Summary: Crossing the chasm still with Novell’s help; news items from OpenSUSE Conference 2010, the overhauled OpenSUSE Web site, and few other areas
IT HAS BEEN a long time since we last covered OpenSUSE. There is simply not much news over there (OpenSUSE 11.4 moves a step further, but that’s about it). At TechRepublic, Sonja Thompson was seen provoking (again!) just a few weeks ago by unfairly blaming OpenSUSE. Install new OS, make no backup, blame Linux? Are these people serious? See the comments.
As for the OpenSUSE community, well… the OpenSUSE Conference 2010 took the spotlight a while ago [1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9] (even Ubuntu folks and Mark Shuttleworth were personally invited after he tried to poach people from OpenSUSE back in 2006). Except for some OpenSUSE-specific technical articles and alerts there was this announcement of a Wiki upgrade (which impacts Weekly News, the latest parts of which are 142, 143, and 144). OpenSUSE also enjoys a new site design (much cleaner than before and pages in opensuse.org say “© 2010 Novell, Inc. All rights reserved.”).
Here we have it folks. After a little bit of distro hopping I found one of my solutions, at least as far as a desktop system goes. openSUSE 11.3 KDE Edition is my choice of distro and 11.4 is going to demolish Fedora’s offering.
Fedora 13 is still using KDE 4.4.x and this is a crying shame. There are blocker bugs keeping KDE SC 4.5 from being included but they are not being fixed. Two of the blockers are being ignored because 4.5.2 will have solved them. May I remind you ladies and gentlemen that Fedora 14 is due next month. This is a sad state of affairs for Fedora on this front. Might as well wait for Fedora 14 to get the latest KDE, however this is the end of the road for Fedora leading the cutting edge.
But not everyone agreed. Here is someone who announces leaving OpenSUSE for Fedora, arguing: “After using SuSE and later OpenSuse since 1994 it was time for a change. I was stuck at OpenSuse because of its excellent multimedia support trough 3rd party repostitories from packman. Last evening another update brought the system down once again. Time for change.
“Since a long time Fedora does not ship software any more which are problematic because of software patents, such as mp3, different video codecs etc. Since then Fedora was more or less a no-go for home-usage. In meantime there is a 3rd party repository available called RPM Fusion. RPM Fusion is as good as packman, this made the decision to switch easier.”
OpenSUSE is trying to work out its strategy. From the OMG!SUSE! Web site: “Besides the expected need for grammatical tightening, I have a few problems with the current draft. First, I think using the term “professional” is limiting, as I am currently a student, and I’ve known of many power users who won’t be of age to become professionals for quite a few years. At the same time, I think people who don’t care much about computers would find using openSUSE Plasma Desktop to be much easier than using Plasma Netbook (which I wouldn’t say is very intuitive, even for the more computer savvy among us) or MeeGo (which is just different).”
So again, one area where OpenSUSE has been trying to improve is strategy. Here are five posts on the subject:
And now, the third piece of text has been added: What does openSUSE not do? Besides this, we added some ‘background information’ to the strategy, including ideas on our competition, what openSUSE might gain and loose from this strategy and how openSUSE should look like in 2 years from now.
openSUSE strategy is evolving. The strategy team is working very hard to integrate all the input they get. We got some great ideas from our contributors as well as from users and even non-users.
I would be interested in further input from the upstream projects.
The Community Manager Jos Poortvliet wrote some of the above and he wants more marketing (like he did in KDE):
The work the marketeers do needs to be spread.
OpenSUSE Boosters and OpenSUSE Ambassadors may fit here:
Last week our Ambassadors did what they do every week: promote openSUSE. They went to meetings, conferences and tradeshows for a talk or staffing a booth. And they organized meetings, gave students lessons in using openSUSE, handed out DVD’s and valuable knowledge.
A month ago I presented my first draft for the new openSUSE board election rules and received some good feedback, especially on the opensuse-project mailing list. Since the last version presented on the mailing list I reworked the draft some more taking into account the proposal by Henne to remove the split of the elected seats into Novell and non-Novell employees.
After having GNOME 2.32 prepared for openSUSE:Factory we decided to branch this off to also have our openSUSE 11.3 users profit from it. It showed that all in all the release was a rther simple one to offer. So no reason to not to!
There are also posts about the KDE side, e.g. [1, 2, 3]. And let’s not forget LXDE: “Those changes are in git only repo, not tarball has been released yet, so if you want to test it you’ll not find it on the usual X11:lxde repo.”
A few weeks ago, I posted a bit of advice for VMware amid speculation that the leading virtualization company might purchase Suse Linux from Novell. (As in: Don’t do it.) Since then, I’ve taken hits in comments and in email, mostly in reponse to my criticism of the YaST tool that serves as Suse’s central management console.
Plenty of people commented that if you don’t like YaST, you don’t have to use it, which, while technically true, doesn’t accurately reflect the problems you may encounter if you use YaST alongside traditional shell management
OpenSUSE is just a shadow of its former self. Hopefully the developers will become less Novell-dependent. This might be necessary soon. █