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FAQ's or Frequently Asked Questions are the questions that most users have asked. It is the goal of this document to answer those questions.

What is the openSUSE project?

The openSUSE project is a community program sponsored by Novell. Promoting the use of Linux everywhere, this program provides free, easy access to the world's most usable Linux distribution, openSUSE. openSUSE delivers everything that Linux developers and enthusiasts need to get started with Linux. Hosted at, the project features easy access to builds and releases. It also offers extensive community development programs for open access to the development process used to create openSUSE.

What are the goals of the openSUSE project?

The openSUSE project has three main goals:

  • Make openSUSE the easiest Linux for anyone to obtain and the most widely used Linux distribution
  • Leverage open source collaboration to make openSUSE the world's most usable Linux distribution and desktop environment for new and experienced Linux users
  • Dramatically simplify and open the development and packaging processes to make openSUSE the platform of choice for Linux developers and software vendors

Who should participate in the openSUSE project?

Linux developers and Linux users everywhere are welcome to participate in the project. We believe that the project will appeal particularly to:

  • Millions of openSUSE users worldwide
  • Experienced Linux engineers and application developers who want to create their own packages for openSUSE
  • Corporate Linux experts, who regard openSUSE as the distribution that consistently delivers the latest Linux packages to the community in a stabilized integrated build

Current Linux users and others interested in getting started with Linux can visit to download the recent official release of openSUSE. More technical users who wish to participate directly in the development of openSUSE will can download the current developer build of the distribution and submit bugs and patches through Bugzilla. Less technically advanced people can do other things, perhaps act as an openSUSE Ambassador.

Do participants need to register?

Generally, no. No registration is required for software, source code downloads, enhancement requests in openFATE or participation in mailing lists. However, registration is required to submit bug reports or patches.

How is the openSUSE project organized and managed?

All successful open source communities start with a strong vision and the support and leadership of a small, dedicated group. Initially, the openSUSE project was driven by a core team of Novell personnel. The project's organizational model was changed over time as the openSUSE community grew.

Today the openSUSE Guiding principles describe the goals of the openSUSE project and how it is driven. An openSUSE Board consisting of Novell employees and community members was setup to lead the overall project. openSUSE Members are specifically acknowledged contributors who have brought a continued and substantial contribution to the project (browse member list), who enjoy some perks and will elect the next openSUSE board.

For additional team members browse the openSUSE User Directory.

What is the openSUSE project Release Schedule?

openSUSE now follows an eight-month development cycle, so new stable releases will come out every eight months from the project. (The cycle may be adjusted slightly to avoid holidays.) The next release of openSUSE, 11.3, is scheduled for July of 2010.

The project is now working on the next version of openSUSE. As always, openSUSE will provide regular snapshots of the latest development version. The engineering calendar and development guidelines are published at the project web site:

What is the road map for the openSUSE project community programs?

Initially, the roadmap for the openSUSE project consisted of three phases.

Phase One: (August 2005)

  • Establish the openSUSE community
  • Deliver the essential community infrastructure: website, downloadable builds, and source. Open Bugzilla, and IRC channels.
  • Accept patches for SUSE Linux 10.0 beta through bugzilla
  • Open beta testing of SUSE Linux 10.0.

Phase Two: (targeted spring 2006)

  • Simplify the patch submission process and establish a formal code checkout/checkin system
  • Personalized developer accounts to allow easier participation in the openSUSE development process

Phase Three: (targeted summer 2006)

  • Introduce a complete community infrastructure - with the publicly accessible build server, packagers can quickly create packages and incorporate them into test versions of the entire distribution.

As community members got involved, these priorities and timeframes were adjusted to better reflect the needs of the openSUSE community.

Why has Novell started the openSUSE project?

The openSUSE project was created in direct response to our customers. With millions of users worldwide, openSUSE/SUSE Linux is known for its innovation and ease of use, and is one of the most popular Linux distributions available today. openSUSE/SUSE Linux users have asked for greater opportunities to collaborate on the testing, design and integration of new openUSE features. Now, through the openSUSE project, Linux users everywhere have the opportunity to shape and improve the software they use on their personal laptops and home networks. They will also ultimately influence the commercial SUSE Linux products businesses use to run their applications.

What is the relationship of the openSUSE project to Novell?

The openSUSE project is sponsored by Novell, which contributes significant engineering, management and infrastructure resources. Novell, in consultation with the openSUSE community, sets the project engineering goals and retains ultimate responsibility for the project. The openSUSE operating system and associated open source applications are used by Novell as the basis for its fully supported and hardened enterprise Linux offerings.

Will Novell continue to sell consumer-oriented openSUSE in retail shops?

Yes. One of the objectives of the openSUSE project is to make openSUSE easily available to anyone. Although many openSUSE users may download the software from the project Web site or from mirrored sites around the world, other openSUSE users will prefer to have a physical copy of the product. Working with Novell, the openSUSE project will continue to create a fully packaged retail edition of the distribution that will be available in retail shops and online stores worldwide. The retail edition includes installable media, printed manual and several additional commercial software programs as well as limited technical support. The availability of a retail edition with support options sets openSUSE apart from any other community-based Linux distribution.

What is the difference between openSUSE and Novell's enterprise offerings?

openSUSE, created and maintained by the openSUSE Project, is a stable, integrated Linux operating system that includes the latest open source packages for desktop productivity, multimedia, Web-hosting, networking infrastructure and application development. It contains everything you need to get started with Linux and is ideal for individuals who wish to use Linux on their personal workstations or to drive their home networks.

openSUSE is the foundation for Novell's enterprise products. Novell refines and enhances openSUSE to create a hardened and supported suite of enterprise Linux products suitable for data center deployments, edge server deployments, business desktops, and business infrastructure deployment.

What makes the openSUSE project different from Fedora?

The Fedora Project, sponsored by Red Hat, is an open source effort with a strong community. There are also many other significant open source projects, such as Debian and Ubuntu, that serve active user and development communities. Generally speaking, these open source projects focus on engineering-centric issues that serve their technical community of Linux developers and users.

The openSUSE project explicitly looks beyond the technical community to the broader non-technical community of computer users interested in Linux. The openSUSE project creates — through an open and transparent development process — a stabilized, polished Linux distribution (openSUSE) that delivers everything a user needs to get started with Linux. (openSUSE is consistently cited as the best-engineered Linux and the most usable Linux.) To fulfill its mission of bringing Linux to everyone, the openSUSE project makes openSUSE widely available to potential Linux users through a variety of channels, including a complete retail edition with end-user documentation. Only the openSUSE project refines its Linux distribution to the point where non-technical users can have a successful Linux experience.

When compared specifically to Fedora, the openSUSE project embraces and develops several additional important open standards not included in Fedora, such as CIM (the Common Information Model), and YaST (a standard, open source configuration and management suite for Linux). Plus, the openSUSE project has a large desktop and usability effort, strengthened by many of the top open source GUI designers in the world.

What is the security update life cycle for openSUSE?

openSUSE up to version 11.1 is updated for 2 years. openSUSE starting with version 11.2 is updated for 2 releases plus 2 months (with a release every 8 months this amounts to 18 months or 1.5 years). For longer code guarantees and update cycles, Novell provides the business-class SUSE Linux Enterprise solutions based on openSUSE.

How can magazines get an edition of openSUSE?

Magazines often need a version of openSUSE that is adopted to their needs. There is some effort to be done for this. If you intend to publish a version of openSUSE in a magazine, please contact one of the following persons:

What is the default desktop of openSUSE - GNOME or KDE?

openSUSE supports a number of popular desktop environments, including GNOME and KDE. During installation from DVD, the user is asked to choose among GNOME, KDE, XFCE, LXDE and other common environments. KDE is the default environment beginning from openSUSE 11.2. The two most common desktop environments are KDE and GNOME. Both desktop environments are mature and feature-rich, which one a user chooses is a question of personal taste.