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Novell News Summary – Part I: OpenSUSE Talks Weekly News, Controversy Over KDE Promotion

Posted in GNOME, GNU/Linux, Google, KDE, Mono, Novell, OpenSUSE at 7:05 am by Dr. Roy Schestowitz

Aquarium in Berlin

Summary: OpenSUSE news mostly centered on KDE4 as default desktop environment

THE MAIN development this week was to do with KDE, but before we delve into that, worth stressing is the fact that OpenSUSE is shortening support windows.

The amount of time a given release of a Linux distribution is supported is of paramount interest to its users. After all, large-scale deployments depend on stability, and stability means support. Some users of openSUSE are liable to be feeling a bit shaken this week, after the project announced that the support period for its releases has been cut by a fourth.

This important implication was never quite stressed by Novell. It was mentioned about a week ago in a post which also referred to the team at Novell to be dedicated to OpenSUSE.

Novell’s Linux developers are good people. Their loyalty to their employer is understandable, but some could afford to leave and do the same work in another company (such as Google or Red Hat). Here is Greg Kroah-Hartmann taking a major role in a new article about Linux drivers. Sascha Manns later did this interview with him.

The openSUSE Weekly News are pleased to publish an little Interview with one of Novells Kernel-Hackers: Greg Kroah-Hartmann.

Manns also called for more participation in OpenSUSE Weekly News. The response to this poll was rather scarce and there will be an IRC meeting to discuss this subject later in the day.

The next openSUSE Weekly News meeting will take place Saturday August 22 at 16:00 UTC.

OpenSUSE Weekly News is by all means alive and here is the latest issue.

In this Week:

* openSUSE 11.2 Milestone 5 Released
* People of openSUSE: Marcus Schaefer
* Linux.com/Rob Day: The Kernel Newbie Corner: Kernel and Module Debugging with gdb
* Guillaume DE BURE (gdebure): More skrooge features
* h-online.com/Thorsten Leemhuis: Kernel Log – Coming in 2.6.31 – Part 2: Graphics, Audio and Video

Looking at some events, FrOSCon is coming very soon and OpenSUSE will have presence there.

Next weekend for the 4th time FrOSCon will take place in St. Augustin (near Bonn) and again openSUSE will have a booth at this great event.

People do not travel to conferences as much as they used to. Katarina Machalkova, on the other hand, has returned from an outdoor trip.

Now that I’m back from vacation (some breath-taking climbing in Italy), it’s time to pamper penny-a-liner side of me and give some publicity to few fresh openSUSE 11.2 features.

Zonker went to OpenSource World on behalf of Novell/OpenSUSE. Here is his report.

The show exceeded my expectations as a speaker. I wasn’t sure how many attendees to expect, but I had about 80-100 people in my talk about the openSUSE Build Service (a general overview of the build service, nothing in-depth since it’s hard to get in-depth in 45 minutes…) and that seemed to go over well.

Zonker then shared some pointers to promote the Chrome packages built by Ben Kevan in recent weeks. He also participated in a debate which Novell’s marketing people are promoting.

Novell’s Joe “Zonker” Brockmeier sat down with Paul Krill, editor-at-large at InfoWorld and Ross Turk, community manager for Source Forge at OSCON in July to discuss the show, what’s happening with open source communities and companies these days and how to build an effective community. They even touch on what open source projects and journalism have in common.

Ross Turk and Joe Brockmeier are friends and former colleagues. Turk is now closer to SourceForge and Brockmeier used to write for the same parent company. We wrote about this before.

Another round of Summer of Code is now over. Here is the final report from one such project that’s connected to OpenSUSE.

Its been quite a while since I last blogged about the project status, and now a good summer of coding has come to an end (according to the program timeline). I should thank Mr. Stephen Shaw “decriptor” (for being a “kewl” mentor, Mr. Pascal Bleser “yaloki” for mavenizing the code, among other things and Mr. Bryen Yunashko “suseROCKS” for getting my project selected and finding a mentor for me. (It was fun to have three openSUSE board members involved in the project)

Now we come to the major story of the week. KDE is becoming the default desktop environment in OpenSUSE and this is announced in the OpenSUSE Web site by one whom Novell laid off. As some comments in the OpenSUSE site ought to show, this decision is not popular amongst everyone. Here is the original message from Michael Löffler. Lubos Lunak (of OpenSUSE and KDE) was probably as enthusiastic as Beineri, but Jean-Christophe Baptiste (of OpenSUSE) wrote in his blog:

No one is going to be satisfied with this. It is not a compromise, just nonsense.
KDE users will be disappointed and Gnome users will feel marginalized.

SJVN thinks this storm in a teacup is not justified and he spoke to Zonker as well.

It all sounds so rational. But, I’ve already heard from people screaming about how openSUSE has BETRAYED the GNOME community. Oh please. Get a grip.

Here is the view of another KDE developer:

The decision on the matter of the (not)preselected desktop in openSUSE has been made. You can read about it in the mail announcing the decision, I would like to just offer a KDE view, from Will and me.

In the Germany-based Heise, one can only find straight reporting of the facts:

openSUSE is defaulting to the KDE desktop, according to an announcement on the opensuse-project mailing list by Micahel Löffler. From openSUSE 11.2 onwards, the installation process from DVD will offer a choice between KDE and GNOME, with KDE pre-selected. Users accepting the default installation settings will therefore get a KDE desktop.

My personal opinion is that KDE4 is mature. I’ve used 4.1 for a while and it worked flawlessly (for me anyway). Choice is not being removed here, the decision may deal a blow to Mono, but at the same time there is justified concern that Novell may turn some attention to spreading Mono inside KDE. It is, after all, Novell’s goal to spread its own DNA (programs) inside GNU/Linux. Mono is Novell’s key distinguisher, among others such as YaST.

Here is one among very few technical posts on OpenSUSE (almost none found in the past week) and here is a reminder of Novell’s critical flaw in OpenSUSE. It is only locally exploitable, but the mainstream press made a mountain out of this molehill.

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A Single Comment

  1. Needs Sunlight said,

    August 23, 2009 at 3:09 am


    On the surface it looks like this is solely about positioning to infect Mono inside KDE. It’s not a technical issue for KDE, it’s one of HR. Tainted employees and volunteers need to be quarantined or even excluded.

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