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Strategy sucks

September 3rd, 2010 by
strategy statement from team

Hi all,

Over the last weeks there has been a lot of disussion, both internally and externally, about the strategies which have been proposed. However, we also missed a lot of voices from our community. We take responsibility for leaving many of you behind by focusing on a very corporate-management solution to the initial question which prompted this process. A question we think still is relevant: The identity of openSUSE both as a Community and as a Project.

Initially our goal was to answer: “Who is openSUSE and what does it (want to) do?” prompted by the discussion about the default desktop at the openSUSE conference last year. In five years the openSUSE project has evolved from a fully company-driven project to a communty project where everybody can contribute. This has brought uncertainty and a lack of direction. The current lack of a clear ‘story behind it all’ is hampering our ability to establish a common identity and sense of security. From a marketing point of view, it becomes an uphill battle…

Throughout the process, we consulted some people and the discussion about a strategy started with the goal to solve this issue. However, many feel that ‘strategy’ and the approach to find one is not fitting our community. We lost most of you in the second paragraph of the strategy pages on the wiki – too much talk.

We would like to go back to the start and focus on describing who we are, as a community, instead of finding new ways to go. The input you all have given us by mail, forums, IRC and in person was valuable and we will use that. So that is what we will do:
  • Highlight the story behind openSUSE
  • Identify what users we target and illustrate what we offer to them,
  • Connect it with the issues that matter most to our community
And then we will document this story, image, direction, strategy – or however your call it ;).

From you all – we will continue to seek your input on it once we post it. By mail, forum, IRC or in person – again. Without your help it won’t be much, so please think about that!


Your strategy team

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48 Responses to “Strategy sucks”

  1. Jack

    The strategy process comes through as a Novell strategy and not a Opensuse strategy. Like it or not – Quite a few remains committed to Opensuse not because of Novell but despite of Novell. Recent Novell/Opensuse history shows signs of “throwing some bones and keep the turkey” tactics and the strategy process merely serves as a reminder.

    Corporate are clever, but they should never forget that the community consists of some rather smart people too. Time to act accordingly.

  2. Agnelo

    Oracle plans to buy Novell … but nobody knows yet.

  3. Steven L. Hess

    Well I understand Novel’s need to appeal to “business users” and to make a profit but I run openSUSE as a desktop home user. I could care less about how business friendly openSUSE is. SLED and SLES is what business users should be encouraged to use and leave openSUSE for the rest of us. Some of us just want to watch Anime and listen to MP3s on our computers and do general computing.

  4. Will

    The current direction (11.2 and 11.3) has been to remove much of what make Linux in general so attractive: it has been targeted at bleeding edge technology at the expense of older stuff with well defined custom hardware control. Those of us who support small organizations (especially non-profits) or just individuals are especially impacted. I am quite happy with the steady state performance of both the latest releases but getting them to that state has become steadily more difficult if you don’t happen to fit the hardware profile being targeted.

    There are two (complementary) avenues to address this issue: documentation and deep utilities. As the face presented to the user obscures more and more of the detailed setup, much better documentation of the underlying activities is essential. I realize that the openSUSE team is not responsible for some of the decisions such as removal of Sax2 but the trend toward that end needs to be addressed or the audience for openSUSE will be increasingly narrowed to corporate and a few highly skilled users unless a conscious effort is exerted to maintain the low level documentation and utilities which so greatly simplify application of the distro to the one-off systems.

  5. AlbertoP

    I really appreciate what you wrote Jos (yes it’s me, I did not drink something weird!:-))

    The strategy discussion derailed, and I think Novell has clear no responsibility in this, even if someone likes to put all the responsibilities on Novell. The clearly made a lot of mistakes in the past, but this does not mean they are responsible of every problem openSUSE has.

    The community has as many responsibility as Novell, at least, and probably more. Our community is not active enough and we have an historical difficulty in attracting new contributors and keeping them. We over-talk on every single point, and it takes too long to see any change applied.

    If I have to give a suggestion, in formulating the new strategy, please consider a few, very few, goals, but that can be delivered with an acceptable quality and in a reasonable time, compatibly with what the community (meaning non-Novell people, to be clear) can help doing. I think it would be really better to come out with a smaller proposal, but realistic, than with a wide and general goal which would be just a statement without the necessary substance.


  6. John Hudson

    Two thoughts: strategy is very much a corporate word. Most FOSS projects have a vision or direction but do not get into detailed strategies in the way that companies often do because they rely on volunteers whose contributions cannot be predicted or determined.

    In terms of the three questions why? what? and how? strategy answers what? and how? The question that needs to be answered first is why openSUSE? Within that answer the key customer and contributor bases for the distro should be identified. Once that question has been answered, you can go on to the detail of strategy if you want.

  7. Frank Bechstein


    you pointed out that you want to “Identify what users we target and illustrate what we offer to them,” is the idea behind that to have questionnaire on the OpenSuse website?
    I think it would be a great way to collect information about what the userbase of OpenSuse really wants.

  8. Virgil Leisure

    I have been a loyal user of Suse for over 10 years and I am not happy with the present situation. I use 11.0 upgraded and it works for me. Why would I change and lose what I like about my Linux desktop and take a step backward. Show me the improvement. Looks like I would be a loser without support for graphics and media like smplayer,NVIDIA Dock, SAX2 etc. Tell me I am wrong and I will install 11.3 and tell me why I would be better off installing it.I have been a Suse booster for years, but !!! I feel like it has been a force it down your throat attitude with 11.3. You definitely need more input from ALL your supporters.I am glad you are addressing this issue and know there will be solutions to this and I am patient.

  9. I too have been using OpenSuSE since distro 6.x after throwing Red Hat in the trash.SuSE worked the first time around, and I was hooked. We are a collective, like the Borg. It has worked well but eventually we need direction. Time to elect a Ceasar and let him rule. You all have an opportunity here to make OpenSuSE pay off very handsomely. It is time to quit the childish t-shirt business and start marketing Ivy League long sleeved shirts with my beloved lizard on the pocket. I don’t want Polo, I want Lizard! We need to start manufacturing or make alliances with laptop and desktop manufacturers for our own line of computing hardware. The OpenSuSE brand is famous world wide and you are all pissing it off! If we work it right, we will be able to buy Novell, and get some of us a decent shirt on our backs. Time to stop listening to the whining cry babies out there and start listening to paying customers. I mean, does that make sense to you?

    Sure OpenSuSe runs on 486s with 128 meg of ram. But guess what? There are no more 486s. Keep it small and modular yes, but also keep it current. There are many new gadgets coming out running Android OS and Web OS. I know. I just bought a 7″ tablet from China called MID. I love the damned thing. But, as I have found out time and time again, Web and Android have trash apps. Really! Show me my network neighborhood, Let me remote desktop to a computer on the net. Give me some some meat! Where is the beef with these OSs? Now if I could run OpenSuSE on these machines, hot damn, great!! So let’s have a little vision out there and get ready for the future. Yeah, sure, keep your faded jeans, dirty tennis shoes, long hair, etc. But at least save face and “have a lot of fun” with a lot of money in your pocket.

    Rod Donovan

  10. John Hudson

    Here’s my twopennorth, as we say in the North of England:

    To enable people across the world to benefit from the development of free and open source software by supporting the development of an internationally accessible and high quality range of software for devices from mobiles to near enterprise standard hardware which will
    A provide a satisfying user experience for users by:
    1 drawing on the strengths of the SUSE enterprise distributions
    2 enabling ease of configuration whatever the technical expertise of the user
    3 offering a wide range to software to meet the diverse needs and preferences of users
    4 providing support appropriate to the technical expertise of the user
    5 encouraging the user to identify with and contribute to the openSUSE community;
    B provide a satisfying experience for developers by:
    1 drawing on the strengths of the SUSE development teams
    2 enabling developers from all parts of the world to join and participate in developing and/or adding to the software provided under the openSUSE banner
    3 supporting teams of developers in managing their projects
    4 creating opportunities for developers to receive support and constructive feedback on their work
    5 encouraging developers to identify with and contribute to the openSUSE community as well as to their own projects.

  11. Deanjo

    Optimize, optimize, optimize. I could only dream of an openSUSE that concentrates on giving the “best bang for the buck”. Things were improved with items such as the desktop kernel but then did a 180 when they got rid of utilities like SaX. I could care less about “social networking”, hell a cheap ass cell phone does that well enough. Give me more tools to exploit the hardware found in my system. One thing that really pisses me off in linux land is that they claim “more hardware support then windows” but when you compare what they consider “supported” to windows it is night and day. They should put a great big asterdisk with the disclaimer “supported with 1/2 the functionality of what is found in windows”. Why in this day and age are we still worried about maintaining legacy hardware that hasn’t been made in well over a decade is beyond me.

  12. AA

    What community? There is none except the corporate guidance from Novell.
    We need to focus on Quality, which seems to be an absent term.
    Why are we releasing 11.4 Milestone 1 with hundreds of serious bugs in 11.3.
    Open Suse has no commitment to quality and this is where we loose faith, respect and ongoing support.
    We also follow NO Quality System based on ISO 9001-90202 – if we want to join the rest of the world in putting in place a quality system then do it based on both ISO’s above.
    What is a Quality System you may well ask – The USA is just about the only country in the world where ISO’s are followed to the letter.
    There is no community, or the community went away because no matter what we say about the function aspect of the project ever ever gets any attention. Take 11.3 – Apparmour is completely broken – good one!!!

  13. Visitor

    I do not know how i found this thread, but i was not surprised.

    I have been complaining about the same things:

    -lack of project goal
    -serious stability problems

  14. Brian

    This might be going again the general consensus of comments so far, but I like openSUSE 11.3 so much that I made it my new default distro. It’s the first version of SUSE that I actually like. Nvidia setup was the easiest by far of any version I have tried, the desktop is refined and responsive, and package management is vastly improved both in terms of speed and adding extra repos, and YaST is a real pleasure to use. I’m running 11 Linux distros, PC-BSD, and Win7 on my machine, and OpenSUSE is the only one out of the bunch that could properly detect and boot ( with a few minor tweaks ) all of my OSes. Multibooting multiple distros has been nothing but a nightmare since the introduction of GRUB2. At least OpenSUSE has adopted a sane, workable conservative approach to the boot-loader. The only real complaints I have are the lack of branded artwork and the inability of the package manager to display newly added packages when the repos are updated. Most of the SUSE branded artwork is really lame, especially compared to PCLinux. Their plymouth and E17 work in particular are outstanding. As a day to day KDE distro, I’ve yet to find a better alternative than OpenSUSE 11.3. Thanks for your efforts and keep up the good work.

  15. Visitor

    The strategy discussion really sucks. Instead of putting time and resources into fixing problems and achieving a good and stable “general purpose” distribution, wrong decisions are being made (too many people would like to have a saying in something they don’t understand) and people waste their time with useless strategy discussions. Why are openSUSE people still surprised that many users have chosen to install other distributions? It’s all fairly obvious, at least to those of us who aren’t part of the self complacent inner openSUSE circle. Get real!!!

  16. Embedded

    “The content on this page is posted by community members who are not acting for or on behalf of Novell, Inc”

    That really says it all.

    I like 11.1 it is the last KDE3.5 centric edition. I would have liked to contribute to openSuSE but it apparently just finally became Novell a while back. Joe tried but could not.

    Post a questionnaire find if people will contribute and let them. The odious process of becoming part of the defined community as created by Novell has to go. The only other choice is oblivion.

  17. Bart Otten

    “Time to elect a Ceasar and let him rule.”

    Hail Jos Poortvliet!!! Please rule us. The audience that do not like the decisions made, may leave to other distro’s. If all distro’s work that way there will be more diverse distro’s and they will be more focused towards one usergroup.

  18. Bart Otten

    openSUSE is used by many.Those many all have opinions. As too many colors make grey, too many opinions makes clueless.

    @Jos: “Who codes, decides” is one of the most stupid ‘rules’ in Open Source communities imho. The problem of most coders is that they are not (so much) interested in e.g. usability or ‘average use’. I have no codingskills but I am 100% sure I can design a better KDE SystemSettings. Too bad the programmer does not listen and he is the one that decides. Should I learn myself scripting so I can change it myself?

    All we need is a strong vision. I guess you are perfectly able to write down your own and then we can vote (yes or no)

  19. Steve.T

    I am an early adopter of desktop linux. I come from the IBM type mainframe world — where I am a developer, have done O/S level development (which is also done by ISVs), and do customer support.

    In the Linux world, I am just a computer user. I do not understand the internals of Linux. Can’t seem to find any good material on Linux internals so that I can do development. But since the company I work for has been acquired by a larger company with certain clauses in the employment agreements, I may not do any work on open source for fear of problems.

    If the Linux world wants to become more mainstream, the Linux Desktop must become easy for a Windows power user to transition. Let me explain: I should be able to use a CNC milling machine without having to know how to build a bootstrap loader and a special module to drive the nixie lights (ok, for those of you not that old, the diode display matrix). At the same time, I should be able to come up to speed on tweaking the system and knowing exactly where log files get written for which system, etc.

    Personally (and as a consultant) I use OpenSuSE as a desktop/laptop O/S and I use it for a Server O/S (and push clients and friends toward Linux as well). I am an SMB or SOHO (Small to Medium Business / Small Office – Home Office). I use another Linux based system for a Firewall (it is totally designed and built to that end — so why mangle a SuSE distro into a firewall?).

    Now let me speak to RAS (Reliability, Availablilty, Serviceability). I need RAID to work for 64bit DURING the install. 11.1 and 11.2 failed in that area. Everyone was pushing to close the bugs for the RAID failure, but was it fixed? The answer is, NO, 11.2 was still just as broken. I do not have time to install 11.3 to find out if RAID is working until somewhere close to the end of November.

    Next issue: Why is it that I install third party software so that I can use Windows Media Player files only to have it broken by the .rpm process in installing some patch? Why is it that I get flash installed and it works, and then a week later it is broken because I installed a patch?

    Better question: Why is it that when maint was done to the servers, I can no longer auto refresh because of URLs that must be broken?

    It seems that unless one eats, sleeps, and breathes OpenSuSE, they get left behind.

    So if OpenSuSE is supposed to be the bloody edge of Linux tech, let me know. I’ve worked in this area for a long time in mainframes and I’ve paid my dues. I want something that works and upward compatability is somewhat maintained. I want a system I can point friends to and get them out of the Windoze insecure systems. If OpenSuSE is not going to be that…

    And, if the rumor is true, that Oracle is going to buy Novell, and if OpenSuSE is tied to Novell, what does that mean for the OpenSuSE community?

  20. rnd

    Totally agree with Jack.
    It seems that OpenSuSE is the pre-QA of Novell’s servers. It seems that OpenSuSE will contain exactly what is planned for SuSE servers.
    Also the quality of OpenSuSE proves this point. 10.x buggier than 11.x and 11.2 buggier than 11.3.
    It seems that the backward compatibility start to suffer and that OpenSuSE is behind other Linux Distros.
    All this *Opensuse* planning is pure and simple a Red Herring.

    Jack’s comments …..
    The strategy process comes through as a Novell strategy and not a Opensuse strategy. Like it or not – Quite a few remains committed to Opensuse not because of Novell but despite of Novell. Recent Novell/Opensuse history shows signs of “throwing some bones and keep the turkey” tactics and the strategy process merely serves as a reminder.
    Corporate are clever, but they should never forget that the community consists of some rather smart people too. Time to act accordingly.

  21. Joseph

    Jeez, to read the comments on here, it seems it was a good idea to not solicit advice from the community, because the community hates OpenSuse with a passion! They’re convinced it’s bug-riddled and Novell is coming to steal their children!

    OpenSuse is so awful… well, it’s so awful it’s the first time since I’ve first bought a copy of Caldera Linux that I’ve found a distribution that just works out of the box for me and lets me do everything I was doing before with Windows. It’s so awful that my “test” install of OpenSuse that I was expecting to bang on and need to reinstall and reinstall has functioned so well it’s kept me out of Windows for six weeks. It’s been completely stable and nothing I’ve done has managed to mangle the system into non-bootability. I’d just made a serious attempt to leave Windows with another distro (Sabayon) and finally gave up after my 14th system lock-up… and the two updates that prevented X from starting, one of which also generously gave anyone root access without the password. I was about to go buy Windows 7 instead when I made one last trip to Distrowatch and started from number 1 on their list and worked my way down to find the first distro I hadn’t tried yet and hadn’t heard bad things about. I ended up on OpenSuse, which had just seen the 11.3 release 3 days before. It hooked me from the powerful, flexible and easy install onwards. I’ve found a few issues, but nothing that required hours of google-hunting for answers. Other than one tweak of fstab after I deleted/created some partitions, I haven’t even needed to manually edit config files! Even with my most recent Linux trials on my 10 year toying with Linux, every other solution to a problem has been of the “edit /etc/modules.d, edit xorg.conf” variety.
    YAST also made it simple for me to set default sound cards (using discrete card for speakers, onboard sound for headphones), a problem that on Sabayon was driving me mad and saw me editing half a dozen different config files to try to solve. Now I can easily switch sound sources.

    Someone donated to me an old laptop with a 1.8GHz Sempron, 512MB of memory and a 4800RPM 75GB hard drive because it was “useless”. It was horrible with XP because XP loves to use the page file and disk access grinds the system to a halt. I put OpenSuse on it and got it tweaked to the point where I was able to bring it on a trip and even used it to play 720p video (at 100 CPU utilization!). I’m still tweaking to try to improve battery life and a few things, but it’s definitely given the laptop new life.

    It pains me to see all the Suse-hate here. The only strategy the “community” wants is bring back KDE 3.5 or maybe go full-command line or write screeds about Novell that would make the Unabomber smile. The strategy documents you have up now are mature and adult and workable. Like the “Status Quo” proposal states, Suse is neither antiquated nor so bleeding-edge it’s unstable (all of my other Linux experiences fit one or the other of those). It’s a full, complete desktop OS that enables one to do everything they want or need. Maybe the real message here is that there isn’t much of an OpenSuse “community” after all???

  22. Gerry

    I’m with Joseph on this one. I’ve been using openSUSE and predecessors since Autumn 1999 – I’ve been a bit annoyed by a few things over the years (especially when I used to pay £40 for the boxed version) and I think 11.0 was a bit of a lemon but everything just keeps getting better.

    11.3 is sweet, I’ve not experienced problems that were not solved by removing nouveau (but I’m hoping to go back there).

    As for strategy, at risk of racial stereotyping, I think the Germanic preference for good engineering openSUSE has currently got seems fairly OK:

    – not turning off the journalling of a journalling file system in order to seem a little bit faster)

    – hardware detection (don’t actually understand why openSUSE is better than other distros)

    – continual improvement of package installation (1-click install, zypper)

    – YaST (which seems to cause an aneurysm in some, for some reason)

    All you can eat (terminal, IceWM, Xfce, KDE, GNOME…) although I’ve only ever used KDE or the terminal

    love care and attention to KDE :)

    lovely artwork

    What’s to change?

  23. Erich Friesen

    I have been a SuSE user since version 5.2 or so (October 1998) and I can say that everything has always taken two steps forward and one step backwards, so from the historical perspective, maybe this is just what has always been happening.

    However there is a change that I sense in 11.2 and 11.3 and it is this: whereas prior editions of SuSE may have added some graphic front-end that made set-up decisions for you, there was an effort to always let those tools be somewhat under the control of the user. SAX and SAX2 were examples of this. Under 11.2 for example I could still set up my wacom tablet or input exactly the values for my monitor. This reminded me of the way the old YAST started to have a module to handle the set up of my scanner, which prior to that had to be done directly using SANE. But I could still see what was going on.

    So the question I would ask is: Is this lose of control purposeful, by design, or was it accidental. If accidental, the causes of the accident should be carefully scrutinized, The SuSE I know did not try to hide things from its users. That’s what Microsoft does.

    One the KDE vs Gnome, I prefer KDE. But what happen to blackbox and openbox?

  24. Joseph

    Will :

    OpenSuse configures X automatically now. Is it really going to lose people by doing more automatically? Removing the need for said low-level utilities in the first place is the ultimate simplification. The 99% of the desktop world that doesn’t use Linux doesn’t need to edit a text file to set their graphics resolution or select a mouse driver. OpenSuse can only gain by advancing technology.

  25. Nick

    “SLED and SLES is what business users should be encouraged to use and leave openSUSE for the rest of us.”


  26. Nick

    “And, if the rumor is true, that Oracle is going to buy Novell, and if OpenSuSE is tied to Novell, what does that mean for the OpenSuSE community?”

    As far as I am informed the community, if it exists, is independent from Novell. On the other hand there is Debian.

  27. Naah

    The only problem is: The way it is now, you *have to* fiddle with text files if the automatic setup doesn’t succeed.

  28. Denislav Radoslavov

    All is disappointed from openSUSE 11.3, this is continues from version 11.1. I use SuSE from version 8.2 and situation very bad. Not must cutting DVD distribution (SaX2 and etc.) because will become like Mandriva – very little users. When users ftom strats install openSUSE CD time press and have lerning, it passes of openSUSE DVD and acquire knowledge. After starting work in company, first necessary will pass of SLES. From openSUSE 11.1 you interrupt this process and now wonder what’s up !!! Must have wide support hardware, graphics settings tools, including in YaST (or will it interrupt), user manual, seminars and courses available for users and advanced users. Though they do not want from Novell this is path.

  29. codi

    Non profit research center, about 400 Suse systems (SLES, openSUSE on Desktops, Servers, HPC cluster)

    This is what we like about openSUSE (and SLES):

    * it is a general purpose, both Gnome and KDE are well supported. Can make all users happy.
    * openSUSE has longest support cycle of all major non-enterprise distros
    * use SLES for webservers and stuff that needs to run for a long time. Use openSUSE for other stuff. Works well together
    * SLES is has generally pretty current software (unlike redhat/centos)
    * most packages actually work (downside is they are more customized than in other distros, thus harder to update.

    This is what we do not like:
    * documentations and howtos are usually written by knowledgeable people but they are often outdated.
    * yast modules are scattered around, no newbee can find anything, menu search is great (:-))
    * setting up a static IP address is so counter-intuitive that you want to cry … too many options, dns and default gateway under separate tabs (called routing?
    * even after many years KDE does not work properly with secure wifi (WPA/PEAP/MSCHAP2 -> cisco access points)
    * why is there no official AMAZON AMI?

    Strategy advice: stay as general purpose as you can, get missing packages from mandriva, add frequently used packages from build.opensuse.org to the standard distro (not many people know about the build farm). continue to work on meta-distribution strategy. Look at microsofts’s server role configurator and offer something similar.

  30. Jack

    You have totally missed the point. It’s not really about Xorg this or Gnome that.

    It’s about lots of people who want OpenSUSE to be a vital and viable alternative to other operative systems and Linux distribution.

    The question is how to improve OpenSUSE, improve the reputation of OpenSUSE (It’s good but there’s always room for improvements) and increase the involvement of the users.

    Obviously there is disagreement and discussions wrt how targets are met. To get there one need to establish targets to meet and a strategy on how to get there.

    Trying to make this a debate about “everybody hates us” as soon as opinion deviates from the “right one” in your head is utterly stupid.

    No need to derail the debate – It derails itself. Doesn’t need your helt for that.

    This is about making OpenSUSE better – not about hate.

  31. Anonymous

    I went from 11.1 and KDE 3.5 to 11.3 and KDE 4.4. 11.3 with KDE 4.4. is very stable here. I don’t get the complaints. This machine is running 24/7 and it is very stable.

    I just want openSUSE to continue to support users like me a home desktop user. I don’t need bleeding edge I need stability.

    I for sure don’t want openSUSE to make the mistakes Mandriva made.

    Making upgrades between versions work. Having to do a new install to move from 11.3 to 11.x to have a good install is not so great.

    The openSUSE community is great. We need to keep it up and enhance it. The Forums are fantastic.

  32. chika

    Hmm… yes. 11.3 rammed down my throat. I suppose so, especially with the removal of some parts. I have an Acer Aspire One netbook that needed some serious patching after it got 11.3; patching that was also required back when it was originally loaded with 11.1. This is stuff that I expected to have been addressed by now.

    That’s before I even touch on my perennial gripe about the demise of KDE3, just because somebody thought that 4 was at least as good. It isn’t, IMHO, but I’ll leave that for now. It just makes me feel, on occasion, that Novell/openSUSE is trying to treat me exactly like M$ does. I started using SuSE around v6.4 because RedHat were beginning to make that same mistake. That’s a lot of years, but it comes back to the same thing.

    I congratulated openSUSE on the release of 11.1. I still think that it’s the best version so far, even though I don’t have a system running it right now (mt main system is 11.2, my netbook is 11.3 and I’m typing this on a laptop running 11.0 – to those that have sneered about supporting old hardware, some of do still use it and get somewhat annoyed when the OS upgrade breaks compatibility. That’s what I expect of Windows, NOT Linux!) As someone has already pointed out, openSUSE should not be blindly marching towards the next version when so much is wrong with the version we are currently on.

  33. MzK

    Well…frankly, I see “strategizing” as a necessary evil however it’s defined — “goals”, “objectives” “long term planning”. I mean without SOME sort of focus, we’re what exactly. From what I’ve looked at so far, it’s not bad. Looking over the first two Additional Strategy (???) proposals. Why “additional”, why not *MAIN*!. Why would a “home for developers” rank about “users”. Maybe this is part of the problem — who cares what the developers need if no one’s using the distribution. Just a cursory little thought there. Anyway, I see the following in “For the Productive Power User”

    We need to be excellent in the following

    * Making sure as much as possible just works out of the box
    * Having good and sane defaults so the user can do what he wants to do
    * Focus on providing tools for being productive/creative (IDEs, editors, authoring tools, graphics manipulation, office productivity, etc.)
    * Providing admin tools that are powerful yet (reasonably) easy

    On the very first one, I’m like — WHOA! this is a goal for power users? Why not everyone! I bring this up, because, still, at this stage of the game, things in fact DO NOT “just work” out of the box. A recent post to linuxquestions.org shows the same old, old problem with openSuSE — sound! For some reason, the initial sound settings — command line system integrated with KDE STILL do not work flawlessly…why not? Why do I have to futz with my sound setup every single time I do an install? What is going on? I hate this, a lto fo peopel hate this. If the “default” sound setup does not integrate immediately with KDE, as well as say “.wav” files, and youtube, then something is really really wrong. Working multimedia should be a TOP priority!

    On the second point…what does the central board even mean by this? Defaults for what exactly? hmmmm…I’m a bit afraid here…how do you know what I want to do?

    At the very least the “community” should concentrate on the first tow “additional” goals — a super KDE interface and many of the goals in the power user category, which brings me too…

    many of us have helped in other open source venues, and would really LIKE to help openSuSE. Much of this “helping” occurs on the wiki, whose intricacies are well, as clear as mud. No good documentation on how things are set up, what the various “portal areas” really mean, and how to make good contributions. If you really want help “from the community” much more information needs to be given on how to go about this.

    OK, I’ve really gone way over my .02 here! Been using SuSE since 2001, have learned a lot and think it’s a good distro by and large, but please, we need to make more real progress!

  34. Erich Friesen

    That is exactly it, Joseph, this does not need to be either/or. That is why SuSE has been great–even when things got automated, the abiity of a user to tweak thing if he or she wanted to wasn’t taken away.

    For example, in 5.2 I had to use ISAPNP dump to generate the text file that I had to edit to get my sound card to work. Eventually, this was handled by YaST, but I could could still select the IRQ used if I wanted to.

    I have no problem with SuSE automatically configuring X. (By the way, this is nothing new. The last time I had to mess with XFREE86setup was 7.1 or so. So SuSE has been automatically configuring X since 2001 or so.)

    What I am complaining about is the idea that SuSE will ONLY automatically configure X. The addition of the word only is absolutely key. So please bring back SAX2. IF I want it to automatically configure X that is fine, I won’t use SAX2. But if I want more control, I can use SAX2. Of course, I can always edit the Xconfig text file, but I would rather not do that.

  35. notanativeenglishspeaker

    I like openSUSE, I am using Suse since 9.2 for the usual stuff like writing e-mail, surfing the internets, manipulating pictures and so on. Most of the time everything just works. But I feel, really this is just a feeling, that openSUSE tries to mimic Windows and I don’t like that. I am using Linux because I want something different from Windows. The Suse-hackers try to make things easy for the user, but please don’t try to make it idiot-proof. Do not focus on the DAU but on the average user. I, personally, don’t want “my” openSuse to become another Windows, I prefer “my” openSUSe to be a Linux.

  36. Steve.T

    Point of clarification: I do not hate SuSE. I have worked with several distros. I am still using SuSE and not Debian, Mandriva, Slack, etc.

    The software patch/upgrade that YAST provides is good stuff!

    But I need stability and when I’ve got systems running RAID for disaster recovery reasons, I don’t want to have to do the install, then run the recovery from a 10.3 to get 11.x to work right.

    And the point about sound that someone else made — right on! I have one system that I have had to reconfigure the sound every time it is rebooted. It is finally working correctly after the 7th go around with this.

    The users I support have no idea what is going on. And I spend hours trying to fix it.

    What I want, and what I expected was stability. I know that when a product is associated with a production product, mostly the non-production works really well. If this is not to be the case, let me know and I will stay two releases back so I can maintain stability.

  37. AA

    Steve – I was once a TPF/DB Analyst on both Unysis and IBM. You will make the transition to becoming a very Linux Savy guy. The Open version is ahead of the Enterprise….Novell gets to try its next service pack for its Enterprise Linux by getting its free testers and bug fixes from the Open Version. Those features in the Open Version which have the most bug fixes and new stable enhancements are applied much later to the Enterprise Product. – Good luck – The Kernel can immediately address all RAM with out the memory restrictions if M.S and without its memory jugglers and there is a version of Enterprise Suse Linux that runs on IBM Z/Series available right now and for the past year or so

  38. antonio


  39. Phill

    I’ve had a good read of all the above comments and see what I think are perfectly reasonable and valid complaints about certain areas of opensuse, such as documentation for one, however, remember that this is a community project with the vast majority of users paying nothing for their operating system. Whilst I appreciate that not everybody is a developer and thus can’t write programs or do their own bug fixes, the fact you can install linux and write your complaints on this page means you could well be helping to write new documentation that is up to date. As for issues with the removal of certain packages, again, it’s worth remembering that there is only so much development time available to build software, test it, bug fix it, rebuild it, test it etc until a fairly stable distribution results and is ready for publishing, yes, I liked KDE 3.5 a lot, but I’ve adjusted to KDE4 perfectly well and if it upset me enough, I could always build KDE3.5 myself from source and package it, then stick it in a repo (if this hasn’t been done already). I’m currently writing this on 11.3 which I’ve installed since my main desktop won’t boot from my Windows 7 DVD which works fine in my other 3 machines, I’ve swapped bits of hardware and Win7 still wont boot (I’m genuinely perplexed as I ran it before) but once again, opensuse came to the rescue on my very modern hardware. I am an IT consultant who works on linux servers all day, every day, and to be honest all I want from a desktop distro is hassle free computing, so far 11.3 hasn’t disappointed me, I only needed yast once to install a couple of -dev packages to build amsn. As for the bugs in opensuse and us doing the testing for SLED/SLES, that’s exactly right and how it should be, if you don’t want to be part of that, pay for SLED/SLES, and I recommend taking a look at Fedora if you want an example of a distro bundling broken crap to test on it’s users, despite my in depth knowledge of linux, I simply can’t be arsed to do the amount of fix work required by FC, but I think Opensuse does a pretty solid job for a testing platform. The community could certainly do with getting more involved in beta testing the milestone, alpha, beta and RC releases, file your bug reports early and enjoy a more solid product at the end, again, this kind of process doesn’t require you to be a developer, just a tester who contributes a little. There are plenty of very stable operating systems in the world with a price tag, if you want guaranteed results, pay for it, if you are happy to be part of the open source/not paying for your software club, then get more involved. As for who I think opensuse should be targeting, I think moderate users to power users primarily. Ubuntu already covers the newbies, Redhat covers the pro’s (super stable, but fairly rudimentary configuration tools), Debian and Slackware cover those who like to tart around for days before getting any work done. Opensuse, I have found anyway, is a good distro for me to install and 30 minutes later, get on with my work with some youtube in the background, bloody brilliant.

  40. the evil

    After reading all those comments I wonder if the “community” knows about the term “community” itself and its meaning and if the community has an understanding of it. Deeply.

  41. John

    I endorse that sentiment … SLED and SLES for Business … and let Oracle rape and pillage to their hearts content. I have used SuSE since v 4.8 as the families computing environment. We have a swag of old and decrepit computers in our house … it could be hailed as a rich IT environment, however it was made possible by the community, and openness of the development path that openSuSE took to get where it is now. I say hold true to the OSI ideals … Oracle, Apple, M$, have a different mindset … they care less for the client than they do for the wad of notes in their pocket, they are the dinasaur here… OSI is the meteor that they know is coming, and cant do anything about.

    I also like Jacks comment above about Corporate being clever … might I add that they are only as good as the sum of the talent they have working for them, and they really really do need to note that down as lesson number one. If the pee enough of the talent off they might find they have a paper empire indeed.

  42. Corey

    First, thank you for all the great software over the last decade (a SuSE user since 98)… and now, my two cents.

    I won’t repeat much of what has been said but if you’re seeking solid product identity, dropping GNOME would be a good start. Splitting your development to support multiple interfaces is a big mistake (neither M$oft nor A**le do do it) and a drain on your resources. The time, effort and $$$ is much better spent making KDE your signature product (besides, GNOME pretty much belongs to UbUn2) instead of being another me-too Linux.

    I’ve been and IT consultant for nearly 3 decades and I’ve spent half that time waiting for a Linux distribution I could put into a production environment (not so much to put in Linux but to lower costs) and still nothing. And the reason?? Too much talk, not enough action.

    Keep it simple. Pick an interface and make it super slick, stable and ready for prime time, generate a (limited) hardware compatibility list and put it out there (for SLED) even if it means making a deal with the devil… or De77. After that’s done, build a bunch of drivers for the community (beggars can’t be choosy… I’m a beggar too so don’t flame me) and generate some revenue. The more you generate, the better off the community will be (it’s simple economics). There will be those in the community who get steamed but really… we all try every decent distro that comes out anyhow so let’s not kid ourselves.

  43. beurtbalkje

    I absolutely agree with you. Although I can only speak as a KDE desktop-user with a five year old PC. There is to me no better distro around. I’m even happy with the changes made (I even call them progress, but that’s because they work for me).

    And concerning Novell: being linked to a company is not just a bad thing. Perhaps we can learn from Ubuntu in that prospect. What did good old Mark say, if I remember correctly: Ubuntu is not a democracy but a meritocracy (Is that even pronounced right?). We should be not over democratic, we need a good team within the community and for the community, to set goals and a direction.

  44. Dear Steve,

    OpenSUSE is a compilation of thousands of software packages, developed by thousands of developers. Only a few in Novell and such. There are great guys at Novell, but there are much better one all over the world commited to their own projects and jobs.
    When you say: “Now let me speak to RAS (Reliability, Availablilty, Serviceability)”, SMB or SOHO (Small to Medium Business / Small Office – Home Office), have you learn something usefull on those crash courses. OpenSource is also about attitude.
    You seriouly need to read documentation about the software you use (using linux you will read a lot).
    I use, installed OpenSuse in better mainframes that probably you will never see in person, and it’s not about stability of opensuse, it’s about stability of every software package you use. opensuse is just a tool to ease management of software packages. Now it’s up to you to search for RAS (Reliability, Availablilty, Serviceability). LOL…

  45. Patrick

    Hi every body,
    I am a simple user interested by Süse since a long time (Süse 6.4 ?).I paid the original german distributions, especting to help… and paid two of the Novell tinted versions, too. I just want to say that for me, KDE is sucking with this version 4, even more looking like MSW (that is un-understandable), even needing more resources to run; Open Suse is KDE first… and this is the reason why I look for an other distribution.
    Hoping to help…

  46. AlbertoP

    This is simply not what users expect from a distribution. The role of a distribution is not simply to put pieces together. It is exactly to ensure that those pieces work well together and to limit the problems the user will meet. If a distribution does not do this, it fails, because it does not reach its fundamental goal of integrating the tools by whom it is composed.

    On another note, talking with a user on IRC some point came into the talk. In these years openSUSE tried to be a lot of things. It tried to be everything to everyone, to be a desktop distribution, a friendly distribution, a versatile distribution, a server distribution… The problem is that in doing all this, openSUSE did not try to be simply…openSUSE. It did not try to build its own identity, it actually did a lot to change what SuSE used to be to many, in an attempt to become something else, which was not clearly defined.
    I think the strategy should be oriented to give openSUSE an identity, which does not have to be the identity SuSE had, since times have changed, needs have changed. However, that identity has to be clear, and possibly different from the identity of other projects. Defining an identity cannot make everybody happy, but it is not important. Someone will leave, other people will come, if they will find a positive environment and a goal they share. This, in the end, will be positive, and hopefully it will bring some fresh air to the community too.

  47. AlbertoP

    My comment was in reply to Luis Freitas… sorry.

  48. So where’s the beef? Are we all making money with OpenSuSE? I’m beginning to think that maybe we need new blood. Maybe we need to start running SuSE like a business. People contribute, contribute, and contribute. Bragging rights are really cool, but they do not feed anyone. We should maybe put some pay structure for our beloved programmers. Android and Web OS has their developers make a couple of bucks for their software. Maybe we could make money by bundling software packages and charging a small production fee. OpenSuSE would have some revenue that would trickle down to the programmers. If you don’t want to charge for software, then you have to sell product to market your brand. We really need to get together and make a buck here. Woo Hoo!! BZFlag is up….laters.