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

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:



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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