Bonum Certa Men Certa

Crisis of OpenSUSE in Novell/VMB_ware Hands

20M



Direct link: SUSE Linux Enterprise Server for VMware



Summary: OpenSUSE Conference largely fails to attract press coverage, which may show that Novell no longer cares so much now that it negotiates selling SUSE to VMB_ware

EARLIER TODAY we wrote about the expectation that VMB_ware will take over OpenSUSE, which is currently a Novell product/project. A key member of SUSE who is also a Novell employee did not want to talk about it and shown above is a very recent video we found of VMB_ware and Novell chatting about their relationship. The talk is focused on virtualising SUSE and it ends with Studio, which is also a virtual appliance paradigm. OpenSUSE is not mentioned.



As stated earlier in our audiocast, a lot of people did not know about an OpenSUSE Conference (OSC) which took place this week [1, 2, 3]. Novell hardly advertised this. Brian Proffitt too has realised that something is amiss. As an OpenSUSE user he stated that it's time for "introspection" at OpenSUSE:

I don't want to be rude, but could somebody tell me what happened at the openSUSE Conference last week?

[...]

I think it's a confluence of reasons, really. First, Novell, the platinum sponsor of the event, did not seem to put a lot of PR effort into the conference. This might be because Novell is supposed to be the acquistion target of VMware. "Supposed" to be because just because the media reports it doesn't mean it's a done deal yet. Presuming this goes forward, though, I can see why folks at Novell might be distracted.

I would also speculate that perhaps the openSUSE community didn't want a big fuss about this conference.

[...]

Even more recently, a survey of the openSUSE community produced a SWOT document that displays two sides still trying to figure out their relationship.

With its new Community Manager Jos Poortvliet and renewed calls for finding a direction for openSUSE, I have a strong feeling that the openSUSE Conference was not about making headlines or generating a big splash within the Linux community. Rather, I believe it was used as a chance for introspection.


Jos Poortvliet, the community manager of OpenSUSE, responded in the comments and also published impressions from the conference. Pascal Bleser too responded to Proffitt. People from OpenSUSE generally took offence in it. Thinq.co.uk was apparently there at OSC for interviews, but more examples of media coverage from OSC is generally scarce. Here is some OSC coverage of KDE:

THINQ cornered Will Stephenson, an OpenSuSE developer working on KDE, at this year's OpenSuSE Developers Conference to find out what's in store for the future of the project.

Stephenson, who is employed by principle OpenSuSE sponsor Novell but who works full-time on the KDE project, explained that KDE is a major focus for the OpenSuSE community with around 68 per cent to 72 per cent of all downloads of the platform shipping with the K Desktop Environment.


Another SUSE blogger had these comments to make; it's a point about making OpenSUSE look different:

So, I just saw how OSX Lion has the new features showing up and I couldn't help but notice that their idea about launching apps looks a lot like their way of launching apps on an iPhone. The other thing I noticed is that it looks a lot like my idea of switching desktops, especially about the dots at the bottom of the screen. Who would have thought? Are we all in the end making the same resolutions about desktop interoperability?


The problem is not that OpenSUSE lacks ideas. The problem is that Novell appears to be neglecting it and VMB_ware would not be a better steward. OpenSUSE ought to fork and make its escape route from being associated with Microsoft through Novell.

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