On 27 October 2017 at 08:20, Felix Miata <mrmazda(a)earthlink.net> wrote:
Richard Brown composed on 2017-10-26 15:39
- our number of monthly downloads of our
distributions had steadily
declined, suggesting a constant apathy in the adoption of the
Project's main output
- our number of downloads around each release had steadily declined,
suggesting that each release was failing more than the last at
gathering significant traction with the broad "Linux of everyone"
target audience the openSUSE Project had at the time
- our number of unique users of our official download repos had
steadily increased, suggesting however that we had a steady, loyal,
and growing userbase
When taken on balance this mean that openSUSE
could be argued to be
_at best_ stagnant, or at worst in a shallow decline....
Was the competence of Zypper taken into consideration here? I can't remember the
last time I did an offline upgrade - 2009 it could have been. I download GM
.isos for use with installation on computers not my own, but rarely use them for
anything else. Zypper is just too good to waste time in single user mode do do a
distribution upgrade that is virtually indistinguishable from ordinary updating,
and can readily be prevented from upgrading selected packages via Zypper's
intuitive locking system.
Indeed, of course we took it into consideration.
It's simple logic really - You can make one absolute conclusion - less
people downloading the ISO's means less potential new users and
You do not gain new users from 'zypper dup'
The increasing repository statistics (which are effectively counting
'users of YaST & zypper hitting the repos') showed that we obviously
remained successful at retaining users & converting some of those ISO
downloads into persistent users
But, if the decline of ISO's downloads were to continue indefinitely,
we would increasingly struggle to gain new users, and it would be
infeasible to continue openSUSE in the long term
Without new users, we don't get new contributors.
Without new contributors, we can't continue to offer what we already
do (because like any organisation we have an attrition rate - sooner
or later many contributors lives change and lead them to move on)
And ideally, we do not want to be a project that 'treads water' - in
fact the communities collective enthusiasm for Tumbleweed shows that.
It's increase in Tumbleweeds userbase and contributors during the same
time I describe in the above post shows that openSUSE had the
potential to appeal in totally new ways to audiences we never had an
interest from before, and that is the sort of magical spark and energy
that really gives the project as a whole new momentum.
Such appeal and momentum are a very appealing characteristics that
draw in more new users, and also seems to have a tendency to encourage
more of those new users to step up and contribute.
It might seem counter intuitive, because we no longer target
'everybody everywhere', but since introducing Leap, changing the
website, and focusing openSUSE's messaging more towards SysAdmins,
Developers & Power Users, the Project seems now to be on a track of
increasing it's ISO downloads (ie. it's pool of potential new users).
People want to know what the Project is good at, with this direction
we are targetting our strengths and representing what our community is
more actively involved in and effective in producing. I don't think
it's a shame to admit that as a Project the bulk of the openSUSE
community is not interested in developing an Ubuntu-style 'Linux for
your grandmother' experience.
Of course, as an open project, we're open for people to take the
project in that direction. But they need to step up and do that work.
No one to date has, and given the Project is 12 years old now, I think
it's fair that we stop waiting for those people to appear.
There is also a school of thought that it is important to provide an
'aspirational' angle to your marketing. Why do so many people use Kali
Linux, the penetration testing distribution? There are probably more
Kali Linux users out there than there are professional penetration
testers. But people are drawn to it because they ASPIRE to be hackers,
so choosing the tools built for that is a way of starting them on that
Why do people use Arch Linux, a distribution that wears it's 'we're
hard to use, that's how you learn' challenge on its sleeve? Because
some people aspire to master such challenges.
Given openSUSE's strength at providing tools for SysAdmins, Developers
& Power Users, by incorporating that focus in our messaging, we plan
to appeal not only to that audience, but also anyone who aspires to
join that audience in the future. Kids in school who want to be
developers, small business owners who need sysadmin skills, and
Millennials who have grown up with technology around them all their
life, but now want to really take things to the next level as a Power
User of a capable operating system.
We can't appeal to them when we advertise ourselves as 'Linux for
everybody' - if we target everybody everywhere, we effectively target
We seem to be doing a good job of attracting new attention and from
that new users into both Leap & Tumbleweed.
As long as we do everything right to keep them, this should convert to
more repo/'zypper dup' users in the future, and more contributors long
term, keeping the project happier and healthier than it has been in
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