I’ve been following the biggest general technology forum in Portugal with a close eye for openSUSE 11.4 comments and reviews… 10 years ago SuSE Linux was one of the predominant Linux distributions fighting for first place with Red Hat and followed closely by Debian. The fourth place belonged to Slackware.
10 years after… Slackware mainly disappeared, the Red Hat/Fedora community somehow vanished (judging by LUG member strength), and fate hasn’t been nicer for openSUSE. From most of what I read, Ubuntu became the major power, followed by Arch Linux and Debian… there’s a few pockets of resistance by Mandriva… It’s also interesting to see that new users are mainly confused between choosing Fedora and openSUSE… this relation is also getting strong with drop outs from Ubuntu. The timing is good for intervention…
From what I could see in the reports of openSUSE reviews I’ve seen:
* Installer – Users expected something new, but they didn’t disclaimed what they expected. They say that openSUSE installer is pretty much offering the same features as other distributions. I really don’t know what can be innovated here….
* Updates – This is one of the points that is most commented in the reviews. Though there’s no real claims on what could be improved or what is missing, everyone points to a simple conclusion: people seem to like updates and the faster they are done, the better. Update timings seem important.
* Tumbleweed – There are a lot of expectations towards rolling releases and Tumbleweed. This feature seems to captivate a lot of veterans changing from other distributions and also new comers. This is without doubt one of the points to invest in the future for the local community…
* Time of Installation – Some harsh critics on the installation time. People believe that 30 minutes is too much of installation time. I kinda disagree as it seems pretty much normal for a DVD install. Installing openSUSE LiveCD’s on real hardware (no virtualization) through USB2 and USB3 sticks, is pretty much bellow 10 minutes. Should we focus on USB sticks installations and work the methodology? Sounds good as a differentiation point.
* USB Sticks – Some harsh critics with people using imagewritter and unetbootin. For what I was able to determine, this problems seem to be related with the partitions not being flagged as ‘active’. Something we can improve here?
* KDE – All the reports seem to place openSUSE as the best KDE offer. Nothing was expected besides this.
* OpenSUSE and other distros – Not much has been written, except some comments considering that Mandriva Spring was the only distribution that is more attractive than openSUSE 11.4. Only 2 comments place emphasis on this… Something we can improve on this field ?
* Support – Support on those forums is rudimentary… Something we can improve and that’s being worked on. Soon Portuguese will become available on the official openSUSE Forums and a Portuguese Team as been assembled for this. Additionally Jim Henderson is contacting Carlos Ribeiro to explore the possibility of having also Brazilian contributors and community to help on this Forums. They will become Portuguese (language wise) following the work by the Wiki and IRC.
The feedback is very positive, and there’s an abnormal dropouts from Ubuntu and many confused people…. The timing is perfect for taking action… and that will happen soon!
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