Home Home > 2009 > 08 > 18 > Change in Maintenance for openSUSE 11.2 and Future Versions
Sign up | Login

Change in Maintenance for openSUSE 11.2 and Future Versions

August 18th, 2009 by

Michael Löffler has announced to the opensuse-announce mailing list:

With regards to the discontinuation mail for openSUSE 10.3 sent out by Marcus the other day I’d like to clarify the changes in the maintenance period of openSUSE.

openSUSE will shorten the maintenance period to 2 versions plus 2 months which translates with the current release cycle of 8 months to 18 months instead of 24 months we had with openSUSE 11.1 and previous releases.

With that we now can guarantee an overlap time from a maintenance perspective which gives enough time to update machines to newer versions.


Reactions including discussion about forming a group to provide longer life time can be found on the opensuse-project mailing list.

Both comments and pings are currently closed.

43 Responses to “Change in Maintenance for openSUSE 11.2 and Future Versions”

  1. Al

    This is the reason why I’m switching to Ubuntu and its LTS plan.
    I love my openSuse, but I don’t want to upgrade each 18 months especially when I only want to keep my desktop safe from security breach. Same problem with my personal server.
    Maybe openSuse should have a long term service dealing only with security fixes.

    • isegrim

      I do not see any problems with upgrading every 18 months since there will be a Debianesque upgrading thingy in openSUSE 11.2 (or is it 11.1?)

      btw. Happy Birthday, Debian!

  2. laatvlieger

    I mainly agree with isegrim: I want to upgrade at least every two year, and in fact I do every year. Mainly because of the improvements every year in the use of KDE 4 versions (I love KDE).
    But since Linux is all about having a choice, perhaps Al is a bit right too.

  3. Bobby

    I don’t have a problem either. i upgrade even before a new release is official. I really don’t like old software on my computer especially when it’s free ;)
    apart from that upgrading openSuse is so easy and takes little time if one has a home partition.

    • LT

      That has saved me so much time over the years. It’s a good choice to make initially jmo. I like the update schedule described as well.

  4. Jan

    I was shocked by this piece of very bad news. This will cost many users!! Even if it is easy to upgrade, the argument will always be “Ubuntu has LTS, openSUSE only short 18 months”! The people who are responsible for this seem to forget that not everybody has studied informatics. I cannot install openSUSE on a foreign PC and tell the user “It will work only 18 months. After that, you MUST upgrade.” The user does not want new versions, he’s happy if the system is just working.

    And if anyone thinks “there are few responses here => people are not concerned”: The decision was published on SATURDAY on the net, so all the critical comments have been written on other pages already.

    I hope this decision will be revised, or even better, there will be an LTS version. If not, I will surely switch to another distro and I will not be the only one. I was convinced of openSUSE even despite a number of negative points, but this is the piece that turns my opinion completely!!

    • but there is no mandatory need to update it after 18 months. just continue to use it as it is.
      and i seriously doubt that a user who updates his opensuse all of the 18 months(if he uses this option) wouldn’t be able to update it to newer version by just some clicks like it’s with regular updates. otherwise(if the user doesn’t update his system at all) there is absolutely no need to worry about the maintenance cycle.
      am i right or am i right?

      • maacruz

        Oh, do now doubt at all. I install opensuse for many people who [car analogy] knows to use their computer like they know how to drive their car. They can even check the water and oil level, but they are completely unable to fix even a simple spark plug. And, do you realize how 40+ people react to interface changes? (kde4 I’m looking at you) Not well at all, they feel confused.
        And what about those ugle 0-day and privilege escalation bugs discovered from time to time? No security updates->powned!
        And what about all the repositories disappearing ad EOL? No more user programs anymore?

        Are you wrong or are you wrong.

  5. I agree with Jan. If the board of OpenSUSE and Novell doesn’t listen to the community, i’ll move out too. And all the servers with openSUSE, on all the companies i work for, will be replaced. For so many years, the SUSE community had an enterprise view as well as desktop user view of linux. Is that changing due to that Novell and Microsoft “obscure” agreements???
    We need stable solutions. Are you doing the same as Red Hat a few years ago?! Look now at fedora. Pad for production, therefore with no use.
    Don’t go that way. Period.

    • David W

      By your tone, I would think you are paying them to maintain a distro longer and use more developer man hours to maintain more than a few distros at a time. I can’t believe the colossal amount of gall some have by complaining about how long free software is maintained and given for free. Now you brought the Novell Microsoft debate into it as well. There is nothing stopping YOU from maintaining ancient distros but you cannot expect Novell to pay someone to maintain something you likely never paid for in the first place.

  6. Dan

    I feel compelled to add my voice to the protests. I’ve been a proponent for (Open)Suse for years, in particular for server installations. However, Ubuntu already holds the high ground thanks to its popularity and with LTS it makes a very strong case for any admin, making OpenSuse less likely to end up either on servers or desktops (at least in my organization). All put together, it seems that OpenSuse is on the losing side of competition in the long run, unless there’s a change in strategy. Personally, I’m for short cycles in general – it is necessary to keep up with progress. Still, Long Term Support is critical in many scenarios. Combination of these strategies is a paradox, right?
    So here’s a crazy idea for you – not every version needs to have LTS!

  7. Ali

    I don’t mind this since I’m using it only on my desktops. I rather have the latest kernel and software, so I always upgrade to the latest (mostly) stable versions. I’m just expressing my personal opinions in general and not particularly about this topic.

    In my opinion OpenSource is all about having choices. I don’t know what is a good decision or a bad decision for future of OpenSUSE. I’m not loyal to Windows, OpenSuse, Ubuntoo, or any other products or brands out there. I (as an average user) am loyal to myself, and my family, and my goals and dreams. That sums up the user’s level of loyalty for just about any product. I’ll be using OpenSuse as long as it works for me. It will work for me (the user) as long as the developers are putting my needs (as a user) at the top of their list. Therefore I think (in my opinion) best decision for OpenSUSE is what is best for the users. If the developers think this is a good decision for OpenSUSE, then it must be.

    I’ll just wait and see if OpenSUSE will work for me before I start complaining. If it doesn’t work for me then I always have the choice to switch to something that does. I switched from Windows to OpenSUSE some time ago and it has been awesome for me. Some of my friends and associates tried and it was aweful for them, so they stayed with Windows. Either way it’s not such a big deal.

  8. I already made the switch to ubuntu, (open)SuSE should push newer kernels to the community faster,
    it is terible when you have to tell your contract that there will be a fix for their hardware,
    but you have to wait a year to get a kernel that does the trick, out of the box.
    LTS is nice, but good support for past and current hardware is more important for me.

  9. GreatEmerald

    I also don’t have any problems with this. Upgrading in Linux is really simple – just the the disc and overwrite the / partition – it saves all your current settings and programs in /home, so it’s really easy. As for newer kernels, nobody is stopping you from installing them manually – just get a repository with the newest kernels, and install it through the package manager.

  10. I think this is not a big problem for home users: they upgrade as soon as a new release comes out, or soon after. However openSUSE is throwing away another advantage with respect to its competition, since Ubuntu offers 18 months of support too, but also che choice of long term support for a selected release.

    • hcvv

      But it is (see also maacruz above). As soon as the user interface (KDE 3 -> KDE4 is a major one) changes even on minor points you as a system manager even do not notice,the end user will complain: “I always clicked there, where is it!” She/he will not see any reason for changing the whole thing, only for being possible to keep up to date with respect to security. End users we (at least I) try to lure into using openSUSE are not interested in eye-candy (“Why does it look fifferent from yetersay, the computer is spoiled, is it a virus?”), but in stability.

  11. Peter

    I just had a call from a sys-admin that requested to scrap his openSuse setup and install Ubuntu or CentOS. He loves his openSuse, but wants stability and security patches for more that 18months. Besides, for a small company of 20 persons, relied on their openSuse server it is very difficult to have even a few hours of downtime…
    LTS is an option we should have.
    I will check openFATE to see other people’s reactions…

  12. SMC

    People, are you aware of SUSE Enterprise Server and Desktop? Those have support for 5+2 years! If you need support for longer than 18 months use those, ok? Look here: http://support.novell.com/lifecycle

    From the comments here it seems that nobody knows about this.

    • K

      SMC we are talking about opensuse here, not SLES and SLED

    • Please read the URL you’ve put on. novell.com. It’s not opensuse.org…

      The first thing that my company CEO asked me for was a good price advantage. That is openSUSE. A community edition. Applied to a business environment. professional media services (radio, newspaper and several other things). I’m not interested on SUSELinux Enterprise Server. Period. Again.
      The SUSE community (or linux for that matter and almost every package) is something that Novell DON’T OWN. Software developers, tester, IT managers and software engineers, and even desktop users, people will run away from it if there is no clarity on the board decisions.

      IT’S THE COMMUNITY DECISION OR IT’S NOVELL DECISION? It’s not OpenSUSE board or Novell that decides if me or the comunity uses what they have to offer.

      Note: I use SUSE since 7.3

    • Jirka

      I’m aware of them, at leat the Enterprise Server, that I intalled and managed by several customers. But I prefer the openSuse because of its testing quality. In Enterprise Server I always found bugs that I had to repair. These bugs were caused because of poor testing of varios not-so-popular features of linux.

      I would be in doubt what to choose. Maybe I will switch to redhat Because I prefere distributions based on RPM and System V.

  13. ingo

    oh my goodness cant believe what i’m readin …

    well, to keep it short, i’m a lazy really bad english speaking personal computer user and several (okay still small) server keeper with actually openSuse 10.3.
    I only repeat a comment from above, dont go that redhat fedoramhyeahnamedstablebutstillabitbetawhateverthereareonlysixmonthstothenextversion way.

    So Novell / openSuse, since SuSE 7 ive enjoyed a really good time with you, but now its time to say good bye with a tear in my eye…

    Dont bother, thats just my opinion … Debian and some backports should bring it all i need

  14. Why is it that this all sounds so much like the same noise made by Windows 98 users when the Beast said it was going to cut support for it? The way I see it, the dropping of overall support does not necessarily spell the end of a version. It all depends on what you use it for. After all, I still have a fully operational W98 laptop on the go, just as I have an openSUSE 10.2 laptop to hand (I’ll say nothing about my RISC OS 4.02 and RISC OS 3.7 systems!)

    Having said that, however, there is a certain amount to be said for avoiding the trap of forcing users to keep moving versions like this. I can recall the same problem with RSTS/E many years ago, and the forcing of updates to satisfy a minority of users or to satisfy an arbitrary movement of architecture specified by the developer (DEC tried that one to get people to consider moving to VAX from PDP11 architecture) is going to cause a drift away rather than keep users or attract new users. Bear in mind that LTS is hardly the only reason why Ubuntu is so popular but it is certainly a valid one. Such a move also brings into view the comparison between such distros as openSUSE and, dare I say it, Microsoft and its continuing attempts to push users off XP and onto more recent systems that give no obvious benefit but do result in a need to tweak or upgrade hardware just to allow it to do what it did under the older OS.

    If this is indeed what Novell are pushing for, then expect more users to jump ship. I’m already disappointed with KDE4, for which I can’t blame the distro developers but I can at least soldier on with what passes for KDE3 right now, despite all the little niggles (Konquerer not showing partition names, the ongoing NTFS mounting bug which appeared a couple of versions back and still hasn’t been resolved and so forth). Give me an excuse like this where I can see that the people behind openSUSE are more interested in writing new bugs than correcting older ones and I may just jump myself!

  15. Kjetil Kilhavn

    What’s everybody’s problem. If you need long term support there is Novell SUSE, isn’t there? There really is no need to switch to Ubuntu. Besides, as several people have pointed out already, there is no forcing of upgrades. For 18 months security and bug fixes will be provided. After that, you can continue using your system, which should by that time be quite stable, for as long as you like. Alternatively, you can pay for additional support. Yes!

    I am sure I am part of the majority when I support the move to spend more resources on the latest versions than on older versions that a handful of people want to continue using. No one minds you using them – as long as you don’t expect the rest of the world to prioritize your old systems in providing bug fixes. After all, the LTS of Ubuntu also has a deadline. Ohhh! They are *forcing* you to update. Meanies!

    OpenSUSE team: Thank you!
    That’s not a thank you for this decision, but a thank you for the great operating system and the software you develop. I have been using SuSE since the major version number was seven and OpenOffice.org since it was called StarOffice and not freeware (started using it for OS/2). Despite some minor problems I still prefer SUSE over Ubuntu and the other distributions I have tried.

  16. jada

    I didn’t see any reason for a opensuse long term release. Novell Suse Enterprise provide all.

  17. mm

    Very bad news. :-(
    So not only OpenSUSE quality, but also maintenance time is going down :-(

    Good Bye OpenSUSE.

  18. ingo

    come on, openSuse is in my opinion one of the best distributions you can get (especially as a normal home office user), but in fact such a user wont upgrade his system too often.
    Support time hip or hop, bring a button or a pop up window to oneclickupgrading with an intelligent packageconlfictresolver or sth. (like ubuntu ^^) and everything is still fine with openSuse.

  19. Ivan

    I’ll stick with opensuse. I usually upgrade when needed, and don’t change version until really necessary. I don’t need update if all work properly. If I want something new I’ll install new version. Really there’s no point to patch some parts and risk some instability somehow overseen…

  20. Ken

    The best feature of openSUSE, for me, is that I can use the factory repositories to pull development version of KDE4 :-) No other distribution, as of now, gives me this feature.

    I would love to compile it from source but openSUSE makes it so easy (and me lazy).

    Posting this from KDE 4.3.64 something (or what will become KDE 4.4 eventually!)

  21. greenmachine

    I don’t know if this is good or bad; but, I like openSUSE. That’s all.


  22. Anonymous

    First: I’d like to thank Novell/SuSE/openSUSE for providing me with an excellent distribution since SuSE 4.3.

    I’ve used the upgrade functionality since 6.4 (clean installs happens on new machines or if disks are changed) – while the upgrades had some kinks in earlier versions, I can’t remember last time I had problems with it.

    I maintain and backport a few packages via the build service (which is a great tool!) – backporting is time consuming, you spend most of your time solving dependencies (== even more packages to maintain). You have to remember that security fixes for software doesn’t always come as trivial patches – it’s common that security fixes affect functionality (which again can break other software which depends on it).

    I’d rather have the openSUSE team focusing on new releases than maintaining old versions.

  23. k0501

    “As a consequence, the openSUSE 10.3 distribution… will be removed… The 10.3 directory in the update tree /update/10.3 will follow, as soon as all updates have been published.”

    Uh, maybe this needs to be edited, or how many seconds will be available to get the last 10.3 updates? Otherwise, I’d have no problem with a single yearly release updated for 4 years.

  24. GNW

    What about that: http://lists.opensuse.org/opensuse-announce/2009-08/msg00010.html?

  25. Happy Penguin

    I can’t believe all you wingers, fair dinkum you get your operating system for nothing, the software that comes with it for nothing an all you can do is winge. I have used SuSE from way back when I had to buy it and let me tell you I have tried heaps of other Distro’s and have not yet found anything better ( and that includes Ubuntu ) Now how hard is it to install a new version every 18 months or so! all that you need to keep should be on your home partition or a separate drive, so where is the problem, if your an IT manager thats your job so don’t be lazy! and get over it

    • Chika

      Yeah, and we all know how busy IT managers are these days! ;)

      Seriously though, if openSUSE wants to avoid “wingers”, announcements like that need to stop or at least need to be rethought. As for other distros, that’s all down to personal preference in the end. I’m not exactly new to openSUSE myself, jumping to it from Red Hat 5.2 of all places, and I have been relatively happy with it up to now but, like any distro (including ones with silly names such as Ubuntu which seems to please the great unwashed though I’ve yet to be impressed), dish up too many announcements that users don’t like and there are plenty of other places they might go to. You can call them anything you want but a distro stands or falls by the people who use it, not just those that develop it.

  26. Dario

    I don’t like the whole idea. First, create new version every six months even if it has lot of bugs. Second, shorten maintenance period. I prefer to work on stable, fully checked OS (and configured, it took me 6 months to check all configuration files, installed packages etc) rather than another test build. Just look at 11.1 – it has many issues that worked in 11.0 and what is strange, many packages in repositories are first updated for 11.0. Why should I select linux over win 2008 (8 months for test)?

    • Chika

      Playing devil’s advocate here, would you consider that Windows Server 2008 is completely bug free? While I certainly think that it is much better than Vista, I don’t think that anyone should be under any illusion that any OS is bug free. As someone once told me:- there is no such thing as a perfect program, just one that is in a high state of debug.

      The argument here isn’t so much about what emerges from release but how long it is supported for once release happens. Something that comes to mind was the recent report of a serious security flaw in the kernel that dates back a lot longer than even the current coverage. Twas on The Register somewhere last week, ISTR.

  27. Romanator

    Did you buy win 2008 with support or did you get Linux for free?

    • Dario

      You can get Win 2008 for free for 8 months (same as opensuse policy), You can get Seven RC for free, final version will have 3 rearms (4 months) and that is what typical Smith choose. People are still working on XP – 8 years old system. Don’t get me wrong – I’m using opensuse for over 3 years as primary system, I can reconfigure it every time I need, but other people require stability (and to be honest I am also tired, probably I won’t upgrade to 11.2). They just want secure, stable system with new software if needed.
      On the other side I don’t understand version policy. What is “version”? Just another abstract definition. I’m working on 11.0, upgraded from 10.3 with KDE factory packages, openoffice 3.1, latest server software etc. So what version do I really have? I think we should redefine whole idea. Basic packages – those that make opensuse another distribution (like Yast) – should be upgraded on-the-fly, fluently (I see another advantage. Because You’re upgrading step-by-step You could easily catch bugs). Users, who need DVD image should use susestudio. It doesn’t make sense when You have to download old image and then redownload most of the packages because they are already outdated.

  28. SB

    Every time I upgrade OpenSuSE (not a new fresh install) I have to spend many hours to get everything to work again. Therefore I do not want to upgrade often. If the upgrade program were free of bugs I could change my mind. Hardly ever they test the upgrade option when reviewing a new Linux distribution. They always make fresh installs. I do not want to make a fresh install because I have installed many own programs and have many own personal settings.

  29. pvdm

    Simple: if you NEED >18 months (1,5 years) of support, then you likely run a mission critical system and stability, security and performance is obviously crucial to you.
    In that case you would go for a supported version, and that is the SuSE Linux Enterprise Server/Desktop SLED/SLES solution. They *have* that support. And that costs some money. But hey, you wanted proven stability: they provide it. They test stuff etc.

    If you don’t want to pay, you have to ‘accept’ what the community delivers, for free.

    Don’t wine about going to Ubuntu: their engineers are also paid for, this time not by you but by a millionaire. So that is a sort of endless pool of resources. But for instance remember who releases the most kernel fixes: novell or canonical: its novell, by far. Think about these kind of things before you make a decision.
    Bottom line: you NEED stability: there is a price to pay