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community powered long term support for openSUSE?

November 30th, 2010

Just recently I found again that openSUSE is not really positioned for some usecases. In my personal case that is especially the usage as a web/mail/dns/etc server on hosted environments. IMHO it just doesn’t make sense to roll out a distribution which is supported for only 18 months to a hosted system with limited access to it. I still have been doing that with previous openSUSE releases but it’s so annoying that I really regret it. Also the possibility to zypper dup doesn’t really fix that issue for different reasons. Anyway this post is not about whining about that fact or to explain why I don’t like to update these type of systems remotely every <= 18 months.

A possible solution?

Sometime last year there was a discussion about options for something like an “openSLE” or “openSUSE LTS” distribution. There is an external page where some outcome was documented here. The dicussions stopped mainly because of health issues of the main initiator. There was done some planning and voting on the different options but no real results ever happened (as far as I know). So I’m trying to resurrect that topic a bit once again:

The amount of work related to such a project is the critical part and therefore my proposal is to try to start off with a “lightweight” approach.

This would be something like an openSUSE LTS version. That means that the community would take over (security) maintenance after Novell as main contributor drops it out of official maintenance after around 18 months. This will likely only work for a subset of packages which were delivered with the original distribution but the focus might be on server services anyway. Using the openSUSE release which also is the base for SLE could help us a bit as the work is done anyway (some of the Novell employees who are also openSUSE community members would hopefully help us here?). There are quite some details to work out still but it could be doable.

While I think we wouldn’t need a lot of people we at least need some and the more the better.  We will bring that topic up again on opensuse-project@o.o as well. The main intention of this post is to get feedback if there is enough interest and contributors to do further planning. I’m very interested in hearing from you via comments, mailing lists or personal mail.

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  1. November 30th, 2010 at 22:36 | #1

    It is something that is missing from opensuse and will add a bonus.

    If such a thing occurs i’m willing to help as a package maintainer. I haven’t any experience in packaging but i’m willing to learn.

  2. December 1st, 2010 at 10:57 | #2

    A version of openSUSE with LTS would indeed be great. With apparmor and other nice features it is otherwise well-suited to servers, but these days I can only use openSUSE in VMs, where I have snapshots as well as VNC and consoles to access it in case of trouble with a dist-upgrade.

  3. Bruno Friedmann
    December 1st, 2010 at 21:19 | #3

    It’s a long long long idea I have, because most customers of that kind of distribution have a 3-5 years rolling IT process.

    Someone tell me that it could be possible to do a SLES/D à la centos. If some subscription are take for getting the srpms from Novell and successors.

    That could do the trick, because it will very light to maintain, and publish. With a rock solid base.

    There’s so much to talk about. Ping me if you restart that project.

  4. Peter Müller
    December 13th, 2010 at 17:59 | #4

    You could start at once. :-)
    I am still using OpenSuse 11.1 with a lot of SLES11 software from the build service.
    OpenSuse 11.1 and SLES 11 seem to be binary compatible. Although I do not know whether this binary compatibility is 100% or not, OpenSuse 11.1 would be a nice place to start with this project: After almost two years of updates and very good support OpenSuse 11.1 can be considered as rock-solid and stable.

  5. llewellyn lee
    January 5th, 2011 at 10:32 | #5

    Opensuse 11.0 with KDE 3-5 desktop works so damn well on my desktop PC that I am very reluctant to change anything.
    Now I have a bad problem this version is no longer maintained and all the Repositories in my Yast list are invalid. I am thus forced to upgrade but live in fear of messing up a sytem that works perfectly for me NOW.
    I am most gratefull that your project will save me from having this same head ache in the future. This is good news Thanks.
    PS I am just an enthusiatic user not a developer.

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