What about OpenSuSE future?

I don’t know if everyone in the community sees it the same way, but I’d say OpenSUSE/SUSE is dying out. I’m over 20 years with SUSE/OpenSUSE and when I yesterday reviewed some statistics, they more or less correlate with the feeling I have, that users are perishing off the community.

Back in the old days, people with a little bit IT skills at least some idea of what is SUSE, but these days even people in the Linux community barely know OpenSUSE/SUSE. I seems to be the same story for Open and Commercial SUSE.

Are there any projects for OpenSUSE promotion going on?

I think that if we do a serious “product marketing”, we could possibly put it on the right track. What “customer” segment do people think the OpenSUSE is good at? I personally would say, that among the Linux distros, it performs best as a common desktop. It can be used (and is around me :slight_smile: as your wife’s PC, your kids can easily learn use it too. It’s quite reliably istallable using YaST, the GUI way, not that common among other distros. We’re not getting a share of Ubuntu (linux leader by large margin) users, as they’re usually with this distro for the likes of it (unless they ended up in that community by mistakes), usually programmers and such.

I don’t want to watch OpenSUSE to die. With that in mind, I was thinking it would be great to go back to schools (where SUSE was once present, at least a bit, at least here in those parts of Europe). By that I mean volunteers would run some kind of program, which would proceed roughly in this way:

  1. Offer schools to join the program, which would promote community-driven, publicly owned software and offer a help with introduction. In this step, we’d have to explain to the schools, that OpenSUSE can be used for the IT lessons the same way they do use typically commercial operationg systems. Typically to teach kids how to create a spread sheet, a text document, typing, typography basics, graphics design basics, programming basics, cloud services, social media, etc. Even a better way, an attractive to schools one, would be to not get dragged by what teaching schedule schools trying to cover it, but move ahead and stay ahead with a ready schedule of what the kids should learn and how (let’s say first two years).
  2. Introduction - OpenSUSE volunteers would come to the schools, helping out the IT teachers with explaining basics, helping installing OpenSUSE and software, training the teachers for the stuff they’ll be passing to kids the years to come.

From there on, it will be up It doesn’t matter if one or ten or hundred volunteers do that, we’d have to get really a *lot *of volunteers into the program, to have any chances in long term.
The more passive way would be just to have a documentation to help out the teachers, but that would be way less effective.

This is just my thinking, I wonder what you guys think about that, if you see the community perishing too and what ideas you have to save OpenSUSE. Obviously, I don’t know if my opinion is welcomed, but I hope we’ll keep the discussion in the factual level.


openSUSE is in good health; it has benefitted from greater integration with SUSE Enterprise; SUSE Enterprise has more worldwide coverage than RedHat; if you look at the where the conferences are being held and where the people of openSUSE come from, you will see that it is a much more diverse organisation than most in the IT sector. The new CEO of SUSE has ambitious plans: https://www.linux.com/articles/how-melissa-di-donato-is-going-to-reinvent-suse/

SLED is still available to education institutes for students… They need to go see/talk their IT department…

I only attend the NA conferences (SUSE and openSUSE) and was at the last one it Nashville last year…

Statistics can be deceptive, I see the lack of posts in the Forum as a good thing, it means IMHO products are working as expected and not having issues… Download numbers can be deceptive as well, a user or organization may have multiple computers and only grab one image (I do…), folks use Studio Express to roll their own and/or kiwi (https://build.opensuse.org/image_templates)…

Technically and business foundation,
My impression is that openSUSE is more sturdy than most distros, there are very few with the resources to support the various FOSS projects openSUSE/SUSE is involved in. I have no personal connection or visibility with upper management and the revenue generating side of things that SUSE does, so can’t comment in those areas.

For awhile I also had the impression that openSUSE was becoming one of the best kept secrets in FOSS, but have seen some things change over the past year slowly… In my case, I have been recently checking up on what has been posted on YouTube, and some have been pretty decent with few factual errors and representing LEAP and TW fairly and well (any criticisms are well taken). But, most have been created by distro-hoppers, and I have yet to see one by a heavy openSUSE User who knows the products inside and out, able to really highlight what is best in our products.

IMO part of the problem is that there isn’t enough guidance for newbies what to do immediately after their first Install. I’ve had plenty of compliments about that part of my presentation slide deck and even I would admit it’s only OK and should be a lot more complete, walking the User through everything necessary to springboard to whatever they want to do.

The other big problem is that it’s not obvious where a User would go to learn about their brand new, shiny toy.
I’ve seen those YouTube authors going to places like Reddit and StackExchange to get answers about openSUSE, they don’t know about these Forums or the IRC channel.

And, it is too bad that some communities which were enthusiastic openSUSE supporters like the Education Li-f-e people before it more or less disbanded and evaporated.

I agree that although openSUSE can be successful by relying only on FOSS volunteers, IMO there is an incredible amount of untapped market potential that could be realized with a little bit of directed marketing, perhaps supporting a small cadre of talented people who can make polished videos and exploit other social media channels, if nothing else just making themselves available for questions. There are a lot of wandering Users out there, disillusioned with their chosen distro who would likely find a happy home using openSUSE. Here’s an idea… Make video content a theme at an openSUSE Summit, Video all the presentations, and then organize and publish to the world. Start the wheel rolling a year ahead to encourage specific content and ensure there is plenty of time to create their best. Make sure there is a wide spectrum of content that appeals to non-openSUSE, new Users, doing common and unusual things, etc. In other words, content should be both technical and non-technical… If the talk is about anything interesting, then it’s fair game. Sort of like a cross between openSUSE and a BarCamp.

As for what target market segment openSUSE might be best,
I don’t know that there are many people openSUSE wouldn’t be best…
I’d rather count on my one hand the few areas where I have to use something other than openSUSE and then prove that openSUSE can do everything else better than every other OS (including Mac and Windows).


The low population of openSuse Forums, I don’t think it means that she is coronavirus sick, even the data of distrowatch.com are false, I have never gone there to download the ISO;)

It all sounds good. But I get a feeling that Red Hat (once well known, more than SUSE) is a dead man walking… To compare it to RH is then quite useless. In that manner, we could say that OpenSUSE is doing better then a lot of dead Linux distros.

You can actually find articles about “classic” distros, mentioning SUSE and RH, dying.

I would like to be wrong, though :-).

Your posts is expressing a hope in numbers being deceptive (might be), but it’s not all about numbers. I think numbers are good general guideline, though. Question is, how long we can SUSE live on hopes. But also my feeling is, that general public (which I would assume is OpenSUSE target) doesn’t know it anymore, it is not present in schools anymore (even in the past thin numbers), you can’t really buy a computer with OpenSUSE,… From that point of view, there are no good grounds for a good future. As I said, I’d like to be wrong about it. And I happy to admit that I don’t see any impact on OpenSUSE quality; in fact I think it is getting better and better. That makes me even more curious, why it is (apparently) succeeding less and less.

As for SLED for institutes and students, one thing is that product is available, the other thing is that I hadn’t heard about such SUSE for at least 15 years.

Thank you for this insight. It sounds quite positive, hopefully it resembles the reality. I’d agree about the part after installation, it is also very important prior the decision.

The presentations are important, no doubt. But one thing to be careful about is, if we present beautiful shiny setup and the user installs it and struggles to get even close to the customized setup, he/she will be very disappointed. And they won’t be able to configure the stuff themselves, being newbies.

Here, our national post started with SUSE in 2001 and rolled-out in 2004 and I guess they’re using till now (but I see no references to confirm it). But I haven’t heard about any SUSE implementation since then. Back then, you could occasionally see it in schools and universities and I think that’s completely gone. Probably the thing is, that there’s a new generation of IT teachers, who completely grew on Windows and they pass what they know. And there’s no program to catch and include at least a part of the teachers.

Also, if we want to include experienced OpenSUSE volunteers into marketing and such programs, they have to know about it in the first place. And I think this is a problem too. But it certainly has a solution.

See here: https://www.suse.com/academic/

Interesting and promising. My feeling is, that this is not getting to the end users and target public, though. Not even the target public doesn’t know about it, but even long-time users such as me, unless they dig into the subject, like I’m doing it with this thread… But perhaps, it’s only starting and it will get there eventually. Let’s hope :-).

As far as I know, RedHat is mainly a distro for businesses. And, these days, businesses are installing linux on cloud virtual servers. RH is very active there.

And then there’s Fedora, which is the community branch of RH. It also seems very active.

Yes, SUSE is also heavily involved in cloud computing. And openSUSE Tumbleweed is where software is tested before it gets into SUSE.

I don’t see them as dying. I see them as adapting to change.

Perhaps RH is targeted at businesses now, but 20+ years ago, around '97/98, it was first Linux distro I encountered, distributed with a PC magazine and targeted at an ordinary PC users as an alternative to WIndows 95/98. At that time it was best known and probably most advanced in GUI comfort installation tools too. We later with friends, still as students, purchased our first SuSE (I think it was 5.2), because we read good reviews about it. By the way it costed double what Windows 10 costs Today. Back then it seemed, that a desktop user will become a very important part of the user base for both RH and SuSE.

I have only a vauge idea of SUSE business, so I can’t judge on that. The only point in that field I could see is, that according to the statistics, the enterprise share seems to keep shrinking too.

But anyhow, I am somehow satisfied, that so many people think that OpenSUSE/SuSE is doing fine :-).

Back then, I had RH 7.3 on my desktop. I also had Slackware on a different partition (I was mainly a Slackware user back then). But RH 7.3 did do online updates, which was nice. RedHat split off the separate Fedora not long after that.

At that time it was best known and probably most advanced in GUI comfort installation tools too.

Redhat invented RPM (the Redhat package manager). And openSUSE is still using an updated version of that. Slackware never had a real package manager, though I gather that their community has now developed something.

According to https://distrowatch.com/ the ranking of openSUSE is currently #17 (out of 100 listed).
Could be better, could be worse. Oh well.

Yep, one could say that. But the rank is not all. If you look into graph depicting numbers over the years, it seems that OpenSUSE has somewhat 5 times less users than at it’s peak (it’s difficult to guesstimate due to roughness of the graphs I saw).

Of course, there might be and will be factors affecting the numbers in future, that could prove difficult to tackle. People will continue to use PCs and laptops less and less, many are already using solely their phones now. On the other hand, with Google plan to cut costs on mods and pushing to use pure Linux without the modifications into the Android, there might be a [purely] psychological effect that people are already using Linux and willingness to use it on desktops too; plus Windows is now 2nd class product for Microsoft and doesn’t really fight Linux as they used to. So I wonder how the numbers will change in 5, 10 years…

openSUSE certainly peaked around 13.2 after which it dropped the 32-bit version from LEAP, retaining it only in Tumbleweed. So there was a drop with those who needed a 32-bit version going elsewhere but numbers isn’t everything. There are regular openSUSE conferences all over the world as well as SUSE Enterprise conferences. I don’t recall any other distros promoting regular conferences at different locations across the world.

Want it up? Start a campaign for openSUSE users to visit distrowatch and search for it.

Some more news…

And, please submit submit a review – scroll to the bottom of the DistroWatch page.
Current status: <https://distrowatch.com/dwres.php?resource=ratings&distro=opensuse>.

I’m a little concerned about this as well. If you look at Google Trends, OpenSUSE searches are clearly going down over the last 5 years which does indicate to me that interest is fading. That’s a shame though because it’s such an awesome distro.

But comparing opensuse to mx linux in trends shows that MX doesn’t have more interest than OpenSUSE which kind of disputes the Distrowatch ranking for MX. That said, I know that revenue for SUSE has been increasing over the same period.

I’m not exactly sure what to make of that conflicting data. Anecdotally, when I told my coworkers that I used OpenSUSE, one of them said that he didn’t know they were still around and another said he only liked to stick to the core distros. Lol. I told them that SUSE was one of the oldest dristros and they make far more money than Canonical. They were kind of shocked.