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Tumbleweed, Factory rolling releases to merge

October 24th, 2014 by

With the release of openSUSE 13.2 in November, two of openSUSE’s open-source projects, the ‘Tumbleweed’ and ‘Factory’ rolling releases will be merging, and offered as a single openSUSE rolling release under the name ‘Tumbleweed’

Factory will remain the name of the development process where openSUSE’s new developments are integrated, with the tested, user-ready rolling release assuming the name Tumbleweed from Nov. 4.

“With the release of openSUSE 13.2 due in November, we realised this was a perfect opportunity to merge our two openSUSE rolling-releases together so users of Tumbleweed can benefit from the developments to our Factory development process over the last few years,” said Richard Brown, Chairman of openSUSE board. “The combined feedback and contributions from our combined Tumbleweed and Factory users should help keep openSUSE rolling forward even faster, while offering our users the latest and greatest applications on a stable rolling release.”

Technical details for existing Factory and Tumbleweed users will be published closer to Nov. 4 to explain what steps need to be carried out to smoothly migrate to the new ‘combined’ Tumbleweed rolling release.

“The changes to the Factory release model have changed it from being an unstable development codebase into the type of rolling release I set out to create when starting openSUSE Tumbleweed,” said Greg Kroah-Hartman, Linux Kernel Developer and creator of openSUSE Tumbleweed. “I’m very happy to see these two rolling releases coming together under the name Tumbleweed, and am looking forward to watching how it develops in the future.”

Establishing Factory as the clear ‘development project’ for the ‘ready-to-use’ Tumbleweed rolling release clarifies Factory’s role as a development codebase for openSUSE software, alongside Tumbleweed as user-ready distribution with rolling, tested updates, Brown said.

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36 Responses to “Tumbleweed, Factory rolling releases to merge”

  1. Indeed. It was a bit confusing when Factory became an actual distribution, instead of an alias for next/unstable. Now it will make sense again (but cause a bit more confusion until people manage to forget “Factory” was a distribution :) ).

    • Well said. I was on Tumbleweed and moved to Factory. I was too busy for a few days and did not go through the blogs etcetera. Now, I find both are merged. I am going to do a clean install on all machines thereby wiping all old memories of the confusion from my machines and my brain:)

  2. Zarathus

    Great news! I love the name Tumbleweed for a rolling release (and of course there should by only one of those.)

  3. NMo9

    Will Tumbleweed get the different KDE repositories that Factory has? Like the Current SC & Plasma5 repos?

  4. Hi !

    Great news!! we must wait to 4th Nov to know more about that!!

    Spreading into spanish speakers!

  5. vrm

    So, there will still be a ‘factory’ and a ‘tumbleweed’. And perhaps still their betas and milestones and releases ?

    More of the same.

    • The big difference is Factory will an ‘unpublished’ integration and staging area. It will be used as the Project where contributions go to, but it’s not expected that ‘users’ will ever need to see or use Factory – they’ll use Tumbleweed, which is what Factory becomes after it’s tested and ready

      So we’re going from 2 rolling releases (Factory and Tumbleweed) to one (just new Tumbleweed)

      Factory will be assuming a simpler, clearer role as the ‘Devel project’ for Tumbleweed and our Milestones and Releases, the same way we have Devel Projects that feed into Factory.

      If you like the Factory metaphor, Factory will now ‘just’ be the conveyor belt that assembles our distributions, with ‘Tumbleweed’ and our Regular Releases being the ‘finished product’ that is output from the Factory when it’s ready for people to use.

    • greenit

      As far as I understood the post, it will switch to a release-cycle with different branches like Debian, without experimental-branch (loose packages, no way to use it as a full distro).

      Debian branches (from most experimental to stable distro):

      Experimental –> Unstable –> Testing –> Stable (–> old stable)

      openSUSE branches and in braces what they refer to (as far as I read here):

      Factory (Unstable) –> Tumbleweed (Testing) –> Stable (Stable)

  6. Cloud Han

    Is Tumbleweed stable enough for daily usage? Compare to Arch, which IMHO is stable enough

    • If by Tumbleweed you mean ‘the rolling distribution currently known as Factory’, then in my humble (if biased) opinion, yes.
      I’ve been using it daily during my trip to Beijing for the openSUSE.Asia summit and it performed admirably, covering all my ‘work’ stuff and ‘fun’ stuff like watching videos and the odd game

      I found one bug, but it’s a bug I would have found in 13.2, and certainly isn’t a ‘system breaking bug’ – those should all be caught by openQA and the Factory development process..that’s the point..and if I can find a way of getting openQA to test for that bug, we can make sure it’ll never happen again, so however stable I say it is today, it should be more stable tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow.. you cant do a rolling release right without learning how to do it better in the future.

  7. Alexandre Pereira

    Brilliant news!

    Actually have been thinking of something like this, when testing some weeks ago factory: “hum… where is the unstable repo of ‘factory’ that users can test and bug report ?”

    I guess there is now “stable rolling” -> tumbleweed and “unstable rolling” -> factory.

    Very good, congrats.

    Only disappointing about all this … is … er… this was what was asked years ago when tumbleweed was created.

    Sorry for not doing my homework and publish sources here, but in forums and even G+, there was alot of talk about this. ( especially about avoiding the dreaded thumbleweed reset of repository whenever a new stable arrived )

    • Speaking very candidly..yeah.. I remember being a vocal opponent to the ‘way’ Tumbleweed was put together, and fought very hard for Tumbleweed to be done in the kind of way the Factory rolling-release is done today. But GregKH couldn’t do it alone (I remember one of our debates on this topic ending “If you want to do it that way, go ahead..” and at that point I realised I couldn’t do it either ;) ), and it’s really taken the huge amount of work for a long time from guys like the openSUSE Team@SUSE (Thanks Coolo, Ancor, Alberto, Ludwig, Christopher, Max) to turn Factory around into the shape it now is today, where it can assume the name Tumbleweed as openSUSE’s sole rolling distribution.

      So, better late than never eh?

      • Alexandre Pereira


        Background story: I used openSUSE for some years in the openSUSE 11.x, 12.x era.

        openSUSE always had and still has one of the slickest artwork in all operating systems (i am including mac and windows also).

        Even now, the new artwork in factory and for 13.2 is simply wonderfull ( using KDE ).

        Although i mainly use Gentoo and Manjaro, I am very happy for these news, and wish for openSUSE to continue to improve.

        If i can give a suggestion, the next improvement i would love for openSUSE to have is on the multiple repository handling.

        One of the reasons I left openSUSE as primary distro (am writting this on openSUSE factory, as i am always testing it), is because repositories are always getting out of sync: some kde packages like homerun being compiled for kdelibs x+1 and kde repository only has kdelibs x version.

        Right now, i have a problem of chromium stable being version 37, and ffmpeg plugin of chromium stable in packman being 38.

        Same goes for virtualbox repositories and kernel update/module versions.

        Maybe using a solution like arch AUR, that outside of main repository, packages are compiled, or a strick version/repository check on rpms.

        I know this is a huge problem in every distro ( except gentoo :) ) and a hard task to solve, but hope you guys can solve it!

        PS: another tip is build service marketing -> as a user of open build service, really, its wonderfull, easy and works wonders. Really, you guys should to marketting for open build service more. Its really great!

  8. dvosburg

    What would be the recommended procedure for current Factory users? Switch now to the Tumbleweed repositories? or wait until 13.2 is released?

    • I would recommend current Factory users do nothing at all

      After Nov 4 Factory users should change their repositories, but they wont *have* to do anything until May 4th, when the old Factory repositories will be retired

      More details will be discussed on the opensuse-factory mailinglist, with clear published advice closer to Nov 4th.

  9. FAQ’s feedbacks, etc… here:

  10. Interesting news. I may give another chance to Tumbleweed after this merge, just to check how things are going. I also assume that this merge will mean even faster upgrades coming to Tumbleweed than what we are used to, or am I wrong?

    Meanwhile, I’m also interested about the next release (after 13.2). Do you plan to move back to a 8 month release cycle? Or will you really move to a 12 month (1 year :() release cycle from now on?

  11. Gastón Cocco

    The stages of development are better defined. I think it will increase the number of users of Tumbleweed and consequently the rate of release of versions.

  12. Joaco

    I didn’t understand what you are going to do. How you are gonna merge Tumbleweed with Factory? what do you mean with that?
    Will Tumbleweed stop existing and now the new rolling release Factory will be named Tumbleweed? In that case, what will be called Factory?
    Or will the new rolling release Factory continue existing, but apart from that Tumbleweed will be transform into a rolling release?
    I didn’t understand because first you say that you are going to merge both projects under the name of Tumbleweed, but then you say Factory will continue existing.
    Also, I wanted to know if you are going to change the development method in the new Tumbleweed. I tried Factory recently, but it wasn’t really stable, it was buggy, so I guess that, when you merge both projects, Tumbleweed will be different from what is now Factory. Am I right?

    • Tumbleweed, as a rolling-release distribution built ontop of openSUSE’s stable releases, will cease, yes

      The ‘pure’ rolling-release you currently know as Factory, will now be known as Tumbleweed

      Factory will continue to be the name for the ‘devel project’ which produces openSUSE’s Regular Releases and openSUSE’s rolling release (formerly also known as Factory, but soon to be known as Tumbleweed)

      Does this clear things up for you?

      • Andrew

        Kind of, if Tumbleweed wasn’t a rolling, stable release before, though, what was it? I thought factor was a bleeding edge dev release that you should stay away from if you wanted a stable production release. Tumbleweed would give you that, w/o the headaches of upgrading when a new packaged release (aka 13.2) was finally bundled.

        • Joaco

          Tumbleweed isn’t really bleeding edge anyway, it was just a little more updates than the stable release of OpenSUSE and it wasn’t a real rolling release, it was almost the same as using the stable release, but you didn’t have to change the repositories to make an upgrade.
          Anyway, now that they are gonna eliminate it and call Tumbleweed to the Factory’s Public Test release, I’m not sure that it will be as stable as it was before and I agree with you, the objective of Tumbleweed is to be a stable rolling release, so is it the right decision? will this new Tumbleweed be as stable?
          I mean, I like what people in OpenSUSE is doing and Factory (soon Tumbleweed) seems stable enoguh to use it without hangs and serious problems, but still has bugs and some anoying problems with the interface, at least for when I tried it out I found some of them.
          I don’t see a real point in the actual Tumbleweed, is not that different as the stable release, as I said, but if you want something stable while having up-to-date applications, then the new Tumbleweed isn’t the way to go too, unless it becomes stabler with time
          I think the best is to have something in the middle: up-to-date applications with a well proven base and user interfaces to avoid annoying bugs, something similar to what Fedora has, maybe they have one or two bugs, but they are usually minor, at least in my experience.

          • Andrew

            @Richard, any comment on this? I really liked not having to update my server release anymore. Now it seems I will need to go back to that if I don’t want bleeding edge and bugs. Is that correct?

          • Andrew, Joaco –

            This is hard to answer. On one hand, Tumbleweed shipped RC’s of the kernel (certainly not very stable!) and had not much of a testing process. The new Tumbleweed (former Factory rolling) has a strong testing process in openQA and more developers using it so bugs that seep through should be fixed sooner.

            Tumbleweed shipped updated parts from all over the stack – the ‘stable base’ wasn’t always there. On the other hand, if things didn’t work well, it was easy to go back to stable (although software might not deal with that gracefully).

            In any case, only time will tell. I think the new Tumbleweed has the potential to be both more up to date and more stable than the old one, but for that to materialize, people need to step in and help out.

  13. J.O.

    As I see it things are going back to where they were (i.e. maybe not under the hood, but ideologically yes): Factory is going to be factory, Tumbleweed will now be proper tumbleweed, stable remains stable. Good that it ended up like this :)

  14. Scott Couston

    Thank God! The heaven’s have opened and WE ALL might survive the challenge to Suse in a Global Market in a Global World that’s kinda small right now with technology. I’m one of 3 Australians who contribute something intelligible, I would hope.

    All I can say is
    Richard Brown, Chairman of openSUSE board – Just keep doing what ever your doing!
    It just might make this project viable, save and a lot of Enterprise Peoples Jobs and a larger corporation that employs thousands upon thousands, viable!

    openSUSE Starts, exists and continues because of its Enterprise Conclusion. It is to give the world a better O/S, that’s secure, safe and FAST!

    We are fortunate as we get it for Free!

  15. Peter

    i must change repository for use new tumbleweed?

    sudo zypper ar –refresh http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/openSUSE:/Tumbleweed/standard/ openSUSE:Tumbleweed

    sudo zypper ar –refresh http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/openSUSE-current/repo/oss/ openSUSE:Stable_OSS

    sudo zypper ar –refresh http://download.opensuse.org/distribution/openSUSE-current/repo/non-oss/ ‘openSUSE Current non-OSS’

    sudo zypper ar –refresh http://download.opensuse.org/update/openSUSE-current/ openSUSE:Stable_Updates

    sudo zypper ar –refresh http://download.opensuse.org/update/openSUSE-non-oss-current/ openSUSE:Stable_non-OSS__Updates

    zypper ar -f -n packman http://packman.inode.at/suse/openSUSE_Tumbleweed/ packman

  16. anamezon

    Good! I also find that “Tumbleweed” is the right name for the rolling-release version of OpenSUSE, and I’m glad that from now on I will not have to keep a look at both Tumbleweed and Factory repos to get the newest packages … so, I dup-ped successfully using the new Tumbleweed repos, and I can say that 99% of the merging went well, except for Perl-related version incompatibility issues – I lost during dup many perl 5.18.1-based modules and related packages e.g. alien, and also now I’m not not able to get the newest version of many of the modules left due to:

    “nothing provides perl(:MODULE_COMPAT_5.18.1) needed by … ” error

    What would be the way of fixing that issue? BTW, at present I am using Perl 5.20.1 provided at:


    Thanks in advance and keep up the good work!

  17. Tim Nicholson

    I’m a bit confused as to how the repos are supposed to work in practice. If you follow the upgrade instructions you end up setting the repos to:- http://download.opensuse.org/tumbleweed/repo/oss” etc, but if you download the tumbleweed DVD it sets them to:- “http://download.opensuse.org/factory/repo/oss/ ” etc. Are they symlinks to the same place now?

    Also as the update repo is a blank, how do you know if there are newer packages to install?