18. Mar 2013

openSUSE 12.3 Launch Feedback: we're still awesome!

Jos Poortvliet

social media logos Last week we let openSUSE 12.3 out of the gate. Like always, it was exciting and fun to see the result of so much preparation get to our users! So, how did it go and what did we learn?

Conversations

We had great conversations with you on google plus and we were very happy that 40 people joined the openSUSE team hangout on the release day! Too bad there is a limit of 10 people in a hangout - we know many of you wanted to join but couldn’t. With over 20.000 people following our Plus account it is far ahead of the 7K people in our Facebook group or the almost 6000 liking our openSUSE Page. But there were good discussions there as well - and the same on the blogs. We appreciate the feedback. Many blogs also give valuable tips to users, a selection that is very much worth reading:

Meanwhile, our openSUSE group on Google+ has still plenty of space and we’re of course also still tweeting! And a tip: we appreciate it if you re-tweet our messages to your own followers! We’ve got hundreds of plusses and shares on Google but a mere 33 retweets of our release announcement… Did you all leave twitter already? [caption id=”attachment_15553” align=”alignright” width=”300”]LAS wonders if 12.3 is an Ubuntu killer LAS wonders if 12.3 is an Ubuntu killer[/caption]

Reviews

Most major news sites spread our announcement to their readers (almost twice as much as for the 12.2 release, yay!) and we already have reviews rolling in:

geekos!

And those are just in writing. You can find 4 more reviews in video form:

Watching them is worthwhile - especially the Linux Action Show review discusses the new release deeply. They liked the communication around the release and also noted that we get our target audience by focusing on pro technologies for Desktop and Server. Here, they noted that “YaST2 is still relevant”, demonstrating some of what it can do. But they also “consider the Build Service now as one of the key features of openSUSE” and they love our rolling release repository Tumbleweed, noting that “with Tumbleweed, openSUSE is going to be the best KDE experience going forward”.

We’re happy to have gotten the attention of them and so many others all around the web, thank you! More reviews are rolling in still, both video and text. We’ll keep our Press page up to date.

The numbers

Now what many of you have been waiting for: the 24 hour statistics! openSUSE 12.2 experienced a drop in downloads. We guessed that the delay of two months with the release meant many in our community were already using openSUSE 12.2 before it was released and we also think that since we support in-place upgrades and have introduced Tumbleweed, our existing user base has less need for the official media. For this release, we didn’t have the delay, so despite the upgrades and tumbleweed, we hoped numbers would be up. And they are!

let’s start with the server data. In openSUSE 12.1 we had almost 94K downloads within the first 24 hours of the release. This went down to 65K with openSUSE 12.2, but we’re up to 75K again! KTorrent-logo

24 hours
Medium 200 302
Addon-Lang-i586 6 576
Addon-Lang-x86_64 12 352
Addon-NonOss-BiArch-i586-x86_64 29 1515
DVD-i586 681 16960
DVD-x86_64 2050 29507
GNOME-LiveCD-i686 69 3388
GNOME-LiveCD-x86_64 143 3926
KDE-LiveCD-i686 128 4126
KDE-LiveCD-x86_64 258 5912
NET-i586 34 1788
NET-x86_64 56 2808
Rescue-CD-i686 14 426
Rescue-CD-x86_64 17 480
Sum 3697 72066
75763

Also, we’ve got about another 10K downloads via torrents on top of that. An interesting thing to note is that finally, 64bit has become the dominant architecture for openSUSE: where in previous releases the balance continued to hang around 50/50, we’re now getting almost twice as many 64 bit downloads. Lessons

Lessons learned

We’re not done evaluating all that happened for 12.3, but at least we’re glad we managed to avoid most of the issues mentioned in our evaluation of 12.2. Our announcement and communication were ready in time thanks to the Marketing and Artwork hackathon, more time was spend on testing (we also organized a testing hackathon!) and our Open Build Service did not have any major issues during the release. Our servers did falter for a minute during the release, due to the heavy load - but we managed. Still, however, the ‘undirected hacking’ still means we don’t set goals in advance and we didn’t have a clear list of features until we went through all of the changes in our release - too much work for too little excitement.

So, this release is a step forward - but there is still work to be done. We surely plan to talk about ideas on improving things at the upcoming openSUSE Conference in Greece. Think about joining if you want to help out!

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