Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-project (230 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-project] openSUSE 2016: taking a picture of openSUSE today

just some clarifications about the discussion process.

We will try to answer as many comments as possible, obviously. The openSUSE
Team will do this together with me. They will lead the most technical topics
from our side. Since both, factory and this ML have several hundred
subscribers we will apply some "management" to answer.

Max Lin (with help, I hope), will try to summarize and group (if required) the
questions so myself or any other openSUSE Team member answer them. We will
also try to make summaries and recap the most significant ideas/comments as

I am open to hear ideas to handle the process if become bigger. It would be
ideal if it become our process.

For many of you the following information is known, but order to
clarify the scope of my words....

The following days you will read comments from me making references to the
openSUSE Team from my position as Team Lead. You all are aware that sometimes
being employees working in a Free Software project is not like contributing as
volunteers or being sponsored. But SUSE is a Linux based company with a very
open/participative culture. This is not the military. There is room for
disagreement.... also in these discussions. ;-)

SUSE in openSUSE is way more than the openSUSE Team, as many of you know.
Sysadmin team, OBS crew, maintenance/security..., I do not speak on behalf of
them. My responsibilities are limited to the openSUSE Team.

But.......we (oS Team) will do our best to bring the needed answers and
statements from the qualified people at SUSE if, for whatever reason, they
cannot or do not want to participate directly in the debate. This task will be
part of the communication management mentioned earlier when required.

Thanks for participating.

On Tuesday 26 November 2013 20:38:11 agustin benito bethencourt wrote:

Once openSUSE 13.1 has been released, it is time for the openSUSE Team to
focus on the future. We want to share some ideas we have about the project
in general and factory in particular. The topic is not easy. so this mail
is a little long and dense, but hopefully worth it. It won't be the last
one so let me know how to improve it.


This is the first of a series of mails we will publish the following days
with different ideas. The process we are proposing has no intention of
pointing at anybody, revisiting the past or enforce any situation within
the community. Our goals are:

* Share a picture as a starting point of discussion.
* Use the discussed picture as a reference to agree on actions we all
can/want to execute.


One of the first things we did was digging into numbers that provided us
information about the status of the project. Data cannot be the only source
to create a complete picture, but it is helpful as first step.

In order to better understand the rest of the mail, you probably want to
look the following references:

* Alberto Planas talk at oSC13: openSUSE in Numbers[1]
* Alberto Planas' slides from the above talk[2]
* First openSUSE Team blog post: Numbers in openSUSE[3]
* Second openSUSE Team blog post: More on statistics[4]
* Jos post about numbers[5]

One important note about the numbers: since most of the behaviors of the
variables reflected on the graphs were consolidated, at some point we
decided to stop adding effort in collecting numbers until 13.1 was released.
Once the Release is well established, we will update them and evaluate the
influence of this Release in the global picture.

I won't try to go very deep in the analysis. It would be too long. There are
many interpretations that can be done based on the graphs. I will just
point out the most relevant for our purpose. Feel free to add others.

Following Alberto Planas' order from his slides[2]...

1.- Downloads

The number of downloads do not measure our user base, but provide hints
about the impact of the work done every 8 months, the potential new users
we might bring to the project and, looking at pre-release downloads, the
number of testers.

Taking a look at the graphs, we can see that the overall number of downloads
is growing at a slow path (slope). This behavior is not consistent in every
release. For instance, 12.1 was more downloaded that 12.2 or 12.3. More and
more people uses zypper for updating the distribution though.

2.- UUIDs (installations that update regularly)

* Looking at the number of machines that regularly update against openSUSE
repositories (daily, weekly and monthly), we can easily conclude that the
situation is very stable. The speed of growth (daily and weekly stats) or
decline (monthly) is low.

* What the graph do not show is the acceleration. It has been negative
(small in value) for quiet some time now.

* When looking at the architectures, we see that x86_64 is more popular than
i586. This behavior is accelerating, as confirmed in the download numbers
collected for 12.3

* When looking at the mediums where those installations come from, we
clearly see three dominant ones: .iso (dvd version), ftp (net installs) and
Live CD.

* There is a relevant detail that Alberto mentioned in his talk. More than
half, almost 2/3, of openSUSE installations are not using the last version
many weeks after Release date. There is also a significant amount of
installations using unmaintained or Evergreen versions.

3.- Factory and Tumbleweed installations/"users"

Factory is our ongoing development effort. As you can see in the graph, the
number of Factory installations is constant. Tumbleweed was very successful
when it came out. Many developers and bleeding edge users liked it. Its
popularity is decreasing though.

4.- Contributors to factory and devel projects

The numbers of users that are submitting request to factory/devel projects
is increasing. Now we have more non SUSE contributors. SUSE ones remain
constant. The overall growth is about 27 new contributors per year, a
little bit more than 2 new contributors per month.

5.- Social media and comparison with Fedora

openSUSE is, in the social media channels evaluated, in the range of Fedora.
Comparing our numbers, I guess we all agree with this general trend that
states that openSUSE is a more user oriented distribution than Fedora is.
We have less downloads but more users (installations updating regularly).


All the above pieces shows a stable picture. Every sign of growth or decline
is, in absolute and/or relative numbers, small except social media, due to
their explosion as communication channels (which I do not think is way
different from what other Free Software communities are experiencing).


openSUSE coexist with other "coopetitors" (Free Software competitors +
cooperators) and competitors (closed sources distributions).
Touchscreens, cloud, big data, games...the Linux ecosystem is evolving and
there are new users with new needs.

New players are consolidating their positions: Arch, Chakra, Mint... Ubuntu
is moving to the mobile space, Debian is getting some attention back from
previous Ubuntu users....

On the other hand, some distros that were relevant in the past have
disappeared, our 13.1 has got more attention than previous ones, SUSE is
healthy and willing to invest more in openSUSE in the future ...

In the above context, how is our "stable" situation perceived? How
do we think it should be perceived?


If we agree that the overall number of users of Linux based server +
"traditional" desktop OS (let's remove the mobile/embedded space and
cloud for now), is growing, not following the "market" growing trend might
be perceived as a wake up call, a clear sign that improvements needs to be

But if we agree that we are playing in a risky and challenging field,
stability can be perceived as a healthy sign.

After these months of analysis and discussions with both, contributors and
users, I would like to ask you if you agree with the the idea that the first
picture is more prominent than the second one. But, does the second one
provide us a good platform to improve our current position?


Let me propose you some questions:

1.- What other variables we should put in place to create an accurate
picture of the current state of the project?

2.- What is the perception you think others have from the project?

3.- What is your perception, your picture?

To get some context you might want to take a look at the following contents:

* Current strategy[6]
* Ralf Flaxa keynote at oSC'13[7]
* Jos article: Strategy and Stable[8]
* Jos article: Strategy and Factory[9]


Please point us to other relevant references:

[1] Alberto Planas talk at oSC13: openSUSE in Numbers:
[2] Alberto Planas' slides from the above talk:
[3] First openSUSE at SUSE team blog post: Numbers in openSUSE
[4] Second openSUSE at SUSE team blog post: More on statistics
[5] Jos article about numbers:
.html [6] Current strategy:
[7] Ralf Flaxa keynote at oSC'13:
[8] Jos article: Strategy and Factory:
[9] Jos article: Strategy and Stable:


Agustin Benito Bethencourt
openSUSE Team Lead at SUSE
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