If I knew openSUSE I'd see a Linux desktop

If I knew openSUSE I'd see a Linux desktop

Summary: If openSUSE can move the needle of Linux desktop acceptance, even just a little bit, it's a very good thing indeed.

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TOPICS: Open Source
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openSUSE logoWhen I last wrote about openSUSE I was reacting to a few readers and what I saw as the buzz of the market.

So today I got the chance to chat with Greg Mancusi- Ungaro,  director of marketing, Linux and open source for Novell. He could have taken me to the woodshed. Instead he answered my key question, what makes openSUSE different?

What makes it different, Mancusi-Ungaro said, is that it's focused on desktops. "We want to move the needle on Linux usage everywhere. We want to change how people get it. There’s a big barrier there, just getting it, if you’re a non-technical user.

"The openSUSE project is the only Linux distribution to go all the way to end user packaging, complete with documentation and end user support. You can pay a nominal fee at a store, with books, media and support you can install yourself. That doesn’t exist with other projects."

I'd dearly love to be wrong about everything I wrote earlier. And perhaps I was wrong about one thing. I was pronouncing the name like a girl's name, Suzie. Mancusi-Ungaro pronounced it Sousa, like the oom-pah-pah band leader. (Please don't tell me it's really Sosa, like the Baltimore Orioles' slugger.)

While my initial view of the project's site didn't impress, maybe I went there too soon, like the reviewer who judges a new restaurant by Tuesday's 5 o'clock crowd. Mancusi-Ungaro said the joint is jumping now.

"We have almost 2,500 registered members at the project site. We’ve got many new bug contributions coming in, from outside our traditional audience of closed beta sites. We’ve got package developers and application creators participating. I was just online, in one of our IRC nodes there were 90 people talking about working around Adobe Acrobat. There are a lot of synergies happening."

The proof of the pudding, of course, is in the eating. So godspeed to openSUSE. If it can move the needle of Linux desktop acceptance, even just a little bit, it's a very good thing indeed.

Topic: Open Source

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20 comments
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  • Boycott Dell, HP, Gateway

    The problem is that the major computer suppliers
    such as Dell, HP, Gateway don't want to give home users a choice.

    All that they offer by way of home computers is Microsoft.

    I suggest not doing business with these companies
    until they offer home users a non-Microsoft choice.
    cyber_rigger@...
    • Its a good thing...

      ...that the majority of these companies customers don't visit sites like this and therefore wouldn't see your stupid comments.
      vdraken
    • It isn't so bad that they don't offer Linux

      To me it is worse that they don't offer a machine that doesn't pay the Microsoft tax. They really should offer an option to not buy an OS if they aren't going to offer alternatives. Equally they should be more clear about what they DO install and how not to have it installed. I don't freaking need Dell Jukebox trials!

      Again, I don't care that they don't offer alternative software. I care that I MUST get software if buying from a major vendor.
      Zinoron
    • Spam

      Why do you insist on putting this in every conceivable news thread, the same darned text, even after you've been shot down repeatedly and had to backpedal in order to cover for the invalidity of your argument?

      HP and Dell DO offer choice as far as operating system installs. This has been presented to you repeatedly. Links have been sent to you showing this. Of course, you come back that they don't advertise it enough, or push it enough, or whatever, and put out this never-changing list of businesses -- what, do they pay you to do this or something? -- that you say offer greater choices. Wonderful! Shop there, then. But don't turn right back around and publish this same old macro in yet another group, saying that they don't offer any choice, period, when you have already been shown that this is false. Y'see, this spreading of known innaccuracies is what we refer to as "lying".

      So, please, stop spamming the lists with the same FUD over and over, huh? Either that, or revise it so that it is at least marginally accurate.

      By the way, in case you need reminders:

      DELL -- http://www1.us.dell.com/content/products/compare.aspx/desktops_n?c=us&cs=04&l=en&s=bsd

      HP -- http://h10010.www1.hp.com/wwpc/us/en/sm/WF05a/12454-64287-89301-321860-f50-401819.html

      This clearly contradicts your repeated statement of, "All that they offer by way of home computers is Microsoft". (By the way, Dimension IS Dell's home computer line.)

      I'm not a huge fan of either company, but I'm an even lesser fan of people who go beyond having a difference of opinion to blatantly and knowingly declaring lies as truth. So, please, either stop spamming the groups with your FUD that has already been shot down so many times as to be laughable, or come up with a new macro that gets the facts straight.

      Sheesh!
      Whyaylooh
      • I'm tired of Windows OS spam

        I'm tired of the major computer suppliers
        spamming us with MS Windows.

        IMO FreeDos does not equal a usable OS for a consumer (home) user.

        If Dell advertised a home machine
        something like with Mandriva or Linspire or Ubuntu
        I would believe that they were serious about offering consumers a choice,
        ...but Dell is NOT serious about offering consumers a choice.

        HP comes a bit closer by offering an outdated version of Mandrake on a business machine.

        If HP was serious serious about offering consumers a choice they too would offer a home machine with an up-to-date alternative,
        ... but HP is NOT serious about offering consumers a choice either.

        They both have
        seemingly pitiful and obscure offerings.
        Then they say "Hey look no one wants Linux!"

        Gee I wonder <cough>microsoft<cough> WHY?
        cyber_rigger@...
        • And Again With The Backpedaling . . .

          Same old song and dance you do whenever the facts are laid out. Your original cookie-cutter spam has the same misinformation in it, and when you are caught in it, you backpedal and act like we just misunderstood, when, in fact, you were pretty clear and direct on what it was you were trying to say, and you have been told repeatedly that this is misinformation.

          Want to say it's your opinion that they don't do enough to present the choices you want to see? Fine, no argument there. Go for it. But to say that they offer NO choice is a complete factual inaccuracy. That is no longer stating your opinion; that is attempting to state a fact, and it is one that you know darned well is inaccurate, because this isn't the first time someone has brought it up to you.

          You're tired of Microsoft OS's. Good for you. Say that. Say that you don't think they don't do enough. Say that you think they're a bunch of shills. But don't try to use false "facts" to sway people to your side. All it does is discredit you when you are found out.
          Whyaylooh
    • Ah, what's the problem?

      "Dell, HP, Gateway don't want to give home users a choice."

      Why wouldn't they want to "give" the home owner a choice? Most likely for 3 reasons:

      1. Linux too complicated for the average home user to understand, so too much time on vendors part wasted on tech support.

      2. To many subsiquent versions of software out there for different versions of Linux that the average home user would become too frustrated trying to get it to run. This then translates into placing the blame onto the computer vendor. No happy return customers.

      3. Not a big enough demand for it from the consumer market to make it worth the vendors time.
      John Zern
      • Why give home owner a choice?

        Other companies are giving home owners a non-Microsoft choice.

        http://www.systemax.com/divisions.htm
        http://www.microtelpc.com/
        http://www.linuxcertified.com/
        http://www.outpost.com/
        http://www.walmart.com/catalog/catalog.gsp?cat=395 1&path=0%3A3944%3A3951
        http://www.sub300.com/Skins/greyTech/greyTech_inde x.aspx
        http://www.linare.com/
        http://www.linspire.com/featured_partner/featured_ partner.php
        http://www.us.debian.org/distrib/pre-installed
        http://www.linux.org/vendor/system/index.html
        http://www.xandros.com/partners/oempcs.html
        cyber_rigger@...
        • ???????? OK.

          Walmart sells, but doesn't support. The hardware manufacturer does. No loss to Walmart

          As for the software manufacturers, well, they better support it as it IS what they do.

          And the rest look pretty small scale to me.
          John Zern
    • If you want Linux

      Then I guess you don't want Dell, HP or Gateway, given that it is easy to buy machines from other manufacturers without an OS installed.
      jorwell
  • DON'T boycott, BUY OEM Linux from HP & others

    1) Many small OEM's offer pre-installed Linux. Use your favorite search engine to find them.
    2) HP's low end Linux 'Workstation' looks like a high end PC to me. Your mileage may vary. See http://www.hp.com/workstations/pws/linux/
    palmwarrior
  • OpenSUSE link on Novell website?

    Thanks for providing the link in your article. I was searching the Novell website today and couldn't find it. That isn't a problem with Fedora Core on the Red Hat website. I'm sure it can be found but try starting here and see how long it takes: http://www.novell.com/linux/
    palmwarrior
    • Novells website stinks

      Novells website has been horrible for a long time, and hasnt gotten any better.

      I only found it easy by typing in OpenSUSE in the search and found it.
      doh123
  • Ubuntu?

    Greg says, "You can pay a nominal fee at a store, with books, media and support you can install yourself. That doesn?t exist with other projects."

    My question is whether there is any value in store-bought distributions. That will certainly draw some enthusiasts who are already using Linux. It may even bring in a few new people. From what I've seen you're talking $40US minimum just to pay for the packaging the software comes in and the shelf space in a retail store. And that assumes the original distributor makes roughly $0 profit. In my book, $40 is too much money. Add the weight and size of big books and I bet that goes up to $80 per box.

    Contrast that with a grass-roots alternative like Ubuntu. Ubuntu provides the media for free with online support and documentation.

    The rough point is that Ubuntu is not as convenient because you can't just grab it at a store. But installing any OS yourself is daunting for a non-technical person. There are usually technically oriented people willing to help (e.g. a nearby LUG) who would provide media and some amount of installation and support for free. That's certainly what I do. Since packaged Ubuntu became freely available I've been getting stacks of CD packets and handing them out to anyone who asks about Windows alternatives or specifically about Linux. My experience has been that these are the people, normal non-techie people, who want to use Linux and will stick with it. Not the box-jockeys who run a pirated copy of Windows 2000 on their PC but have their shelves lined with old boxed sets of Linux distros.

    I just think that store bought Linux is just quirky and out of place in this time period. 10 years ago it made more sense because downloading 600MB or more was almost universally painful.
    cabdriverjim
    • Mindshare - openSUSE is free for download

      Advertising pays and there are still plenty of people in stores. Having a box with desktop user oriented Linux in amongst all the MS related stuff is a good message. The stated goal here is to convert ordinary desktop users to Linux and that won't happen by word of mouth alone.
      palmwarrior
  • The disk question

    The biggest issue I have with SuSE is the lack of distro disk images. If you want to download SuSE for free, you HAVE to download an install iso - which is a very small "access" disk. Once you run the install disk, you HAVE to do a ftp install in order to get SuSE. After spending an afternoon attempting this and getting cut-offs, freezes, and ALMOST to the end and crash - I gave up on SuSE. If they do not remedy this situation and provide download disks, then OpenSuSE will NOT be on my (or many other people's) list.
    Roger Ramjet
    • Other install options are available...

      on the openSUSE web site. First off, there are several versions of openSUSE available. I took the most conservative approach and I'm downloading the DVD iso for version 9.3. Hopefully, it will be there when I get home from work. My cable connection is fast enough but something along the network is greatly reducing my download speed.
      palmwarrior
    • What's this? Chopped Liver?

      ftp://ftp.suse.com/pub/suse/i386/current/iso/

      In any case, when you do a network install, you usually end up using less bandwidth, since you only download the packages you are actually installing. Plus the network install usually includes updated packages, which the CD images do not.
      mrcreosote
    • The Disk Answer

      Lack of distro images? You say, ?Once you run the install disk, you HAVE to do a ftp install in order to get SuSE.? I hate to inform you, but you can download the entire DVD here: http://software.opensuse.org/. Select your architecture in step 1, you medium of choice (DVD) in step 2, and your download method in step 3. In step 4, you start the 4.1 GB DVD download.

      Once you create a DVD from the ISO and boot from it, you can do the entire install sans any Internet connectivity as all of the packages are right there.
      DarienHawk67
  • Increased Vendor Support Costs

    If Linux was only available as a preloaded OS, then I could understand the frustration over vendors not offering a choice of operating systems. However, with Linux availability just a download away?for free?I don?t care whether the vendors offer Linux as an option or not.

    I fully agree with John Zern as to why vendors are hesitant to offer Linux. When typical home users crowd support lines with everyday, usability questions, any savings the vendors retained from offering OOS solutions will be quickly absorbed in tech support overhead.

    If you don?t want Windows, its abolishment from your computer is just an ISO download away.
    DarienHawk67