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openSUSE logo
openSUSE 11.2 with KDE 4.3
Company / developer openSUSE Project,
(sponsored by Novell, Inc.)
OS family Unix-like
Working state Current (11.2)
Source model Free and open source software
Initial release March 1994 (age 15)
Latest stable release 11.2 / 2009-11-12; 2 months ago[1]
Marketing target Consumer, Small Business, Development
Available language(s) English, German, many others
Update method ZYpp (YaST)
Package manager RPM Package Manager: RPM, YaST2 One-Click Install: YMP File
Supported platforms IA-32, x86-64, PowerPC
Kernel type Monolithic (Linux)
Default user interface KDE
License GNU GPL and others

openSUSE, (pronounced /ˌoʊpənˈsuːzə/), is a general purpose operating system built on top of the Linux kernel, developed by the community-supported openSUSE Project and sponsored by Novell. After acquiring SUSE Linux in January 2004,[2] Novell decided to release the SUSE Linux Professional product as a 100% open source project, involving the community in the development process.[3]

The initial release of the community project was a beta version of SUSE Linux 10.0, and as of November 2009 the current stable release is openSUSE 11.2.[4]



openSUSE is driven by the openSUSE Project community and sponsored by Novell, to develop and maintain SUSE Linux distributions components. It is the equivalent of the historic "SuSE Linux Professional". After their acquisition of SUSE Linux, Novell has decided to make the community an important part of their development process.

Beyond the distribution, the openSUSE Project provides a web portal for community involvement. The community assists in developing openSUSE collaboratively with representatives from Novell by contributing code through the openSUSE Build Service, writing documentation, designing artwork, fostering discussion on open mailing lists and in Internet Relay Chat channels, and improving the openSUSE site through its wiki interface. Novell markets openSUSE as the best, easiest distribution for all users.[5]

Like most distributions, openSUSE includes both a default graphical user interface (GUI) and a command line interface option. During installation, the user may choose among KDE, GNOME and Xfce GUIs. openSUSE supports thousands of software packages across the full range of Free software / open source development.



Company history

Product history

In the past, the SUSE Linux company had focused on releasing the SuSE Linux Personal and SuSE Linux Professional box sets which included extensive printed documentation that was available for sale in retail stores. The company's ability to sell an open source product was largely due to the closed-source development process used. Although SUSE Linux had always been open product licensed with the GPL, it was only freely possible to retrieve the source code of the next release 2 months after it was ready for purchase. SUSE Linux strategy was to create a technically superior Linux distribution with the large number of employed engineers, that would make users willing to pay for their distribution in retail stores.[6]

Since the acquisition by Novell in 2003 and with the advent of openSUSE this has been reversed: starting with version 9.2, an unsupported 1 DVD ISO image of SUSE Professional was made available for download as well as a bootable Live DVD evaluation. The FTP server continues to operate and has the advantage of "streamlined" installs: Only downloading packages the user feels they need. The ISO has the advantages of an easy install package, the ability to operate even if the user's network card does not work "out of the box", and less experience needed (i.e., an inexperienced Linux user may not know whether or not to install a certain package, and the ISO offers several preselected sets of packages).

The initial stable release from the openSUSE Project, SUSE Linux 10.0, was available for download just before the retail release of SUSE Linux 10.0. In addition, Novell discontinued the Personal version, renaming the Professional version to simply "SUSE Linux", and repricing "SUSE Linux" to about the same as the old Personal version. As of version 10.2, the SUSE Linux distribution was officially renamed to openSUSE.[7][8]

Over the years, SuSE Linux has gone from a status of a distribution which includes proprietary software, with restrictive, delayed publications (2 months of waiting for those who had not bought the box, without ISOs available, but installation available via FTP) and a closed development model to a free distribution model with immediate and freely availability for all and a transparent and open development. Its popularity continues to grow, through its openness and infrastructure available but is in contrast with the reception of the announcement of Novell's collaboration with Microsoft through a part of the Linux community.


openSUSE is fully and freely available for immediate download, and is also sold in retail box to the general public. Thus, if there is only one openSUSE distribution, it comes in several editions for the x86 and x86-64 architectures (as for version 11.2):

  • openSUSE Download Edition: This is the freely downloadable ISO version, available from the openSUSE downloads page. It is available as a Live-CD version (KDE4 or GNOME) which can be installed on the hard disk, or as a more complete single layer DVD-5. A CD containing additional proprietary software and an additional CD containing files for internationalization (less common languages) are also available. This version does not include any technical assistance, nor printed manuals.
  • openSUSE Retail Edition: Users are able to purchase openSUSE box from Novell[9]. It contains a DVD-9 (dual-layer) comprising the 32-bit and 64, together with printed documentation, 60 days limited user support and 2 stickers. Media of the retail version is a little bit different from the downloaded ISO, but all software in the box which are not on the downloadable ISOs are available on the FTP servers and freely accessible. It is equivalent to the download edition with the only differences being limited product support and a printed user manual.[10]
  • openSUSE FTP: There is also a small ISO to install openSUSE directly from FTP (network install). There are mirrors on the two different FTP trees: one for open-source packages (OSS), a second for non-open-source packages or whose license is restrictive (non-oss). The FTP can be used to complement the Download and Retail editions.
  • openSUSE Factory: This is the continuous ongoing development version, from which the development team take out regular snapshots (Milestones and RC) to get the stable openSUSE.


YaST Control Center

SUSE includes an installation and administration program called YaST2 which handles hard disk partitioning, system setup, RPM package management, online updates, network and firewall configuration, user administration and more in an integrated interface. YaST also integrates with SaX2 to help users handle their graphics card and monitor, touch displays, and even additional monitors with Xinerama. In more recent times, many more YaST modules have been added including Bluetooth support.


AutoYaST is part of YaST2 and is used for automatic installation. The configuration is stored in an XML file and the installation happens without user interaction.

ZYpp package management

ZYpp (or libzypp) is a Linux software management engine which has a powerful dependency resolver and a convenient package management API.

Build Service

The openSUSE Build Service provides software developers with a tool to compile, release and publish their software for many distributions, including Mandriva, Ubuntu, Fedora and Debian. It typically simplifies the packaging process, so developers can more easily package a single program for many distributions, and many openSUSE releases, making more packages available to users regardless of what distribution version they use. It is published under the GPL.[11]

Desktop innovation

Xgl and Compiz

In January 2, 2006, SUSE developer David Reveman announced Xgl, an X server architecture designed to take advantage of modern graphics cards via their OpenGL drivers, layered on top of OpenGL via glitz. Compiz, one of the first compositing window managers for the X Window System that is able to take advantage of this OpenGL-acceleration, was also released.

Desktop innovations (KDE)

SUSE has been a leading contributor to KDE for many years, and now SUSE sponsors more developers to work directly on KDE than any other distribution. Hence, SUSE's contributions in this area have been very wide-ranging, and affecting many parts of KDE such as kdelibs and kdebase, kdepim, and kdenetwork. Other notable projects include:

Desktop innovations (GNOME)

The Ximian group became part of Novell, and in turn made and continued several contributions to GNOME with applications such as F-Spot, Novell Evolution and Banshee. The Gnome desktop now uses the slab instead of the classic double-panelled gnome menu bars.


10.x Series

The initial stable release from the openSUSE Project was SUSE Linux 10.0, released on October 6, 2005.[12] This was released as a freely downloadable ISO image and as a boxed retail package, with certain bundled software only included in the retail package.[13]

On May 11, 2006, the openSUSE Project released SUSE Linux 10.1, with the mailing list announcement identifying Xgl, NetworkManager, AppArmor and Xen as prominent features.[14]

For their third release, the openSUSE Project renamed their distribution, releasing openSUSE 10.2 on December 7, 2006. Several areas that developers focused their efforts on were reworking the menus used to launch programs in KDE and GNOME, moving to ext3 as the default file system, providing support for internal readers of Secure Digital cards commonly used in digital cameras, improving power management framework (more computers can enter suspended states instead of shutting down and starting up) and the package management system. This release also featured version 2.0 of Mozilla Firefox.

The fourth release, openSUSE 10.3, was made available as a stable version on October 4, 2007.[15] An overhaul of the software package management system (including support for 1-Click-Install), legal MP3 support from Fluendo and improved boot-time are some of the areas focused on for this release.

11.x Series

OpenSUSE 11.0 was released on June 19, 2008. It includes the latest version of GNOME and two versions of KDE (the older, stable 3.5.9 and the newer 4.0.4).[16][17] It comes in three freely downloadable versions: a complete installation DVD (including GNOME, KDE3, and KDE4), and two Live CDs (GNOME, and KDE4 respectively). A KDE3 Live CD was not produced, however, due to limited resources.[18] Package management and installation were made significantly faster with ZYpp.[19]

OpenSUSE 11.1 was released on December 18, 2008. Updated software includes GNOME 2.24.1, KDE 4.1.3 + KDE 3.5.10, 3.0, VirtualBox 2.0.6, Compiz 0.7.8, Zypper 1.0.1, continued improvement in the software update stack, X.Org 7.4, Xserver 1.5.2 and Linux kernel [20]

OpenSUSE 11.2[21] was released on November 12, 2009. It includes KDE 4.3, GNOME 2.28, Mozilla Firefox 3.5, 3.1, improved social network support, updated filesystems such as Ext4 as the new default and support for Btrfs, installer support for whole-disk encryption, significant improvements to YaST and zypper, and all ISO images are hybrid and now support both USB and CD-ROM boot.[22] [1]

Version history

The openSUSE project aims to release a new version every eight months. It supports each release with critical updates for two years from the release date. Starting with version 11.2, critical updates will be provided for two releases plus two months, which at the current release cycle of 8 months would result in a support lifetime of 18 months.[23]

Color Meaning
Red Old release; not supported
Yellow Old release; still supported
Green Current release
Blue Future release
Project Name Version Release date Kernel version
S.u.S.E. Linux

(Slackware based)

3/94 1994-03-??  ?.?.?
7/94 1994-07-??  ?.?.?
11/94 1994-11-??  ?.?.?
4/95 1995-04-?? 1.2.9
8/95 1995-08-??  ?.?.?
11/95 1995-11-??  ?.?.?
S.u.S.E. Linux 4.2 1996-05-??  ?.?.?
4.3 1996-09-??  ?.?.?
4.4 1997-05-??  ?.?.?
5.0 1997-07-?? 2.0.30
5.1 1997-10-?? 2.0.32
5.2 1998-03-23 2.0.33
5.3 1998-09-10 2.0.35
SuSE Linux 6.0 1998-12-21 2.0.36
6.1 1999-04-07 2.2.6
6.2 1999-08-12 2.2.10
6.3 1999-11-25 2.2.13
6.4 2000-03-09 2.2.14
7.0 2000-09-27 2.2.16
7.1 2001-01-24 2.2.18
7.2 2001-06-15 2.4.4
7.3 2001-10-13 2.4.9
8.0 2002-04-22 2.4.18
8.1 2002-09-30 2.4.19
8.2 2003-04-07 2.4.20
SUSE Linux 9.0 2003-10-15 2.4.21
9.1 2004-04-23 2.6.4
9.2 2004-10-25 2.6.8
9.3 2005-04-16 2.6.11
10.0 2005-10-06 2.6.13
10.1 2006-05-11 2.6.16
10.1 remastered[24] 2006-10-13 2.6.16
openSUSE 10.2 2006-12-07 2.6.18
10.3 2007-10-04 2.6.22
11.0 2008-06-19 2.6.25
11.1 2008-12-18 2.6.27
11.2 2009-11-12 2.6.31
11.3 2010-07-15[25] TBA

System requirements

openSUSE 11.1 has full support for 32 bit i586 and 64 bit x86-64 PC hardware, as well as PowerPC (PPC) processors. The basic requirements for non-PPC hardware is as follows:[26]

The actually achievable minimum specs differ. Older processors that still belong to the i586 family are usable, for example the AMD K6/2. When excess language/translation files and documentation are removed and X is not needed, decent console-based router systems can be made using 300 MB disk space. Most console workloads also cope with 128 MB RAM at the cost of increased swap activity in tight situations.


See also


  1. ^ a b openSUSE 11.2 Released!
  2. ^ "Novell Completes Acquisition of SUSE LINUX". Novell Press Release. January 13, 2004. Retrieved 2006-01-13.  
  3. ^ Tina Gasperson (August 3, 2005). "Novell frees SUSE Professional under new branding". NewsForge. Retrieved 2006-01-13.  
  4. ^ Joe Brockmeier (November 12, 2009). "openSUSE 11.2 Released!". opensuse-announce mailing list. Retrieved 2009-11-12.  
  5. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved 2007-01-13.  
  6. ^ Managing Firm-Sponsored Open Source Communities masters thesis
  7. ^ "SUSE Linux 10.2 Alpha2 Release - and distribution rename". Retrieved 2008-04-27.  
  8. ^ "SUSE Linux Becomes openSUSE". Retrieved 2008-03-03.  
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ [opensuse-announce] Complete openSUSE Build Service under GPL available
  12. ^ CowboyNeal (October 5, 2006). "SUSE 10.0 OSS Released". Slashdot. Retrieved 2007-01-13.  
  13. ^ Joe Harmon (September 19, 2005). "Packages on the retail version and not the OSS version of SUSE Linux 10.0". Retrieved 2007-01-13.  
  14. ^ Andreas Jaeger (May 11, 2006). "SUSE Linux 10.1 Release". opensuse-announce mailing list. Retrieved 2007-01-13.  
  15. ^ Francis Giannaros (October 4, 2007). "Announcing openSUSE 10.3 GM". openSUSE News. Retrieved 2007-10-08.  
  16. ^ "openSUSE 11.0 KDE4 inclusion".  
  17. ^ "KDE with Stephan Binner".  
  18. ^ "KDE with Stephan Binner".  
  19. ^ "Sneak Peaks at openSUSE 11.0: Package Management".  
  20. ^ openSUSE 11.1 Released!
  21. ^ "OpenSUSE 11.2 Review".  
  22. ^ "OpenSUSE 11.2". Retrieved 2009-10-05.  
  23. ^ Michael Loeffler (August 14, 2009). "Change in maintenance for openSUSE 11.2 and future versions". opensuse-announce mailing list. Retrieved 2009-11-10
  24. ^ [opensuse-announce] SUSE Linux 10.1 "Remastered" available
  25. ^ openSUSE Roadmap
  26. ^ OpenSUSE 11.1: Hardware Requirements

External links

Simple English

Company / developer Novell
OS family Linux
Working state Current (10.3 and above)
Source model Open Source
Initial release March 1994 (age 16–17)
Latest stable release


/ 12 November 2009
Update method Zypper/YaST2
Package manager RPM Package Manager
Supported platforms x86, x64, PowerPC
Kernel type Monolithic kernel, Linux
Default user interface KDE/GNOME
License GPL and others

openSUSE, (pronounced /ˌoʊpɛnˈsuːzə/), is a community project, sponsored by Novell and AMD,[1] to develop and maintain a general purpose Linux distribution. After taking over SUSE Linux in January 2004,[2] Novell decided to release the SUSE Linux Professional product as a 100% open source project, involving the community in the development process.[3] The initial release was a beta version of SUSE Linux 10.0, and as of October 2007 the current stable release is openSUSE 11.0.[4]

System requirements

OpenSUSE 11.1 has full support for 32 bit i586 and 64 bit x86-64 PC hardware, as well as PowerPC(PPC) processors. The basic requirements for non-PPC hardware is as follows:[5]:

  • CPU: Intel—Pentium 1-4 or Xeon; AMD—Duron, Athlon, Athlon XP, Athlon MP, Athlon 64, Sempron or Opteron
  • RAM: 256 MB minimum, 512 MB recommended
  • Hard drive: 500 MB for minimal system; 3 GB recommended for standard system

Older processors that still belong to the i586 family can be used, for example the AMD K6/2. When extra language/translation files and documentation are removed and X is not needed, decent console-based router systems can be made using 300 MB disk space. Most console workloads also cope with 128 MB at the cost of increased swap activity in tight situations.


  1. "Sponsors/AMD". Retrieved 2008-03-17. 
  2. "Novell Completes Acquisition of SUSE LINUX". Novell Press Release. January 13, 2004. Retrieved 2006-01-13. 
  3. Tina Gasperson (August 3, 2005). "Novell frees SUSE Professional under new branding". NewsForge. Retrieved 2006-01-13. 
  4. Michael Loeffler (October 4, 2007). "Release of openSUSE 10.3". opensuse-announce mailing list. Retrieved 2007-10-04. 
  5. OpenSUSE 11.1: Hardware Requirements


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