In the case of the open source company, SUSE, that sells a Linux distribution of the same name, the solution has been to create a community distribution, called openSUSE. The project kicked off in 2005, some time after Novell had bought the SUSE Linux company, which until then had been releasing code only about two months after a release had gone on sale.
As users of Linux turned more and more to the internet to download their distribution of choice, the model of selling a release as boxed sets and CDs became unprofitable; openSUSE was set up in order to serve as a development hot-house and spread the use of the distribution.
Andreas Jaeger (pictured above), the project manager for openSUSE, says that the appearance of Canonical's Ubuntu on the scene in October 2004 was a factor in spurring the creation of openSUSE.
There are a number of employees of SUSE who are involved in the openSUSE project; there are also many outsiders who play a vital role. Jaeger says the project has a six-member board plus a chairman, with the latter being appointed by SUSE. The direction that the project takes is entirely determined by the project itself.
"The chairman has veto power, but so far has never had to exercise it," he said. "And I hope this never happens."
At the beginning there were about 10 to 15 people who decided how the project would be run, according to Jaeger. But they were not dedicated to this task alone. Later a dedicated openSUSE booster team, made up of 15 employees of SUSE, became active.