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.