The openSUSE Linux distribution is back on track today, with a new release that will return the open source effort to its regular release cycle. The openSUSE 12.3 release had a shortened development cycle due to the two-month delay of the openSUSE 12.2 release, which made its debut in September.
Robert Schweikert, SUSE Software Integration Center Tech Lead and openSUSE board member, explained to ServerWatch that there was a real commitment within the openSUSE community to deliver a high-quality, stable release, on-time this time, with openSUSE 12.3.
"We all felt we just had to be very careful with the things that go into Factory and the risky stuff would start out in it is own development branch," Schweikert said. "So overall, we were more careful with what went into this release."
Factory is the development branch of openSUSE development. Schweikert noted that during the development phase of openSUSE 12.3, the stability of code was a nice bonus for those that use Factory on a daily basis.
The Factory is not the same as the openSUSE tumbleweed rolling release tree that openSUSE also has available. With tumbleweed, new packages are constantly being added to the distro, providing an always-updated approach. Schweikert explained that with the openSUSE 12.3 release, Tumbleweed will get re-based to the new 12.3 packages and then start its rolling release cycle again.
The openSUSE 12.3 release is the first from the project to provide support for booting on hardware that uses UEFI Secure Boot technology.
The project has also opted to use the open source MariaDB database as its default offering, instead of the Oracle-led MySQL database. Schweikert said that users will still be able to choose MySQL if they really want it.
The shift away from MySQL may not however be reflected by openSUSE's enterprise counterpart, SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES).
Matthias Eckermann, product manager for SUSE, told ServerWatch that based on the arguments, which have been exchanged publicly, the current switch from MySQL to MariaDB sounds like a reasonable approach for openSUSE.
"SUSE customers and partners using SUSE Linux Enterprise, however, require long-term stability for existing interfaces and environments to minimize risk and costs," Eckermann said. "SUSE is not planning to switch from MySQL to MariaDB for the released SUSE Linux Enterprise products."
Eckermann added that for upcoming major versions, SUSE is carefully listening to its customers and partners — and specifically to those members in its large community of ISVs who build their solutions upon open source databases.
The openSUSE 12.3 release also includes a complete OpenStack Folsom set of packages. SUSE is one of the founding members of the OpenStack Foundation and a leading contributor to its development.
Schweikert noted that openSUSE 12.3 includes many of the same OpenStack capabilities that the SUSE Cloud offering currently provides. SUSE Cloud was officially launched in August of 2012 and includes the Crowbar installation technology as well.
Moving forward, the OpenStack project is now nearing completion of its Grizzly release, set to debut in April. Schweikert explained that openSUSE will have a separate repository for Grizzly, so openSUSE 12.3 users will be able to benefit from the new OpenStack release when it becomes available.
"As far as being officially included, that would then be in the 13.1 release," Schweikert said. "So there will not be an official update that pulls in Grizzly, but the packages will be available."
With the openSUSE project back on an eight-month release cycle again, the openSUSE 13.1 release is now currently scheduled to debut in November.