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Novell To Open Source SUSE 316

Posted by timothy
from the depends-on-your-definition dept.
jambarama writes "Newsforge reports Novell will be open sourcing SUSE professional under the name OpenSUSE. Is Novell following in the footsteps of Red Hat Inc., with its Fedora Core Linux distribution, or continuing its own open source policy as it has in the past as with YAST?" Note that it looks like the opensuse.org site is not yet up.
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Novell To Open Source SUSE

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  • by TripMaster Monkey (862126) * on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:37PM (#13232728)

    Is Novell following in the footsteps of Red Hat Inc., with its Fedora Core Linux distribution, or continuing its own open source policy as it has in the past as with YAST?

    While I'd much prefer the latter, I'm betting that the former possibility is much more probable. However, either option would be just fine, provided that the new OpenSuSE is binary-compatible with SuSE Professional.

    From TFA:
    Lowry did not confirm it, but sources say that Novell will also make the multi-platform software build system freely available to the community, so developers can build versions of packages for any hardware they support. Novell will still sell boxed versions of SUSE with tech support, but everyone will have access to updates and developmental code.
    From this excerpt, it seems that Novell doesn't intend to make the two binary-incompatible, as Red Hat did with Fedora and RHEL. I certainly hope they don't change their minds on this.
    • by CdBee (742846) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:42PM (#13232775)
      IMO it is near-unacceptable that any two distributions of Linux on the same processor-platform should be binary-incompatible.

      Dependencies can be a problem, but that's what the LSB is for, surely - just supply the damn' libs, you don't have to use them in your default config !

      The level of binary compatibility between any 2 same-platform linux distros should be at the very least equal to the level of compatibility between Win 2000 and Win XP.
      • by Rashkae (59673) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:56PM (#13232921) Homepage
        It is... Linux on the same platform is almost always binary compatible. Certainly all the big distros are! I think what the parent poster meant was RPM compatible. It's the package dependency management that breaks.
        • by CdBee (742846) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @02:08PM (#13233078)
          Technical binary compatibility is an irrelevance if Mr.Average User can't get his application to install. Maybe it is possible to convert an RPM to a DEB and install it with Apt-get or one of its front-ends but again that's further than most users want to go just to get a pre-compiled app running.
          • by Coryoth (254751) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @02:24PM (#13233277) Homepage Journal
            Technical binary compatibility is an irrelevance if Mr.Average User can't get his application to install.

            Quite true.

            Maybe it is possible to convert an RPM to a DEB and install it with Apt-get or one of its front-ends but again that's further than most users want to go just to get a pre-compiled app running.

            If you want to install an application that isn't provided by your distribution then you really want to be using an autopackage [autopackage.org]. Binary compatability becomes clear - a single autopackage can install and run on most major distributions (providing you've got the same architecture of course). If the people providing you the software haven't packaged it as an autopackage... perhaps you should be asking them to do so. Autopackage is new, but it's great for packaging up your software project - no more "RPM for Redhat, RPM for SuSE, RPM for Mandrake, DEB for Debian..." just make one autopackage binary for the lot.

            Jedidiah.
          • I'd argue installing apps on Linux is easier than Windows.

            You look for the program you want to run in the package list (many commercial or mature distros have a GUI tool for this). You look for something you want, tick it, press install and it does all the work.

            With Windows you browse the web (there's not much good quality freeware), work out how to download it, run the installer. If there's any dependancies the software author forgot to mention then it won't run.
            • by nightsweat (604367) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @02:43PM (#13233549)
              I think your explanation sounds great in theory but it flunks the real-world test. MS software installs pretty easily these days and brings along all the libs it needs. Or, if the app doesn't get all the libraries necessary, WIndowsUpdate does.

              I don't like the fact Linux apps install rougher, but they do.
            • With Windows you browse the web (there's not much good quality freeware), work out how to download it, run the installer.

              You forgot: Then head off to the warez/crackz/serialz sites, get infected with some trojan/spyware, and look for the serial number to use it.

      • Of course, the free and commercial version are not 100% compatible because they don't want them to be - they're made in such way so that people still have to buy SLES to run most commercial software.

        The same thing is with Fedora - you're welcome to beta test and debug it for Red Hat to build their Enterprise Linux version upon, and then when you want to use Linux in enterprise environment, please line up for RHEL which starts at $299 (if I'm not mistaken).

        I fail to realize why would anyone want to fuck arou
        • by Azul (12241) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @04:04PM (#13234702) Homepage
          The only reason I can think for them not to be entirely compatible is that SuSE Professional is released much more frequently than SLES. SLES 9 Sp2, for example, comes with a kernel based on 2.6.5 (with lots of fixes by Novell) and this will continue for the entire lifespan of SLES 9. This doesn't happen with SuSE Professional, which has an entirely different focus and is based on the latest available versions of all packages.

          In order for them to be compatible, you'd need to drop the stability of SLES, which would be a stupid move, or stabilize SuSE Professional (rather than build it using the latest available versions of software), which would be a stupid move as well.

          Providers of propietary software do certify it against specific distributions (and even versions). This is a process that takes time and money from them, so its a smarter move to certify against the stable distribution, not the constantly moving one, specially since their creator does not offer support for the latter.

          And, anyway, you can legally run SLES for as long as you want without paying Novell (see this post in my weblog [freaks-unidos.net] for more information)

          So no, there are real reasons why they are not compatible and they are not your simplistic "they don't want them to be" ideas.
    • Yast in the past was twice as fast,
      as suse on the loose with juice,
      but the smell will tell
      if novell has done well,
      or if redhat has gotten their goose.

      (with apologies to seuss)
    • I'm not entirely sure what is meant by "binary compatibility" in this context. Certainly calls to the kernel and C libraries will likely be compatible. However, when it comes to C++, object models frequently change, and so do signatures of libraries when changes are made. If they're going to base a new distro on, say GCC 4, then you can probably expect some binary incompatibiliites.
    • you mean include only the same set of libraries, right?

      I bet you can run Blender on any RedHat or SuSE distro.

      Perhaps library-compatible would be a better term..
  • by guaigean (867316) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:39PM (#13232753)
    This is probably one of the best moves Novell can make for both themselves and the OSS community. As Linux gains popularity, corporations are wanting to move to open source apps, but want corporate backing and support. This gives Novell the flexibility of both tracks, and offers another stable solution for enterprise level business.
    • by Karzz1 (306015) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:56PM (#13232939) Homepage
      This is probably one of the best moves Novell can make for both themselves and the OSS community.

      I couldn't agree more. I was a longtime RedHat customer/user. I liked that, at my option, I could download and use RH Linux for free or, if I needed support or felt like supporting RH I could buy the boxed version. As a matter of fact I had a RH Network subscription (bought by me personally as a show of support) that, when RH changed all their versioning around, I got stiffed on about 6 months worth of. As a result, and after bad experiences with Fedora core on my servers (least of which is no upgrade path) I have had no qualms about using CentOS in production. With SuSE basically going back to the licensing model that RH had in the past, and being a former SuSE user, I am inclined to look at SuSE again.

      • As a result, and after bad experiences with Fedora core on my servers (least of which is no upgrade path) [...]

        While I definitely agree that Fedora Core isn't a good choice for servers, I'm curious about your "no upgrade path" statement. I've seen similar comments on Slashdot before, so it seems to be not just an isolated perception. Yet, you can upgrade from RHL9 to FC1 to FC2 to FC3 to FC4 to (future) FC5 just fine -- seems like an upgrade path to me.
    • You are making a few assumptions:

      1. Binary compatibility. It seems likely to me that they would make the two versions incompatible. They need to have a clear distinction between the two versions. Binary INcompatibility is that distinction.

      2. Novell makes the right product. They could screw up a great distro by having a license/revenue/feature package that the market doesn't like. It's easier to screw this up than you think.

      3. Novell actually offers something that will drive enterprise consumers over t
      • SGI is already switching their software distribution and support from RHEL to SuSE on their Altix platform. We installed it on ours yesterday.

        Like it or not, that sticks them into the game at many U.S. government/military sites, and that automatically yanks them out of the "me-too" division. Just as SGI is using their government contracts to hang in the market by a thread, SuSE can use it to jump-start a play for major market acceptance as they move in the other direction.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:40PM (#13232756)
    All they're doing is opening the development process to be something more like Fedora.

    -linuxrocks123

    My opinions are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. This is not legal advice.

    "There's no need for red-hot pokers. Hell is -- other people!"
    -Jean Paul Sartre
    • That explains it. YAST was already open sourced, so I was confused as to what was left. The actual ISO images? They don't have any!

      But "open source" is still the wrong term. Opening up the developer process is NOT "open source". Besides, I still don't know what this "opening" means. Does it imply that they automatically rejected every prior fix submitted by non-employees? Does this now mean they will accept *every* submission? If they reject even one because it's a bad fix, will that make them "closed" agai
      • The actual ISO images? They don't have any!

        Look at a mirror and you will see that they do. 5 of them, although they do not contain all the software that is on the DVD's
      • Depending on the specific SuSE distribution (Novell Linux Desktop, SuSE Linux Enterprise Server, SuSE Professional) you'll find included components that are not open source such as the Java Runtime Environment, Acrobat Reader, Opera, Real Player and others.

        To the best of my knowledge and making it clear that what I say here does not represent Novell and I am not a lawyer, I believe you are not legally allowed to redistribute SuSE (at least not if you keep copies).

        You can read about this in a post I made in [slashdot.org]
        • I believe you are not legally allowed to redistribute SuSE (at least not if you keep copies).

          Wrong.

          I just pulled out my Suse 9.3 Pro CD, and in LICENSE.TXT it says:

          ...

          The Software is a collective work of Novell. You may make and use unlimited copies of the Software for Your distribution and use within Your Organization. You may make and distribute unlimited copies of the Software outside Your organization provided that: 1) You receive no consideration; and, 2) you do not bundle or combine the Sof

    • Yes, and they follow the GPL, YAST2 is opensource under GPL, so the only thing they want to do is turn it over to the community. I think debian will get more followers this way, and Suse will loose. I use suse a lot, megapatch it myself, but this way it is getting less and less attractive.
  • switch to suse (Score:4, Interesting)

    by cerelib (903469) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:42PM (#13232777)
    I currently have been using kubuntu because it has proven to be the most user friendly KDE distro, for free (full version, no eval). I have tried suse before and enjoyed it, but I did not like having eval versions and such. And just felt stupid trying to get a pirated version of a linux distro. if this pans out I will definitely give it a chance.
  • Huh... (Score:5, Funny)

    by creimer (824291) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:43PM (#13232782) Homepage
    Open sourcing a linux distro that contains Open Source Software (OSS). What an interesting concept. Did Novell take a patent on this? Will Microsoft be the doing the same thing? What about SCO?
    • Re:Huh... (Score:2, Funny)

      by $RANDOMLUSER (804576)
      SCO will be sueing Novell for open sourcing Open Source Software. Darl McBride was quoted as saying "This kind of thing can't be allowed to continue, where would this country be if software were free"?
    • Funny, I'm a SuSE 9.2 pro user on laptop as well as my main home server, but I'm trying to think what other than some device drivers are still closed. They already open sourced YAST & iFile, what else is there?
  • interest gone? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shinaku (757671)
    I help out occasionally on a Linux help IRC channel, and looking through the logs I've seen that the amount of people using SuSE has dropped considerably while the amount of people using Ubuntu has risen exponentially.

    Maybe they're opening it up to compete with Ubuntu?
  • Where is the profit for Novell? I presume Novell will still charge for the media and support of course, but is that enough? I think a non-profit organization should be created to continue the develop of Suse (susa). Now that Mandrake is gone (Mandriva,) an opensource beginner-friendly dsitribution ought to help fill the gap. Disclaimer: I use the *BSDs on servers and Debian, Gentoo and Slackware on the desktop, but Suse may be a good option others.
    • In theory anyway.

    • The profit comes from there server applications that run on Suse. The eDirectory, Zenworks, GroupWise, products. All part of there Open Enterprise Server. These products are all charged per user, not per server.
    • Where will Novell make money?

      That is a great question. The box versions that sell for under $100 don't make jack for Novell. All they do is get more users of their NOS. So, in one way this will get more and more users to at least try their product.

      In my opinion Novell will make money by moving up the application stack a bit. They will focus on things like groupware, management, clustering etc. Things that can be done with Linux today but could be a lot better for the average admin and end user. When L
  • by cshark (673578) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:49PM (#13232845)
    Anyone else notice that the domain opensuse.org [whois.sc] is registered to the caped crusader himself?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:50PM (#13232853)
    In other news, Debian and Gentoo is also creating an "open source" versions of their respective OS's.

    Oh... Wait a minute... :-)
  • Planet SuSE (Score:3, Informative)

    by riggwelter (84180) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:50PM (#13232860) Homepage Journal
    As this develops, news on the announcement as well as blogs from the SuSE community (and staffers) discussing it will be on Planet SuSE [planetsuse.org].
  • by Rashkae (59673) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:52PM (#13232874) Homepage
    In completely unrelated news, I'm sure, Novell has announced layoffs of over 100 employees in Europe. Begs the question, is Novell trying to improve SuSe development with a community development model ala Red Hat, or is Novell Cutting SuSe loose?
    • I would guess that the Novell layoffs [zdnet.com] are a prelude to cutting SUSE loose Fedora style given that the layoffs story says that Linux has been flat for Novell. OpenSUSE would essentially give Novell some free workers and for the long term would keep SUSE alive, not that it's dying or anything like that. I suspect SUSE will be around long after Novell bites the dust.
  • by mpapet (761907) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:55PM (#13232915) Homepage
    They will do exactly like RH because it appears to be profitable.

    It's difficult to see how this makes them an actual meaningful competitor to RH though.

    It will be interesting to see if they drop java in the forthcoming project. In 9.3 they distribute it on the cd. They pay Sun for this priviledge, so I find it hard to believe they would be so charitable in the future.

    It's sad (predictable though) that Linux is going this way. The open project portion is essentially free development and testing for the corporate parent. The "open" portions of the distros are becoming the red-headed stepchild to the supported version.

    Please, no comments about how CentOS is "the same" as whatever RH product they got it from. Service, service, service is what makes it different.

    Charge a fortune for something that's free and the world will beat a path to your door.
    • It's difficult to see how this makes them an actual meaningful competitor to RH though.

      Red Hat is getting a too big for their britches. RH's product is way more expensive than Suse and is not demonstrably better than what Suse is offering.

      RH looks really beaten when you look at their end to end enterprise solution stack. Novell looks miles better than RH and has decades of experience playing in this sandbox. Identity management looks esp poor for RH when you compare that old krufty Netscape thing that RH
  • One of SuSE's biggest problem is they gave every excuse in the book (without stating the obvious about driving folks buy the boxed sets) about producing an ISO image for installing. The boot/FTP thing was a pain in the ass, the 'live' disks are not for someone using it normally. You could build your own image, but it was not easy. If anything comes out of the 'open' version, I hope it is distribution for install on one or more disks.

    And, as long ask I'm dreaming - wouldn't it be nice to see a distributio
    • Mandrake mini Ubuntu Kubuntu Knoppix DSL Puppy ...
    • I just downloaded the ISO images the other day for Suse 9.3 and installed it. It is one DVD or 5 CD's, but it appears to be the entire Pro installation. They delay releasing the cost-free, non-"live" version for something like 6 weeks after the actual release. I imagine this delay is what will be eliminated.
  • now make it use apt. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cies (318343) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @01:59PM (#13232968)
    Now finally the community might have a chance to make and totally apt based SuSE.

    Currently it is possible http://linux01.gwdg.de/apt4rpm/ [linux01.gwdg.de] to have apt run on top of an existing SuSE but not as the default installation medium. I feel that apt is the one thing that stand in between of SuSE and perfection.

    The current (YaST/RPM) based solution is not too bad, but it is just too slow. Seaches in the package database take ages. And, iirc, it cannot do multiple downloads at the same time.

    Right now im installing SuSE 9.3 from the default http site. I thought it was released to the public more than a weak ago, but it still is not on the mirrors. It right now is about to take 6 hours to download 1.3 gig of packages. amazing.

    but afterall i still feel suse is the best (most polished) desktop distro arround.

    im looking forward to what this move will bring us.

    cies breijs.

    • Right now im installing SuSE 9.3 from the default http site. I thought it was released to the public more than a weak ago, but it still is not on the mirrors. It right now is about to take 6 hours to download 1.3 gig of packages. amazing.

      In YAST, simply add an alternate download location. [linux01.gwdg.de] The link is only one of many choices. And it's been there since April, from what I can tell.

      As with most mirrors, this can help download times a lot.
    • Now finally the community might have a chance to make and totally apt based SuSE.

      Do not forget that YAST is more then just a package installer. It will also do a lot of the configuration of your machine.

      What would be welcome is APT4Yast. An integration of apt4rpm and Yast. If that is done (and working) you have the best of both worlds.
       
  • iso (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Being able to download the fully installable ISO images will be great.

    Huh. The ISO images are available now. When did that happen ?
    ftp://mirrors.kernel.org/suse/i386/9.3/iso/ [kernel.org]

    Now I CAN tell people to use something better than Fedora Core.
  • by Kelson (129150) * on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @02:08PM (#13233076) Homepage Journal
    I was wondering what would happen when SuSE got up to 10.0...

    Mac OS 9 went to Mac OS X and cay names.
    Red Hat 9 went to Fedora Core 1.
    Mandrake and Conectiva 10 merged and went to Mandriva 2005.

    Clearly, SuSE 10.x was doomed... though I seriously expected it to become Novell Linux 1 or Novel Linux 2006 or something.
  • by ehaggis (879721) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @02:09PM (#13233088) Homepage Journal
    As an avid user and fan of SuSE, I am glad to see Novell has a plan for it. Downloading the "opensource" version has been dificult and not very friendly. Only a small download was available with online package installations. I was starting to worry.

    • Only a small download was available with online package installations.

      There was always the FTP instalation with almost all software available. Now there also a 5 CD download available. Not small, if you ask me.

      I owuld still go for the FTP instalation if you do not want to buy the boxed set, because a LOT of packages are not on the CD's.
  • What needs to happen next is all the RPM-based distros need to merge their development trees and package sets under the umbrella of the Fedora Foundation (returning home from whence they all sprang years ago).

    The inconsistency between Linux distros is ridiculous and inexcusable (especially for the all-too-German SuSE).

    RPM-based Distros Unite!
  • If I'd seen this before it went public I would have e-mailed the on-duty editor saying that there's a major problem with the headline. So let's clear the air and get the announcement right --

    Novell's announcement was not that they're open sourcing SUSE. SUSE is already GPL. Novell is essentially announcing this [eweek.com]:

    The goal of OpenSUSE is to create a community-supported distribution similar to Fedora. Also, like Fedora, this becomes a code base that the developers of the commercially-supported distributions
  • OpenSUSE? (Score:4, Funny)

    by JPriest (547211) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @02:16PM (#13233174) Homepage
    You mean the name was has not already been taken by a porn site? Cool!
  • VMWare (Score:3, Interesting)

    by drxenos (573895) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @03:13PM (#13233997)
    I love SUSE. I just wish I could get it to work with VMWare. Redhat works great, but SUSE (for me) crashes during installation.

    I love being able to be working in Windows, and just "pop up" Linux when I want it without rebooting.
  • Communities (Score:2, Interesting)

    by eelcoh (775552)
    So as more and more companies jump on the community bandwagon, will the community of communities be big enough to help them all out? How many people actually take part in an OSS community project? Is that number still rising? Won't it become more and more difficult to attract more people to a project like this?
  • by nlinecomputers (602059) on Wednesday August 03, 2005 @04:00PM (#13234669)
    Suse is already open source. The pro version only adds a few commerical programs and drivers that you don't get on the download versions.

    What this really means is that they are axing the Retail Product that no one buys to focus on the server and workstation versions for corporation. Gee have we not seen this before in Fedora/Red Hat?

    I'm a big fan of Suse and have used it for years but I haven't bought a copy since 9.0.

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