15 March, 2011

Be proud of yourself, Geekos!

Right now I'm enjoying the post-release stress. Going back and catching up with what was delayed due to the release being priority and all... And enjoying huge discussions on Identi.ca like this one ;-)

Me proud of the Geeko!

The article which went out on Friday made me very proud - openSUSE 11.4 made a splash. The title is really correct - we're gathering info on reviews etc on this page but it is extremely incomplete - there are so many reviews, articles, tweets, dents, facebook comments, video's on youtube - it is really great! And well over 100.000 downloads in 24 hours, almost twice what we did for 11.3 - awesome. openSUSE has its momentum back, that's clear. We already wrote that in this "end of 2010" article, and the subsequent Bretzn and Appstore sprints, the marketing sprint and all the cool stuff that is going on makes me quite certain about this: the openSUSE conference 2010 was a real turning point for openSUSE. The Geeko's back in the game!

Did we leave?

The question that might come up is - did the Geeko ever leave? I had a look at some statistics on our user base. openSUSE has 7-8 million users, that's significant! And, interestingly enough, between 30-50% more than Fedora. Ubuntu has no statistics online but once made some noise about numbers - talking somewhere between 6 and 8.

So be a proud Geeko!

Now all these numbers have some uncertainty associated with them, nothing is sure. Yet the numbers of Fedora and openSUSE at least are measured in the same way, so likely you can at least compare them roughly. And I bet Ubuntu has similar statisics on which they based their number - with the usual exaggeration. So even though the numbers aren't entirely clear, it is interesting to see openSUSE ain't exactly insignificant as many seem to believe... Not only do we have amazing technology like OBS and Studio but we also have a HUGE user base whom we serve with a pretty awesome distro! So, Geeko's, in the communication and marketing department - maybe openSUSE is not well known for that. But we're a leading distro when it comes to what matters - users and technology. Be proud!


  1. Congratulations! The decision to make KDE4 default was a very good decision. There's no surprise you've got bigger user base than Fedora which is just some tech preview. Btw. last time I heard Ubuntu had about 12 million users.

  2. I don't think that OpenSuse has more users than Ubuntu. Maybe if we include controlled enterprise computers that might be possible. By checking the results that appear in web search, one can simply predict.

  3. Yes, I know, Ubuntu does not share user numbers so nothing to compare with there. I could of course suggest that they don't let anyone know because the numbers aren't that big actually, but that would be mean ;-)

    Fedora is more than just a tech preview, they do pretty awesome work in bringing linux forward - but yes, the result of that is some more instability. Just like how Ubuntu focuses on mostly very simple use cases (grandma who wants to check the web once a week) making more complicated use cases actually harder than they would be in eg openSUSE. While openSUSE is more focused on those who want to get work done ;-)

    Good that there is choice, right?

  4. Two things that Suse needs that Ubuntu has:

    1) Simplified software manager (I heard something of the kind is coming)

    2) LTS releases: I can´t emphasize how important this is for many people who are not big corporations.Most of my friends want to set up their desktop computer once and have it work and be supported for at least 3 years. And five years is icing on the cake for all the small companies and non-profits that need an affordable server.

    This second point is where Ubuntu is kicking your ass badly. The fact that I can have a server supported for five years for free means that I am willing to spend the time to become familiar with the ins-and-outs. Once I do, I always recommend to those customers that can pay for support that they do so to make sure they have somebody to turn to if I get hit by a bus and to support the evolution of the product.

    I was an OpenSuse user for many years and would love to return, but for servers in the use-cases that I have explained, it simply does not make sense.

  5. @ Jospoortvliet

    Yes, you're right about Fedora. They're pushing Linux and FLOSS forward, but sometimes they're going too fast. ;)

    @ Anonymous

    There are also things Ubuntu could learn from OpenSuse and Fedora like delta rpm's. You don't have to download entire package, but just differences between old and new one.

  6. I agree with you Jos. In fact,those two things I listed are the only things keeping me on the Ubuntu side of things for deployments that I do for other people.I only listed them because I think they would be reasonably easy to tackle given enough willingness.

    I often end up trying and using Opensuse at least on one of my PCs.

  7. I finally tried OpenSuse with RC of 11.4, I loved how Plasma never crashes (like sometimes on Kubuntu) but why does everything just seem to freeze once and a while. Actually, its faster to recover from a Plasma crash than those freezes. Kubuntu (talking about KDE 4.6 packages) feels stable but feels more like a bunch of packages and programs than a distro. However, to describe what Opensuse has that other distros is integration, everything feels more put together! Great job and I hope that the freezing problem gets fixed for good.

  8. Honestly, Jos, did you tried at all to make a good estimation about Ubuntu's userbase???

    "With an estimated global usage of more than 12 million users..." - Wikipedia

    "Canonical Announces 12 Million Ubuntu Users, Google Makes a Comeback" - Google hit, article by Joe Brockmeier (!)

    This isn't an accurate research by any aspect, but I'm afraid that it's quite obvious that Ubuntu has significantly more users than openSUSE.

    Please don't look this as an attack against openSUSE, I'm a loyal friend of Geeko, and I really appreciate your work. But you are a representative of an (as you said) million people community, you should be precise about numbers.

    Best regards, Anonymus

  9. About the software manager, yes, that is coming. But we're openSUSE and try to do it in a collaborative way - see http://distributions.freedesktop.org/wiki/AppStream (an initiative started by openSUSE devs).

    About the LTS release - well, we now have the http://en.opensuse.org/Evergreen evergreen initiative which provides exactly that. But if you want a real good, long-term-supported product, there is SLES for you. It is very cheap for home users and not expensive for corporate users either - and offers commercial grade support, unlike Ubuntu.

    @CTown: about the freezes, I don't experience them - but it might be IO related? Do you have an SSD? In that case this page might help: http://en.opensuse.org/SDB:SSD_performance


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