I read this quite recent article, brought to my attention by MattB: Linux distribution popularity trends plotted
It shows the decline of openSUSE compared to Ubuntu, undoubtedly a product of great marketing on the part of Ubuntu.
But I was wondering about our so-quick repeat cycle, where there’s a new openSUSE every 8 months. That must be a big turn off for household mums and dads and even for young geeks who want to learn about Linux. To spend a few months getting to know openSUSE just to have it “made obsolete” would be a turn off for anyone who wasn’t a super nerd (like most of us who are here).
I think this 8-month cycle is OK because Novell want constant upgrades of openSUSE as a proving ground for their cashflow SLES/SLES and whatnot products. That’s a very valid need they have.
So what could make openSUSE more popular? Well of course there’s marketing. But that’s not what I’m on about today.
I think that Novell could release openSUSE X with no decimal point. Then service pack 1 instead of X.1, then service pack 2 instead of X.2, then 3, then 4 (whatever) on an 8 month schedule if they needed to.
The service packs can be able to perform a complete fresh install on a fresh partition or just upgrade openSUSE of an earlier service pack on an existing partition.
There’s no major difference to what’s being done now, there would just need to be more attention to integration and stability.
The psychological impact on the average domestic user would be very positive if they didn’t have to reinstall on different partitions every 8 months.
It seems such a better approach from a marketing and acceptance viewpoint that I must be missing something or else it would already be happening.