OpenSUSE numbering convention

We’re currently part way through the 11-series of OpenSUSE, and most of the previous versions went up to X.3, with a few to X.2 or X.4

What I’m not clear on is what constitutes a major version number. What will make a future version of OpenSUSE version 12.0 instead of 11.3 or 11.4?

I work in a company that produces software, and our software has “major” and “minor” releases. Minor releases are more like patches and require minimal effort to upgrade, while a major release is a significant upgrade, often without a direct migration path.

More familiarly to many people would be a game like World of Warcraft, where each major release is an expansion pack and each minor release is a download patch.

The distinction is less clear for most Linux’ including OpenSUSE, as most releases can be upgraded relatively easy.

To my mind, the “big” things that have happened to OpenSUSE that might have constituted a major release number could have been:

  • The move to KDE 4 (11.0) or removal of KDE 3 (11.2)
  • The migration to the OpenSUSE Build Service (11.1)
  • Using Ext4 as the default file system (11.2)

The first and third of these would probably require a clean install to get the best from the desktop, the second is more in the background and invisible to most users.

In the future, maybe Gnome 3.0 will be the next big thing (11.3?), but what about after that?

Every new release of OpenSUSE feels like a great leap forward in terms of functionality and useability. Does anyone have any thoughts on this?

This has been discussed often. As technical people I can follow your idea about major and minor, but even then endless discussions, if things like having ext4 as default (and that only for new installs) is a major or not, may start.

In normal live this more is influenced by marketing politics and has almost nothing to do with major/minor. Just check what the differences are and decide for yourself if it is worth to switch to the next level.

Great that you find each release better. I sometimes wonder… SuSE 8.2 was pretty good in it’s day, though downloading big updates like new KDE3 version to install rpm’s by hand, was not nearly as nice as using repositories (though it was a lot harder to hose yr machine then).

KDE4 could be installed on a KDE3 machine without even a reboot (I tried it on 10.3 for example). ext4 can be used on older releases via kernel and e2fsprogs update (possibly GRUB to for ext4 /boot partition) which would need a reboot, then mkfs(8) to create ext4 filesystem, or tune2fs(8) to convert an ext3 filesystem to use extents.

There is no rational meaning to use of 10, or 11; and huge changes can occur between any release. The major number is just changed every few years, the next release is 11.3. No idea if the next one will be 11.4 or 12.0.

agree with Henk–in my mind the openSUSE numbering system has a LOT
more to do with the calendar than with the software…that is:

not too long in the future someone will say: "It has been seven months
since we changed the number, so next month we will release whatever is
in “factory” as 11.3

don’t believe me: it is mapped out, see:

or, maybe some think the roadmap/lifetime maker(s) have a crystal ball
and know what new features will dictate increased numbering on a
future date certain (or near certain)


Well it is semi predictable, but yeh it seems openSUSE’s numbers are chaotic compared to how other distros number things.
Like Ubuntu and Mandriva, they both seem to have a good map on how they are numbered.
In Ubuntu you have a .04 and a .10 release, in Mandriva since 2006 you have a .0 and a .1 release, .04’s and .1’s release in Spring and .10 and .0’s release in fall.
In my own personal opinion I think Ubuntu probably has the best numbering scheme as its real easy to remember, so you know in April you will get a .04 release and in October you get a .10 release.
Not saying that openSUSE should switch to a 6 month release cycle, but maybe after the 11 series is done it could just stick to a planned numbering scheme.

Versions are just for marketing, they don’t mean much. … words of a SUSE dev when I asked about it almost two years ago

Basically when they get to .2 or .3 the marketing people ask themselves: is it time to bump the major number and reset the minor to .0? IIRC they only reached .4 once (not sure and too lazy to look it up). The Enterprise people may also have a say in it now, as those major numbers are somewhat in parallel.

It has always been rather arbitrary, even back in the days of S.u.S.E.

Was it slackware itself that skipped five or so versions, just so it didn’t feel left behind? Might’ve been Debian.

Silliness. :stuck_out_tongue:

ETA- nope, it was slackware:

So I suppose, as a slackware derivative, we have good form on stuffing up the numbering! Roll on version 6.229!

It was slack. From 4 to 7.

Well, nowadays, openSUSE numbering system is closely related to the Enterprise product development cycle.

SUSE Linux Enterprise 11 = SUSE 11.0, 11.1, 11.2 and 11.3.

The x.0 release is a “base” that bring the major components for SLE, while x.1, which will serve as the foundation of SLE X, includes more specific features useful for the enterprise market.

In a nutshell, SLE 11 has a development cycle of ~3 years, which matches with the 11.x openSUSE development cycle.

Wonder if there will be a 13 release or if the superstitious people get a say in it and it will be skipped.

Well slack seems to have the guts for it

Confuseling wrote:
> Was it slackware itself that skipped five or so versions

the first NT was 3.1


And SUN Microsystems?

They have (had?) a Unix system called SunOS. Then the guys from marketing invented the name Solaris. But of course, doing *uname -a *you still saw the old name and also the version numbering increased with each new version of Solaris, but in its own pace.

We always tried to tease non technical people by talking about SunOS rotfl!. We even had a sort of conversion algorithm, but this extract from Wikipedia says it all:

On September 4, 1991, Sun announced that it would replace its existing BSD-derived Unix, SunOS 4, with one based on SVR4. This was identified internally as SunOS 5, but a new marketing name was introduced at the same time: Solaris 2.[4] While SunOS 4.1.x micro releases were retroactively named Solaris 1 by Sun, the Solaris name is almost exclusively used to refer to the SVR4-derived SunOS 5.0 and later.[5]
The justification for this new “overbrand” was that it encompassed not only SunOS, but also the OpenWindows graphical user interface and Open Network Computing (ONC) functionality. The SunOS minor version is included in the Solaris release number; for example, Solaris 2.4 incorporated SunOS 5.4. After Solaris 2.6, Sun dropped the “2.” from the number, so Solaris 7 incorporates SunOS 5.7, and the latest release SunOS 5.10 forms the core of Solaris 10.

6.4 was a biggy introducing Reiserfs with 2.2 kernel.

I think 7.0 then introduced YaST2 making it graphical for first time, with 7.1 bringing the 2.4.0 kernel (for early adopters) and 2.2 for those who wanted solidity. In practice, the SuSE 2.4 kernel performed quite well from the go, and was I think the most common configuration with USEnet users.

The Ubuntu scheme very conveniently let them hide how new on the block they were. Version 7.04 sounded much more mature than a version 2, when you’re up against RHEL & SLED/SLES, though they’re still struggling in commercial revenue terms, despite their great popularity with Win Refugee user’s.

There’d probably be a retro-chic in saner technical version numbering, for the distro probably changes to YaST & rpm management stack make more sense than external things, which generally are compatible with older releases.

Far too kind, I called it Slowaris, because the new fangled system with “efficiency” features could not even drive a serial line at faster than 9,600 Baud, which meant it wasn’t fit to offer dial up via modem’s.

It took from 2.0, till about 2.4 before it was really good enough to use on my desktop, I planned to intro 2.5; but 2.6 just came out with big improvements to multi-core scheduling and stuff that was needed for the lone Slowaris server.

I think they changed to ‘7’ to put crashiness & poor performance behind them. Bit like Win 2000 & XP.

While I was asking 2 years ago about the versioning thing, I also proposed they use a year versioning like Mandriva does (eg, 2009.1, 2009.2, etc). Most were against this (I don’t recall all details but it had something to do with Novell and its enterprise offerings). I find a versioning system based on years much easier, esp for newbies, than a normal version system. F.ex, I couldn’t tell when SUSE version 8.0 was released just by looking at the 8.0 version so I’ll have to either go look on the Net, or if I have the boxed version, try to find on it if there’s any info when it was released. If it had a year versioning, all I need to do is just look at it and it becomes pretty obvious… something like openSUSE 2009.2… ah it’s a distro from the year 2009 and it’s the second release of that year… but then again, this is just me. Others may dislike this and prefer a “normal” versioning system

And let’s not even get onto Java version numbering. %^!( marketeers.