Home Business IT Open Source openSUSE tackles the problems that success brings

Open source projects that are unsuccessful face problems. But those that are too successful also do have plenty of issues.

Back in January, when the openSUSE project discovered that its Open Build Service had grown beyond its wildest dreams, it made a decision that resources would have to be deployed to streamline the OBS and keeping it useful and able to handle its clientele.

Hence a decision was taken that the paid staff from SUSE who work on open SUSE would step back and concentrate on the OBS; this meant that the next release of openSUSE would have to be delayed.

But the community was not happy about this.

According to Jos Poortvliet, the openSUSE community manager, the former boosters of the project, now the openSUSE team at SUSE, announced that they would like to work on our infrastructure and development processes.

"As we are normally kept busy with the day to day business of keeping our current development and release process running, we proposed to skip an openSUSE release and release openSUSE 13.2 16 months after 13.1, instead of the usual 8 months. This would give us time to focus on these fundamental improvements," he told iTWire.

"The community was not terribly happy with this and several people stepped forward to do the release without us. At some point in the conversation, a community member noted that perhaps we could do a compromise: release after 12 months instead of skipping a release."

Poortvliet said that internally, the proposal found favour "and we came back with a reply supporting it. After some debate, this is now the plan."

There was some confusion initially, with people claiming that the paid openSUSE staff would no longer be working on openSUSE.

Said Poortvliet: "The confusion came out of the initial proposal to skip a release, followed by us making clear we didn't have the resources to BOTH handle the release process AND the work we want to do to improve that process.

"A few people took it as meaning we would stop working on openSUSE permanently, or that SUSE was dis-investing in openSUSE. This is certainly not true, the matter was about what to focus our efforts on, not about those efforts in the first place."

He said there was a move to improve Factory, the development version of openSUSE. "We set out to improve things (and have been reporting regularly on progress on our team blog after we had to delay the openSUSE 12.2 release due to the growth in contributions to openSUSE, overwhelming our development process."

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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