community powered long term support for openSUSE?

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.