Many of you do not follow the project closely or you do but are not subscribed to openSUSE mailing lists. I would like you to read the below article/mail and share your thoughts.
I believe that sharing a common understanding of the current strengths and weaknesses of the openSUSE project is helpful in order to agree on the steps to be taken in the near future and evaluating them. But above all, agreeing in an initial picture, even if not in the details, is relevant to have a chance to agree in the direction the project might take in the future.
Before reading the text of that first mail, posted below, there are three remarks to be made:
- I think some people from the openSUSE community has perceived this first mail as a negative criticism to the project and their contributors. Cold analysis based on numbers do not provide a complete picture of the project… but provides a good one, in my opinion. I wrote the below mail/article thinking about a better future, not to revisit a past I am part of.
- A summary of the proposals was published in an openSUSE Team blog post. Please read it to get in context. As stated in that article, this first mail/article has as goal to share the motivations behind the later published proposals, trying to open a discussion about our current state that can lead us to agree on a picture we can use as starting point.
- At the end of the article/mail, I proposed some questions. If you are interested in answering them (I would appreciate it), please:
Otherwise, in order to keep the debate centralized (for record purposes also), I will post/summarize your answers and comments also in that mailing list.
- Share a picture as a starting point of discussion.
- Use the discussed picture as a reference to agree on actions we all can/want to execute.
FIRST STEP: PIECES OF THE PUZZLE
One of the first things we did was digging into numbers that provided us information about the status of the project. Data cannot be the only source to create a complete picture, but it is helpful as first step.
- Alberto Planas talk at oSC13: openSUSE in Numbers
- Alberto Planas’ slides from the above talk
- First openSUSE Team blog post: Numbers in openSUSE
- Second openSUSE Team blog post: More on statistics
- Jos post about numbers
2.- UUIDs (installations that update regularly)
- Looking at the number of machines that regularly update against openSUSE repositories (daily, weekly and monthly), we can easily conclude that the situation is very stable. The speed of growth (daily and weekly stats) or decline (monthly) is low.
- What the graph do not show is the acceleration. It has been negative (small in value) for quiet some time now.
- When looking at the architectures, we see that x86_64 is more popular than i586. This behavior is accelerating, as confirmed in the download numbers collected for 12.3
- When looking at the mediums where those installations come from, we clearly see three dominant ones: .iso (dvd version), ftp (net installs) and Live CD.
- There is a relevant detail that Alberto mentioned in his talk. More than half, almost 2/3, of openSUSE installations are not using the last version many weeks after Release date. There is also a significant amount of installations using unmaintained or Evergreen versions.
3.- Factory and Tumbleweed installations/”users“
4.- Contributors to factory and devel projects
5.- Social media and comparison with Fedora
SOLVING THE PUZZLE
ADDING CONTEXT TO THE PICTURE
New players are consolidating their positions: Arch, Chakra, Mint… Ubuntu is moving to the mobile space, Debian is getting some attention back from previous Ubuntu users….
On the other hand, some distros that were relevant in the past have disappeared, our 13.1 has got more attention than previous ones, SUSE is healthy and willing to invest more in openSUSE in the future …
In the above context, how is our “stable” situation perceived? How do we think it should be perceived?
INTERPRETING THE PICTURE
If we agree that the overall number of users of Linux based server + “traditional” desktop OS (let’s remove the mobile/embedded space and cloud for now), is growing, not following the “market” growing trend might be perceived as a wake up call, a clear sign that improvements needs to be done.
But if we agree that we are playing in a risky and challenging field, stability can be perceived as a healthy sign.
After these months of analysis and discussions with both, contributors and users, I would like to ask you if you agree with the the idea that the first picture is more prominent than the second one. But, does the second one provide us a good platform to improve our current position?
Let me propose you some questions:
- What other variables we should put in place to create an accurate picture of the current state of the project?
- What is the perception you think others have from the project?
- What is your perception, your picture?
To get some context you might want to take a look at the following contents:
- Current strategy
- Ralf Flaxa keynote at oSC’13
- Jos article: Strategy and Stable
- Jos article: Strategy and Factory
Please point us to other relevant references:
 Alberto Planas’ slides from the above talk:
 First openSUSE at SUSE team blog post: Numbers in openSUSE http://lizards.opensuse.org/2013/07/04/numbers-is-opensuse/
 Second openSUSE at SUSE team blog post: More on statistics http://lizards.opensuse.org/2013/08/23/more-on-statistics/
 Jos article about numbers:
 Current strategy: http://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:Strategy
 Ralf Flaxa keynote at oSC’13: http://youtu.be/fdroo2JZano
 Jos article: Strategy and Factory:
 Jos article: Strategy and Stable: