The Future of openSUSE: Looks pretty bright to me

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I’ll be the first to tell you I am close to clueless about business trends. Anyone who’s ever read my reaction to the Novell-Microsoft agreement can figure that out pretty quickly. That said, it’s been a week since Attachmate “agreed to acquire” (amazing phrase, that) Novell, the parent company of the SUSE Linux products, and unquestionably a major sponsor of the openSUSE community.

Since then, there’s been a fair amount of activity among the openSUSE faithful:

  • The community board released this statement declaring (among other things) that “it’s business as usual and we are continuing to work on, rather than predicting, the future of this project and have a lot of fun!
  • Last Saturday was Zombie Bug Squashing Day, where 10-15 volunteers combed through bugs for v10.2, 10.3 and 11.0 still marked Open in the Bugzilla database, and disposed of something close to half of them, as reported to the opensuse-project mailing list. This project may continue soon.
  • Both the openFATE feature request process and the openSUSE News page are becoming a bit more professional, with the help of still more volunteers.
  • And maybe I’m a little too excited about this, but Greg Kroah-Hartman announced on Tuesday the beginning of a new “Tumbleweeds” project. Greg describes it like this:

    a repo that is a rolling updated version of openSUSE containing the latest “stable” versions of packages for people to use.

    I’d describe it like this: An “in-between” version of openSUSE that offers packages that are a little bit more current than the most recent release, but not as buggy as the cutting-edge Factory repository. For those of us who like stability, but don’t want to miss out on the latest.

So what does this have to do with the Attachmate-Novell hookup? It tells me that regardless of what happens at the corporate level, there is energy in our community. There’s reason to believe that energy can sustain this distribution for a long time.

Got any thoughts about the future of openSUSE, and other community distributions with a major corporate sponsor? Add a comment here.

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