The openSUSE and Ubuntu Rollercoasters

The Linux World is rarely dull, but last week was an emotional roller coaster for users of openSUSE and Ubuntu. First Novell was sold to Microsoft and Attachmate with no mention of the fate of openSUSE. Then Ubuntu founder Shuttleworth told reporters that Ubuntu may switch from the six-month release cycle to daily updates. Both items garnered lots of speculation, elation, and worry until both parent companies finally addressed them.

In the wake of Sun's sell to Oracle and subsequent defunding and closing of several Open Source projects, FOSS advocates are understandably leery of any of our respected companies going to outsiders. So, when the news of Novell's sell to Attachmate hit the Web, users and developers of openSUSE were a bit worried. The news was later updated to include that a Microsoft holding company purchased many of Novell's patents. That set off more concern Linux-wide for the implications to Linux if Microsoft were to own UNIX. Some alarmists were afraid it would be SCO vs Linux all over again.

Even though not all of the details of the sale have been released and discussed, calmer heads pointed out that Linux was never proven to infringe upon UNIX in the first place, but Novell finally issued an announcement that UNIX was not sold to Microsoft. Just prior Attachmate had released their announcement that openSUSE would continue to be funded as before. While these announcements were a bit reassuring and most take them at face value, Andy Updegrove posted one of the most intelligent and comprehensive analysis of the situation. In summary, it's far from a straight-forward sale and Linux still may or may not be subject to litigation.

Then Ubuntu users were taken for a ride last week as well. The Register quoted Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and Ubuntu, as saying he would be moving the popular distribution from its six-month release cycle to daily updates through the Ubuntu Software Center. This sent shock waves throughout Ubuntu with lots of cheers and a few jeers, but mostly lots more speculation. Some thought this was another indication of Canonical's newly forming direction while many worried that more bugs and instability would result.

Then Rick Spencer, Director of Ubuntu Engineering, issued a statement on his blog retracting the statement. He said unequivocally, "Ubuntu is not changing to a rolling release" adding, "having a stable release with a six month cadence plus the option to stay cutting edge on certain packages (at your own risk) is not really a rolling release." Shuttleworth was quoted as saying they would be moving away from the six-month release cycle in favor of using daily updates. While the original source has been reworded and updated erasing that key quote, the original wording was the very definition of a rolling release. Whatever the reason for the turnaround, it was yet another up and down, back and forth, and to and fro in the Linux World last week.


Susan Linton is a Linux writer and the owner of


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Eduardo's picture

M$ by Novell ...

Rolling release...

It sucks


Eduardo's picture


Previously I using OpenSuse

Mufti's picture

Previously I using OpenSuse and Ubuntu, but righ now Im more comfort using Snow Leopard, Nice share

I have to agree, open SUSE is

Cindy's picture

I have to agree, open SUSE is REALLY cool !

Cindy, from

First time Im using linux I

Mufti's picture

First time Im using linux I using OpenSuse 9.

Mufti from

Couple of more news from openSUSE

Manu Gupta's picture

Hi Susan
A couple of news for you too
openSUSE may also come up with its own rolling distro, also its own LTS version for servers

open suse is cool. fuck off

Anonymous's picture

open suse is cool. fuck off satan


Anonymous's picture


OpenSuSE may be a bloated old tart, but there's no need to be offensive.

Hell no rolling release for me

Anonymous's picture

If Ubuntu would become a true rolling release only distro, it would be an easy decision to move to another distro. I use Ubuntu for my work and private computer experience, and while not minding a rolling release on my private computer, I do mind it on my work computer.

Getting commercial support for a rolling release is impossible, if not affordable. I do have a second linux distro I could use for my work, but migrating an entire office takes time and involves risks.

a jeer

Anonymous's picture

Haha no way has someone at Canonical finally started telling Mr. S he should put a sock in it!

Rolling Ubuntu

Anonymous's picture

I for one would welcome it!

All it would really need is to have some flags added to the package manager on a per package basis to "stay current" or "stay stable". For example, for things like gstreamer "stay current" would be very helpful since what Ubuntu ships with is usually a version or more behind the current release.

The stable flag would update things on something like the LTS version schedule.


Ryan S.'s picture

That's already possible and quite a bit easier than the retarded idea you are suggesting. You don't actually understand package management at all do you?