I’m really enjoying openSUSE and I can’t understand why everyone flocks to Ubuntu when openSUSE works better out of the box, is easier to use, includes better software, is more innovative and has way better configuration utilities.
However, in the future, will openSUSE care for consumer desktop users as well? As it’s backed by Novell, one might think that office desktop users are the main target.
I’d prefer not to have to switch from my favorite distro in the future
I hope that the community and Novell does grow tired of supporting openSUSE because there’s really potential in openSUSE. The openSUSE community doesn’t make as much noise as the Ubuntu community so I hope it doesn’t go away
Can anyone comment on the future of openSUSE on consumer desktops? (Multimedia and stuff).
Why wouldn’t it make sense? Novell is getting value out of having a community supported distro to test bleeding edge software before the bits that are stable and wanted by enterprises go into their enterprise distros. Similar story with Fedora and RHEL.
Novell supports lots of software developers behind the scenes. If you look at the affiliation of contributors to say the kernel and KDE projects, many are employed by Novell (previously SuSE).
Consumer desktops are more a matter of getting deals with computer manufacturers to preinstall, that’s how Windows pretty much cornered the market, not because of any inherent quality of their software. The advent of netbooks and small portable computers has thrown the competition open again, even forcing MS to revive XP so that Linux doesn’t get the netbook market. This is the arena to watch; it was recently announced that sales of portable computers exceeded desktop computers in the US for the first time. In a sense if Ubuntu gets a foot in, it’s a win for Linux in general because it means that there are drivers for the hardware for all of us.
Marketing has not & continues to not be Novell’s strong suit. there are probably 2 cures for this:
Novell gets a whole new management team from Sr. VP up
Some bigger company that knows how to market buys Novell & does alternative No.1
As a former user of 'buntu I agree Opensuse is way better with much potential. If only it has some brilliant marketing, people would see it & use it.
openSUSE is less aimed at consumers than Ubuntu. The idea of a “consumer” right now is closer to that of a “customer” than simply a “user”.
Novell’s ultimate goal is the sale of SLED & SLES. Conversely, Canonical is trying to penetrate the market by giving the OS away and selling support. So it’s not in Novell’s interest to push openSUSE as a mass consumption product, while it is in Canonical’s interest to push Ubuntu as such. To address the example of “office desktop users”…Novell can’t stop any business from deploying openSUSE in that way, but given the choice…Novell would much rather sell SLED licenses to such a business.
What the respective communities and their members do is up to them of course. However, most of what the OP said in regard to openSUSE vs Ubuntu is just opinion. There are people who would say the opposite or substitute different distros in the two positions.
I don’t know why people mention the ‘advertising’ or ‘marketing’ of Ubuntu as being so strong. I’m not sure what’s so special about it.
They do very little advertising (if any) and their marketing moves have been pretty simple:
Have a unique sounding name, that doesn’t immediately sound “geeky” (well, unique sounding unless you’re South African)
Have a primary website that is fairly easy to use.
Recognize not everyone is a programmer nor wants to be: Encourage the whole community to be active on multiple levels beyond simply “if you want XYZ so bad, then you go code it”.
Admit the existence of and embrace the newbies.
Many other distros aren’t as strong in one or all of those areas. Although most (all?) of us can probably find some example of a newbie getting bit in the Ubuntu Forums, many distros’ communities are still worse in their dealing with newbies. Indeed, some distros’ communities even use that newb-friendliness as something to scoff at Ubuntu for…even as they complain in other threads that MS has more marketshare than it deserves. I’ve read things to the effect of, “ubuntu is for newbs, their forums are crawling with them” many times in different places.
The bulk of the noise for Ubuntu has been word of mouth, reviews in the computer press and Shuttleworth interviews. Not so much Canonical running ads.
In every market there are many different consumers and potential consumers. Only stupid companies try to grab them all because, as Michael Porter pointed out over 20 years ago, once you are a monopoly, every customer expects you to be able to supply their particular needs and that simply is not practical.
So sensible companies identify a share of the consumers or potential consumers of a product and focus their efforts on attracting and retaining that segment of the market.
Porter argued that there are three broad approaches to this: price (which in the Linux community really means the price of your Internet connection), differentiation and quality. Partly because of its heritage, it seems to me that SUSE has tended to focus on quality and it seems to me that that is the right focus for the future - the segment of the market that really does want a quality distribution. That focus also fits with the need to market SLED and SLES as quality products in the business community.
But that may not be the majority in some markets - otherwise M$ would never have got such a large share of the PC market.
Let me first state that I use OpenSUSE at home and Kubuntu at work. I also support RHEL servers and Debian servers. And a few other specialised distros. I play with other distros just out of curiosity. I’m comfortable with any Linux distro you care to throw at me, but for polish, OpenSUSE is second to none.
OpenSUSE has come from a different angle to the market. The hallmark of SUSE has been technical excellence and to make as few mistakes as possible. The tone of Ubuntu was set by bug #1 in their database: M$ has too large a share of the market (Shuttleworth). So naturally there is a difference in philosophy. OpenSUSE is the community supported distro, but with much developer effort paid by Novell, that becomes the proving ground for software in Novell’s enterprise products. Ubuntu set out to capture a large share of the beginner market, and is largely supported by the largesse of its founder. That’s actually quite commendable, it does promote Linux and OSS. Shuttleworth could easily say: forget desktop *buntu, let’s make money by selling LTS Ubuntu.
OpenSUSE, because of its ancestry of a box-set distro, with no Internet distribution, came a little late to some developments that people have to come to expect from other distros, like repositories and in-situ upgrading, but is making up for lost time quickly. These things come naturally to Debian based distros. I do appreciate being able to apt-get something obscure I need at work. On the other hand you appreciate something like YaST when you are faced with a collection of uncoordinated tools in other distros. I can always escape to the CLI, but not everybody can.
Debates about which distro is “better” eventually come down to personal taste and experiences (especially the bad ones fighting uncooperative hardware). But my opinion is that pushing a distro towards more popularity doesn’t work. A distro comes with history, culture and community and those of SUSE tend to be oriented towards polish and not popularity. I don’t care if OpenSUSE never makes it into the top 3 at Distrowatch. I do care that the developers continue to be diligent and release when ready and not be tied into 6-month release schedules.
You need to do something to be less concerned about comparisons like that. It’s only software for frigging sake. If you are happy with the software, why get upset by the “fanatics”, who are a minority anyway? Most people just get on with life.
What I was asking was rather if I can expect openSUSE to be suitable for me in the future as well. To describe myself as a user, I’m certainly a power user but I’ve grown tired of messing with Gentoo and I just want to install something that works and provides me with the software I need immediately, something which openSUSE has certainly done. I do mostly software development (Java development, mostly using NetBeans) but I do listen to a lot of music and watch a lot of films and from time to time, I play some games. I also do graphics.
Maybe the problem is that when I hear the term “office user”, I just think of an office worker using only things like OpenOffice.org and Evolution. I just hope that openSUSE can cater the needs of the more regular (less boring?) user as well in the future.
But then again… Novell IS sponsoring Banshee development and they were involved a lot with development of Compiz which is far from boring.
Sorry, but I find your question “will it continue to be suitable for me” rather odd. I don’t think anybody give you that kind of assurance (I can see it now, Novell execs have a roadmap slide at strategy meetings: Important goal: must continue to be suitable for shadewind.) All you and I can do is hope is that things continue in the same direction.
But there’s one thing to note: OpenSUSE is a community open source project, albeit supported a lot by Novell. Should Novell decide to drop support, the open source nature ensures that it can continue, though perhaps on a volunteer basis.
If that makes you nervous, then perhaps Debian is for you, because it has always been a volunteer project.
Well I think it would be silly for any management to dismiss some things as for fun only and therefore not suitable for a “work-only” distribution, because users have a knack of finding uses for seemingly frivolous things. For example, I’ve read about a place where they use 3-D desktop managers to see more information at once.
But who knows, Novell management may be silly, and volunteers have to maintain the fun things. But I don’t think so.
Well, Novell has owned SUSE/openSUSE for quite a while now, and I haven’t seen any sign of Novell losing interest in anything community driven. The opposite seems to be true. Ubuntu gets a lot of undeserved credit, but it is Novell which really does a lot for the Linux community.
Shadewind, you either need to give it a try or go elsewhere. None of us can make up your mind whether openSUSE is for you. If you try it and you aren’t comfortable with it, you can try something else. That’s the joy of Linux.