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Why OpenSUSE 11.5 Might Never Come

Danger sign



Summary: As Novell implodes and people leave the OpenSUSE community in droves, there is little or no sign of future releases

NOVELL may be just days away from obsolescence and all it gets excited about these days are Microsoft projects like Mono and Moonlight (more on that later). When it comes to SUSE, Novell uses it almost exclusively to market its proprietary software such as Operations Center (see the SAP news, which says for example that "Novell has released new software designed to allow SAP users to integrate around its SUSE Linux open source operating system") and the company relies on shallow coverage that gets used to promote Intelligent Workload Management and other such fluff, e.g. this marketing in the form of articles, because today's news is largely PR, even YouTube content. Watch this blatant PR piece about SUSE and the way Novell's PR staff exploits it (it's staged): "This month, the influential industry publication PRWeek recognized the program and wrote a case study about why it was so successful. We're proud of the recognition and thank the thousands of Linux developers who participated (and if you missed it this year don't worry – we're planning a second competition in 2011)."



PR, PR, PR...

That's Novell for you.

Realising that there is a PR issue, OpenSUSE rethinks version schemes:

Andreas Jaeger, openSUSE Program Manager at Novell, has announced the results of the future versioning polls. As reported earlier a discussion concerning the versioning of openSUSE releases emerged with several interesting options. A polling structure was devised and today the decision is made.

Some of the ideas were to go to a Fedora-style whole number release version such as Fedora 14 or Fedora 15. Another was Ubuntu-style in which the version number reflected the release date such as Ubuntu 11.04 to mean the Ubuntu released in April 2011. Mandriva-style was also considered that uses the year with the minor number indicating the number of release for that year such as Mandriva 2010.2 (the second release in 2010). The most interesting was dubbed "octal" which means the next release would be "o 12″ or 012.


This was mentioned before. Basically, the OpenSUSE community has a crisis as it gets abandoned and OpenSUSE Weekly News is almost the only type of content being added to the site these days (the planet component aside, even a profile here and there). OpenSUSE is a dying distribution and Jack Wallen's review of the release was titled "Will new openSUSE with KDE 4.6 bring distro back from obscurity?" Since our post which accumulated OpenSUSE reviews we have only found this one review, so it doesn't seems to have resonated as a distribution worth reviewing. HOWTOs about OpenSUSE are few but they exist (for GNOME at least, and Novell has a lot of influence inside GNOME). We have researched further for a while, hoping to find evidence of a future release because there is no talk about the next release yet. Little (if any) was written about it in the news. The term "OpenSUSE 11.5" appears not in blogs, just in unofficial or less official sources./placeholder pages, e.g. [1, 2, 3]. Some of these pages are almost blank.

Given that AttachMSFT expressed no commitment to OpenSUSE (just to SUSE), will there be a future for it? We doubt that. Even if they develop it, a high-profile release might never come. A fork is somewhat possible.

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