When 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.