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A Strategy for the openSUSE Project: Proposals and Discussions

June 17th, 2010 by

As announced previously, the openSUSE Board and its Strategy Team have worked on three strategic proposals to define the direction of openSUSE’s future, as a Project, Community and distribution.  Each strategy proposal includes the same community statement.  We will therefore discuss the community statement and the three strategies separately.

Focused Discussion

To have a focused discussion, we like to handle the discussion as follows on both opensuse-project mailing list and the openSUSE forums:

  1. Present today all three strategy proposals and the community statement, they are available on the wiki.
  2. We will start discussing the community statement now in its own thread. (mailing list | forums)
  3. Monday, June, 21st: We start a new thread to discuss the strategy proposal “openSUSE – Home for developers“. (mailing list | forums)
  4. Thursday, June, 24th: We start a new thread to discuss the strategy proposal “openSUSE – Base for derivatives“. (mailing list | forums)
  5. Tuesday, June, 29th: We start a new thread to discuss the strategy proposal “openSUSE – Mobile and cloud ready distribution“. (mailing list | forums)

What do we want to achieve with these discussions?

  • Refine the proposals, e.g. remove or add activities
  • Discuss what needs to be done for each strategy proposal
  • Figure out which strategy proposal is best, so pros and cons of each ones.

Note that each statement contains three lists of activities describing current activities the openSUSE Project does and possible future activities (or tasks).  The first list (“We need to be excellent in the following”) describes the items that we want to do really excellent and better than everybody else.  The second list (“We will try to do the following effectively”) are needed to do but we don’t need to strive for excellence, just for effectiveness.  The third list (“We will not focus on the following anymore”) are activities we will not do at all as part of the project but rather rely on other FOSS projects.

In the end, we’d like to have a vote by the openSUSE members on which strategy to choose.

Pavol Rusnak and Andreas Jaeger will consolidate comments and proposal changes for these in the openSUSE wiki.


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6 Responses to “A Strategy for the openSUSE Project: Proposals and Discussions”

  1. Interesting stuff. Note that for the “mobile” vision you’d need a lot of development, while the others can do with mostly packaging and configuring. So it’s also a question whether you want to become more of a development community or not.

    Have you thought about competition? Each of these strategies will put you against one or more other teams working on similar stuff.

    The base for derivatives might put you head to head to Debian and to a lesser extend Fedora. It will be hard to beat Debian but they do have a few issues so it’s possible, Fedora won’t be too hard as they don’t focus on this too strongly. Some deriviatives could become really successful, like the MeeGo one. You’d have to work hard to make sure it’s still seen as connected to openSUSE – Debian screwed that up with Ubuntu (but it wasn’t their choice anyway).

    The Home for developers will pit you against distro’s like gentoo and arch. With the push for easier development however it could become very successful in terms of growing the community. arch/gentoo/etc are less interesting to ex-windows-developers and lazy devs and so many developers might start using openSUSE – possibly contribute. It might on the other hand make the step to the wider world (the other 98% people who don’t like computers) harder.

    The Mobile and cloud ready distribution is really interesting as cloudy crap is probably the future. As I wrote you’d have to develop, and work with a lot of others a la diaspora, OwnCloud, OpenDesktop etcetera. Would be an interesting challenge, however. And you’d be competing with little in the distro world – maybe Ubuntu.

    Frankly, I wouldn’t be able to choose, it’s a hard one. Each of these visions are challenging, inspiring and potent. Luckily you’ve got a community to do the choosing for you ;-)

  2. cb400f

    I had the highest of hopes for this strategy discussion, because openSUSE really needs clear long term goals and purpose. But I think the proposals are all very bad.

    The task was to answer the question “Why openSUSE?”, to get some direction and focus and perhaps even create some form of mission statement. And what you come up with is to focus on the narrowest of narrow niches, which will make openSUSE irrelevant to 95% of people, including alienating most existing users.

    Furthermore I understand there’s no real commitment from Novell managers behind this, which means the strategy will most likely just be empty words, with no real-world leverage behind them anyway.

  3. dca

    What Novell should’ve done is left SuSE alone and call their enterprise version, “Novell Enterprise Linux” or something thereabouts and leave SuSE as SuSE server and SuSE Professional and SuSE for Mobile, whatever…

  4. Kenneth Aar

    I like the mobile distro alternative. But it is very important not to try to compete with Google on their terms. Offer what Google won’t offer: Syncing between offline and online.Give your users a faster experience with the utilization of local hardware. Make it possible to syncronize mobile devices (phones, tablets, netbooks) with the Desktop. Dare to be more than Goolge. Dare to be more than you are now and I see a bright future for OpenSUSE.

  5. davidboy

    Hi guys, i look for picture. It’s hard to find this on the net. hava a look:


  6. I have seen the document, though I don’t dedicated the required amount of time to consolidate an accurate view. You will most likely place me under the traditional ‘journalist’ stereotype because I might speak a lot and say nothing, that’s a risk I’ll take.

    I can’t say I understand the motivations and concepts behind openSUSE, I did understood though the ones behind SuSE Linux, which I used for years. I’ll be honest with everyone, and it scares me the community linux vs commercial linux. They are and will always be bonded, and hopefully this bonds will provide a symbiotic relation that will do great things for Linux in general. The main problem from my perspective comes from ‘common denominators’.

    I would request the community around openSUSE to try and define the ‘common denominators’ as objective and realistic as possible, and work your way up from there. This is important from my scope to build a community as everyone will be required to be sharing something with others, maybe not just ‘Linux’.

    I see great efforts placed in motivating people, I see power being shared through the community, I see some trying to implement some very positive synergies into the community… and I see most of people sharing the same concerns and will to strive on…

    Be positive and my request and advice to people, though no one asked me, but I’ll give anyway and won’t bill no one for it…

    Take the change given, DARE TO! Doing great things require taking great risks… something that doesn’t offer risk is most cases ain’t worth doing it. DARE TO!

    Your choices are jump ship or stay and fight. It’s your choice, no mine, the boards, or anyone else.