 it out!
  • OpenSUSE users have a choice of database now!

    A big shoutout to the openSUSE team: openSUSE 11.3 has been released! And with it comes a choice for the database users out there – you can now choose between MySQL or MariaDB.

People might subconsciously view OpenSUSE as one to distrust because of Microsoft and Novell. If the backers of SUSE were to put their effort in a project they truly own and control, more users would be accrued and status regained. I used SUSE for many years and avoided it after the Novell/Microsoft deal; many others share similar stories.

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