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openSUSE Strategy Meeting

May 20th, 2010 by

For the past few months we, the openSUSE Board, together with the great help from Kurt Garloff, Jan Weber and Andreas Jaeger, held a series of strategy sessions to address the future of openSUSE. We discussed the role of openSUSE as a community and project and looked at data from a variety of sources, including the recent openSUSE 2010 Survey to identify and build a strategy of strength and empowerment within our community, with a goal of establishing a common unified ground for answering the question to ourselves and to the world… “Why openSUSE?” and openSUSE’s role in the operating system market, both today and in the future.

After much discussion, we’re finally ready to bring together these important bits of information into a cohesive statement that everyone can unify around. As such, we, the members of the Strategy Team, will be meeting in Nuremberg the weekend of May 28th to formalize a draft of our strategy that will be available publicly for open discussion and comment.

The weekend strategy retreat will be preceded by a General Board Meeting Friday morning and a Meet & Greet for the general public Friday evening. If you are in the Nuremberg area or are willing to travel to Nuremberg, we invite you for a sociable evening of chat and drinks at the SUSE-Nuremberg offices at 6:00 p.m, SUSE Linux Products GmbH, Ground Floor/Erdgeschoß,
Maxfeldstraße 5, 90409 Nürnberg. Meet the Board, members of the openSUSE Boosters team and other SUSE guys there. We’ll do a few short presentations but the focus lays clearly on communication and having fun.

For more information about our work, please feel free to review our documents.

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8 Responses to “openSUSE Strategy Meeting”

  1. Hi all.

    Is there a way to take part in this discussion? I have some ideas to address weaknesses I would like to share.

    Best Regards

  2. Andreas Jaeger

    Marcus, if you like to give input prior to the meeting, I suggest to talk to one or all of the participants. After the meeting we hope to have something to discuss – so input is welcome there as well.
    And if you’re close to Nürnberg, you’re welcome to join us on Friday evening!

  3. Hi Andreas,

    already sent some comment to the -porjects list (no reply yet).

    Nuernberg is a bit too far for me to travel for only one evening (located in Zurich).

    Best Regards

  4. Xil

    Interesting document read, although I dont fully understand “With Mac OS X one doesn’t even have the option of using a tool like CrossOver or VMware to run applications on another platform”

    I thought crossover is a valid mac ox application ?

    Also “If Apple’s story is to give Linux any hope, it’s this: at the start of the decade, Apple was seen as an also-ran on the desktop and it enjoyed few of the advantages it does today. The brand was weak, the application ecosystem was anemic, and the market share was abysmal. Apple accomplished a “second act” with Mac OS X that may be unique in the computing industry.”

    Very true, but it could do this because it was/is run very strictly, people at apple work for a company and thus do as they are told, while with Linux there are often split-off/double projects because different people have different idea’s, this is good and is what opensource is about but also means resources will not be focused as much as with Apple and that I feel is quiet important if you want to make a comeback like Apple did.

    I think the Linux part is spot on, although if I think back about my own switching over I would have these comments:

    – having a messed up MBR (even if its because the other OS does not comply to general rules) is a big big turn off

    – having to install the multi media stuff from something (then) unknown called a repository is a turn off

    – I understand why ATI/Nvidia closed drivers are not included but as a new user it simply frustrated me, the default driver made KDE give debug messages and all that just limits the user experience

    – You have to admit that most of the users who do test Linux come from Windows, so it would make sense to at least have the Wine installed from the start or (dare I say it) even better a limited version of crossover. A user that switches over and can install his MS office will be a more pleased user then one who can’t but wants to.

    – Repositories, they are brilliant but please enable more of the good once, enable packman by default, every suse users does but why should we have to manually, enable ATI/Nvidia by default, enable more game repo’s by default and explain the whole repository thing better for new users: “hello new users, want to install a car game, simply type “car” in our searchbox here and select the game you want to install”

    I know many of these things are learned over the course of a few days but basically users are often lazy and the 1st impression is oh so important.


    • Alex – I believe I wrote that bit, about crossover. What I meant was not that CrossOver doesn’t run on Mac, but that there’s not a CrossOver or Wine equivalent for other platforms to run Mac apps – thus, if you switch to Mac on the promise of being able to run Windows + Linux apps on Mac, you can. But then you may accrue programs that are Mac-ish only, and then you’re stuck. The nifty Mac apps only run on Mac OS X – and so you’re stuck in that ecosystem without any real alternative than abandon your apps or stay with the Mac.

  5. Andreas Jaeger

    The SWOT document is a result of a brainstorming session without discussion or filtering, not a scientific exercise. I’m sure you’ll find other points that are not correct.

    Strategy is about the big picture – let’s answer that one first and then we can look at the details again based on the strategy.


  6. Tom

    I think you have touched on some of these issues but I wanted to express them as I see them affecting Linux adoption.

    So much of current personal computing is oriented toward media of all types. It is imperative to provide easy and legal methods of using common media formats that have become standard in the Mac and the Windows PC worlds. There are reasonable substitutes for office productivity applications that can run on Linux which partially overcomes one hurdle but if a person cannot watch a video from their digital camera or easily link and listen to mp3 files from their iPod or iPhone, it becomes a deal breaker for them. They will give up and switch back to their old OS. Most will never try Linux again.

    Linux is in an unfortunate position in that it is not a media driving force and, therefore, cannot dictate or push open standards with much effect. It is also unfortunate that third-party commercial application developers have no incentive to devote expensive development money to Linux. Unless they do it out of kindness or devotion to Linux, they will ignore Linux completely. It might be possible to entice interest if they have a low entry cost to Linux. If they can use their existing Microsoft or Mac development knowledge and not have to support the product, there might be more willingness to commit their efforts to a Linux port of their products. Windows and Mac, in the foreseeable future, will be the first entry point for new products. Linux needs to find a way to deal with that.

    Wine is interesting as a solution but, face facts, after years of development, it still only supports a relatively small portion of the available applications that run on Windows. You would also think that Mac applications, since it now has a Unix core, would be flooding the Linux space but I do not see that happening, either. Apple even has white papers on how to port applications to Linux but it doesn’t happen that often. Mono is also another good effort for portability of .Net applications but they are always having to catch up to the current standard and never quite get there.

    Legality, as I mentioned earlier, is a serious issue. I cannot install anything that has questionable licensing at any businesses that I support. (I provide technical support to small and medium sized businesses) I also know that many larger companies are not willing to take that chance because they are often targeted for lawsuits. This is a particular problem in the U.S.A because of the huge influence of Microsoft and their proprietary so-called standards.

  7. Chuck E.

    From USA: I have a general impression that over the last 10 years, several European cities have made a policy of using open source products. I assumed in Germany this would of course mean SLES or openSuSE. Is this true? Do government contracts represent significant revenue for Novell / openSuSE? I would hope this is true, and supports the future of SuSE.

    I started with SuSE in the middle 1990’s because they offered support for installation when I was just learning. I moved to openSuSE after I was confident of my skills. Thank you very much for a wonderful user experience over the years.