openSUSE Needs to Rebel

Over the course of a few years, and after openSUSE was launched, the relationship of openSUSE internally has been one of constant rediscovery and also lethargy. openSUSE heaveily relies on the power of the community and their votes on certain issues, features, etc. Simply put, openSUSE is democratic.

In a sense, this means that openSUSE has developed a system that slows down the process of innovation and has become an acolyte of other Linux distributions such as Fedora and Ubuntu. Fedora, on the one hand, has the fairly advanced support from the Red Hat giant. A company that has enough capacity to make changes which are matured enough and set examples for other distributions to follow. Then Ubuntu has Mark Shuttleworth. A character with a strong personality and defying attitude to break the routine of being a "common" Linux distribution.

In turn openSUSE "had" Novell. A company which had slowed down its business quite a bit in the last years and has not recently been bought out by a company related to Microsoft. Consequently, openSUSE was born dead like a mummy. The problem was that the reliance on Novell to help openSUSE was great and Novell as a company never delivered as did Red Hat to Fedora. Also, openSUSE never had strong personalities to drive its distro development as does Ubuntu. Too fearful to change radically, openSUSE followed in the steps of its godfather Novell and lost personality, for everything was handled and voted on by the community.

Now, openSUSE still is in the middle of a good discussion that will, possibly, bring out a statement that will drive openSUSE's focus into better things. The problem is, however, that while openSUSE keep trying to define itself, input from everywhere is also being given. As democratic as openSUSE is, they let these people take the stand and opine, sometimes very uselessly about something that maybe they will forget. Timing is eating openSUSE alive, for while they are trying to find out "who" they are other distros are obviously ahead in the distro battle. Think of Ubuntu's change from X to Wayland, or their drastic change to a more netbook interface. What did the Ubuntu community do when these changes were announced? nothing! Did they leave Ubuntu is disgust for this authoritarian intervention on the part of Shuttleworth? no!

If openSUSE was trying to do similar things, they would be fearful that the community would get upset by these decisions and not do anything at all. Even in my own blog I get this comments all the time. Why are you trying to change the desktop? it is good as it is right now. They say. Or, those things that you propose are already doable in other ways, use a different software. The list goes on and on, why? because openSUSE does not have representatives strong enough that drive its development. I do not mean to diminish the efforts of those people who are currently trying to work with openSUSE. My idea is that they are still not a strong presence on anything really. My perception is that current community leaders are really trying to keep harmony and peace within the community rather than producing drastic change.

To all of them I say, wake up! Stand up and change. You cannot expect to get different results if you keep applying the same methods. In my mind, drastic change, strong intervention and a marked personality could potentially change it all. Forget about us, the bureaucracy of openSUSE for a moment. Decide for once to be the best and openSUSE will certainly see the light.

My contribution is on the desktop. To change openSUSE's visible image to make it recognizable and visually powerful, but I am sure that make up is not all. We need a stronger general image. A reliable Linux distribution, a strong development group, greater device compatibility, ease of use, discoverability, marketing, etc. These things will change openSUSE's course forever if we just stop looking at the people we might upset by changing and just change openSUSE right away.

That is why I call my blog openSUSE REVOLUTION, for I believe that a revolutionary intervention is critically needed at openSUSE. Start from scratch, not being afraid of building something out of the ashes. It is time.

In the meantime, I will keep on conceptualizing openSUSE's future desktop.

Thanks for the visits you all.



Here I Go! Rebel openSUSE!

Well, I know it has been a long time for me to come up with what I think, is the start of a good future. I can only do mockups but I am sure that if there is a programmer brave enough out there to take this idea and turn it into a reality, be my guest.

I have taken a lot of things into account in order to create these mockups, and they are far from perfect. I believe they make sense and I am sure that many could be inspired by what you see. openSUSE needs direction and image. Ubuntu went first and they are being radical in their own way. Sure, many people are not happy with their inclusion of the netbook interface into the mainstream of their desktop version but the effects are ameliorating and people in their community are accepting the change. Is openSUSE ready for a change like that? a change in image and character?

It has been a long time since openSUSE stirred the waters of the Linux world and it is time that the Gecko makes a come back. Community leaders are in eager search for the best strategy and manifesto that will define the future of openSUSE as a community. However, words are blown easily by the wind, we need stronger impact. We need not only a change in focus but also a change in image. Here I offer my humble contribution to the distro that I love and care about.

Please enjoy and leave me some feedback. Also, if you are interested in coding these ideas, I will gladly help you with the conceptual work for it.

The first mockup shows a couple of ideas that I had already presented in my blog. One is Desktop Typing. The easiest, key-combo free implementation of Krunner or Gnome-do, or whatever other launcher out there. Simply click on an empty area of the desktop and type the name of the app or file that you want to launch. Another is the inclusion of the Go! menu. This menu is very similar in nature to the menus in smart phones such as iPhone, Android, or WebOS. If you notice the Go! menu comes out of a top panel which will enclose the System Tray icons and at the end of the top panel there is the Shut Down button. The Go! menu is configured to be hovered and then appear. (if you know how these work, then I will say no more). And the Third thing is the use of a top panel like the one on a Mac computer.

When any window is maximized, the top Title Bar and Window Operation Buttons disappear and merge onto the top panel. A simple way to include beautiful fullscreen windows into the system. Also, there could be a problem with Desktop Type once the maximized window is enabled, therefore users looking to launch with Desktop Type can click on the top panel and then type. Alternatively, they can hover the Go! menu and find their desired app.

Finally, users can make visual contact with their virtual desktops by hovering the bottom of the screen to make these arrows appear and go to a different virtual desktop. Additionally, there could be a window list much like Mac OSX's or Windows 7 but sitting comfortably on the right edge of the screen which accumulates in similar fashion to what AfterStep did borrowing from NeXTStep.