openSUSE[4] ( /ˌpənˈszə/[5]), formerly SUSE Linux and SuSE Linux Professional, is a Linux distribution sponsored[6] by SUSE Linux GmbH and other companies. It is widely used throughout the world. The focus of its development is creating usable open-source tools for software developers and system administrators, while providing a user-friendly desktop and feature-rich server environment.

openSUSE 15.1 with default KDE Plasma configuration
DeveloperopenSUSE Project
OS familyUnix-like (originally based on SUSE Linux Professional)
Working stateCurrent
Source modelOpen source
Initial releaseOctober 2005 (2005-10)
Latest releaseLeap 15.1[1] / May 22, 2019 (2019-05-22)
Marketing targetDesktop, workstation, server, development
Available inEnglish, German, Russian, Italian, Portuguese and many others[2]
Update method
Package manager
  • Tumbleweed (rolling): x86-32 (i586), x86-64, aarch64, ppc64le[3]
  • Leap (stable/fixed): only x86-64, aarch64 (testing/unofficial)[2]
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux)
Default user interfaceGNOME 3, XFCE, or KDE Plasma 5 (manually select at install time)
LicenseFree software licenses
(mainly GNU GPL)

The initial release of the community project was a beta version of SUSE Linux 10.0. The current stable fixed release is openSUSE Leap 15.1. The community project offers a rolling release version called openSUSE Tumbleweed, which is continuously updated with tested, stable packages. This is based on the rolling development code base called "Factory". Other tools and applications associated with the openSUSE project are YaST, Open Build Service, openQA, Snapper, Machinery, Portus and Kiwi.

Novell created openSUSE after purchasing SuSE Linux AG[7] for US$210 million on 4 November 2003. The Attachmate Group acquired Novell and split Novell and SUSE into two autonomous subsidiary companies. After The Attachmate Group merged with Micro Focus in November 2014, SUSE became its own business unit.[8] On 4 July 2018, EQT Partners purchased SUSE for $2.5 billion USD.[9]


The openSUSE Project community, sponsored by SUSE, develops and maintains SUSE Linux distributions components. openSUSE is the successor to SUSE Linux Professional.

Beyond the distributions and tools, the openSUSE Project provides a web portal for community involvement. The community develops openSUSE collaboratively with its corporate sponsors through the Open Build Service, openQA, writing documentation, designing artwork, fostering discussions on open mailing lists and in Internet Relay Chat channels, and improving the openSUSE site through its wiki interface. openSUSE offers Leap, a distribution built on a more tested base shared with SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE). Users that prefer more up-to-date free software can use its rolling release distribution Tumbleweed. Users can also use the Open Build Service. Moreover, the flexibility of openSUSE makes it easy to re-purpose for specific goals like running a web- or mail server.[10]

Like most Linux distributions, openSUSE includes both a default graphical user interface (GUI) and a command line interface option. Users of openSUSE may choose several desktops environments GUIs like GNOME, KDE, Cinnamon, MATE, LXQt, Xfce. openSUSE supports thousands of software packages across the full range of free software / open source development.

The operating system is compatible with a wide variety of hardware on numerous instruction sets including ARM-based single-board computers. Examples include the Raspberry Pi 3 and Pine64 on the ARMv8 platform also known as aarch64, the Banana Pi and BeagleBoard on the ARMv7 instruction set, and the first iteration of the Raspberry Pi on the ARMv6 ISA.[11]


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 free software product licensed with the GNU General Public License (GNU 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.[12]

Since the acquisition by Novell in 2003 and with the advent of openSUSE, this has been reversed: starting with version 9.2, an unsupported one-DVD ISO image of SUSE Professional was made available for download. The FTP server continues to operate and has the advantage of "streamlined" installs, permitting the user to download only the 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. In 2006 with version 10.2, the SUSE Linux distribution was officially renamed to openSUSE.[13][14] Until version 13.2, stable fixed releases with separate maintenance streams from SLE were the project's main offering. From late 2015, openSUSE has been split into two main offerings, Leap, the more conservative fixed release Leap distribution based on SLE, and Tumbleweed, the rolling release distribution focused on integrating the latest stable packages from upstream projects.[15]

Over the years, SuSE Linux has gone from a status of a distribution 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 transparent and open development.[16]

On April 27, 2011, Attachmate completed its acquisition of Novell. Attachmate split Novell into two autonomous business units, Novell and SUSE. Attachmate made no changes to the relationship between SUSE (formerly Novell) and the openSUSE project. After the 2014 merger of the Attachmate Group with Micro Focus, SUSE reaffirmed their commitment to openSUSE.[17]

EQT Partners announced their intent to acquire SUSE on July 2, 2018. There are no expected changes in the relationship between SUSE and openSUSE. This acquisition is the third acquisition of SUSE Linux since the founding of the openSUSE Project and closed on March 15, 2019.[9][18]


OpenSUSE is fully and freely available for immediate download, and is also sold in retail box to the general public. It comes in several editions for the various architectures:

  • openSUSE Leap: This is the fixed point release, based on SUSE Linux Enterprise. It is available as a Live-DVD version (KDE Plasma or GNOME) which can be installed on the hard disk, a rescue Live CD, or as a more complete single layer DVD. openSUSE Leap can also be downloaded and installed over FTP. openSUSE Leap is officially supported only on the x86-64 architecture, and through the community is unofficially supported on ppc64le and aarch64.[19]
  • openSUSE Tumbleweed: Rolling release, in which new stable versions of packages are made available as soon as they are stabilized from Factory. It is also available as a Live-DVD version (KDE Plasma, XFCE, or GNOME) which can be installed on the hard disk, a rescue Live CD, or as a more complete single layer DVD. Major versions of SLE and Leap are re-based on openSUSE Tumbleweed every 3–4 years. openSUSE Tumbleweed as well can be downloaded and installed over FTP. Tumbleweed officially is supported on the x86-64, x86, ppc64le and aarch64 architectures.[19]
  • openSUSE Factory: The unstable rolling development codebase for Tumbleweed.[20] Prior to 2014 this was a separate, unstable rolling release distribution. The Factory tree on the openSUSE download servers now redirects to Tumbleweed.
  • openSUSE Retail Edition or openSUSE Box: Users are able to purchase a boxed German version of openSUSE Leap. The box is delivered with install DVDs and printed documentation. There is no official English version of the Retail box.


YaST Control Center

SUSE includes an installation and administration program called YaST ("Yet another Setup Tool") which handles hard disk partitioning, system setup, RPM package management, online updates, network and firewall configuration, user administration and more in an integrated interface. In more recent times, many more YaST modules have been added, including one for Bluetooth support. It also controls all software applications. SaX2 was once integrated into YaST to change monitor settings, however with openSUSE 11.3 SaX2 has been removed.

The GTK+ user interface was removed starting with Leap 42.1, however the ncurses and Qt interfaces remain.


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.


WebYaST is a web interface version of YaST. It can configure settings and updates of the openSUSE machine it is running on. It can also shutdown and check the status of the host.

ZYpp package management

ZYpp (or libzypp) is a Linux software management engine which has a powerful dependency resolver and a convenient package management API. ZYpp is the backend for zypper, the default command line package management tool for openSUSE.

Build Service

The Open 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 GNU GPLv2+.[21]

Default use of Delta RPM

By default, OpenSUSE uses Delta RPMs when updating an installation. A Delta RPM contains the difference between an old and new version of a package. This means that only the changes, between the installed package and the new one, are downloaded. This reduces bandwidth consumption and update time, which is especially important on slow Internet connections.

Desktop innovation


SUSE was a leading contributor to the KDE project for many years. SUSE's contributions in this area have been very wide-ranging, and affecting many parts of KDE such as kdelibs and KDEBase, Kontact, and kdenetwork. Other notable projects include: KNetworkManager – a front-end to NetworkManager[22] and Kickoff – a new K menu for KDE Plasma Desktop.[23]

From openSUSE Leap 42.1 to 15.0, the default Plasma 5 desktop for openSUSE used the traditional cascading Application Menu in place of the upstream default Kickoff-like Application Launcher menu. The openSUSE Leap KDE experience is built on long term support versions of KDE Plasma, starting with openSUSE Leap 42.2.[24] With openSUSE Leap 15.1, the Plasma 5 desktop now again defaults to the Kickoff-style application menu.


The Ximian group became part of Novell, and in turn made and continued several contributions to GNOME with applications such as F-Spot, Evolution and Banshee. The GNOME desktop used the slab instead of the classic double-panelled GNOME menu bars from openSUSE 10.2 to openSUSE 11.4. In openSUSE 12.1 slab was replaced with the upstream GNOME Shell and GNOME Fallback designs.

Starting with openSUSE Leap 15.0, GNOME on Wayland is offered as the default GNOME session.[25] GNOME Classic, GNOME on Xorg, and "GNOME SLE" are offered as alternative sessions to the more upstream Wayland-based session.

Factory & Tumbleweed

The Factory project is the rolling development code base for openSUSE Tumbleweed,[26] a Linux distribution. Factory is mainly used as an internal term for openSUSE's distribution developers, and the target project for all contributions to openSUSE's main code base. There is a constant flow of packages going into Factory. There is no freeze; therefore, the Factory repository is not guaranteed to be fully stable and is not intended to be used by humans.

The core system packages receive automated testing via openQA. When automated testing is completed and the repo is in a consistent state, the repo is synced to the download mirrors and published as openSUSE Tumbleweed, which many developers and hackers from the openSUSE Project use as their primary operating system.[20]


From 2009 to 2014, the openSUSE project aimed to release a new version every eight months. Prior to the Leap series, versions 11.2-13.2 were provided with critical updates for two releases plus two months, which resulted in an expected support lifetime of 18 months.[27][28]

Starting with version Leap 42.1 (after version 13.2), each major release is expected to be supported for at least 36 months, until the next major version is available (e.g. 42.1, 15.0), aligned with SUSE Linux Enterprise Releases. Each minor release (e.g. 42.1, 42.2, etc.) is expected to be released annually, aligned with SUSE Linux Enterprise Service Packs, and users are expected to upgrade to the latest minor release within 6 months of its availability, leading to an expected support lifecycle of 18 months as well. Tumbleweed is updated on a rolling basis, and requires no upgrades beyond the regular installation of small updates and snapshots.[29]

Evergreen[30] was a community effort to prolong maintenance of selected openSUSE versions after they reached official end-of-life before the Leap series.

Name Version Codename Release date[31] End of life Kernel version
Regular[32] Evergreen[30]
SUSE Linux[33] Old version, no longer supported: 10.0 Prague 2005-10-06 2007-11-30 N/A 2.6.13
Old version, no longer supported: 10.1 Agama Lizard 2006-05-11 2008-05-31 N/A 2.6.16
openSUSE Old version, no longer supported: 10.2 Basilisk Lizard 2006-12-07 2008-11-30 N/A 2.6.18
Old version, no longer supported: 10.3 N/A 2007-10-04 2009-10-31 N/A 2.6.22
Old version, no longer supported: 11.0 N/A 2008-06-19 2010-06-26 N/A 2.6.25
Old version, no longer supported: 11.1 N/A 2008-12-18 2011-01-14 2012-04 2.6.27
Old version, no longer supported: 11.2 Emerald 2009-11-12 2011-05-12 2013-11 2.6.31
Old version, no longer supported: 11.3[34] Teal 2010-07-15 2012-01-16 N/A 2.6.34
Old version, no longer supported: 11.4[35] Celadon 2011-03-10 2012-11-05 2015-07 2.6.37
Old version, no longer supported: 12.1[36] Asparagus 2011-11-16 2013-05-15 N/A 3.1.0
Old version, no longer supported: 12.2[37] Mantis 2012-09-05 2014-01-15 N/A 3.4.6
Old version, no longer supported: 12.3[38] Dartmouth 2013-03-13 2015-01-01 N/A 3.7.10
Old version, no longer supported: 13.1[39] Bottle 2013-11-19 2016-02-03 2016-11[40] 3.11.6
Old version, no longer supported: 13.2[39] Harlequin 2014-11-04 2017-01-16 N/A 3.16.6
openSUSE Leap Old version, no longer supported: 42.1[41] Malachite 2015-11-04 2017-05-17 N/A 4.1.12
Old version, no longer supported: 42.2[42] N/A 2016-11-16 2018-01-26[43] N/A 4.4
Old version, no longer supported: 42.3[44] N/A 2017-07-26 2019-06-30[45] N/A 4.4
Old version, no longer supported: 15.0[46][47][48] N/A 2018-05-25[49] 2019-12-03[50] N/A 4.12
Current stable version: 15.1[51] N/A 2019-05-22 2020-11-22 ? 4.12 plus 46251 compatible changes
imported from kernels 4.19-5.0
Latest preview version of a future release: 15.2 N/A 2020-05 2021-11 ? ?
openSUSE Tumbleweed[52] Current stable version: Rolling N/A Rolling N/A N/A Latest stable
Old version
Older version, still supported
Latest version
Latest preview version
Future release


Jesse Smith from DistroWatch Weekly reviewed openSUSE 15, lauding the "work that has gone into the system installer", simplify for new users, but criticized the lack of media support, and performance issues, like a slow startup or slow shutdown.[53]

See also


  1. "openSUSE Community Releases Leap 15.1 Version". openSUSE Release Notes. openSUSE. 22 May 2019. Retrieved 23 May 2019.
  2. "Get openSUSE Leap 15.0". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  3. "Get openSUSE Tumbleweed". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  4. "openSUSE - Portal:Distribution". Retrieved 9 February 2015.
  5. How do you say SUSE? - YouTube. Novell. 14 October 2011.
  6. "Sponsors - openSUSE". Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  7. "Novell Announces Agreement to Acquire Leading Enterprise Linux Technology Company SUSE LINUX". Novell. 4 November 2003. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  8. "Micro Focus International completes merger with the Attachmate Group". Micro Focus International plc. 20 November 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
  9. "[opensuse-project] SUSE to be acquired by EQT Partners". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  10. "openSUSE Strategy". Retrieved 7 May 2012.
  11. "Supported ARM Boards".
  12. "Managing Firm-Sponsored Open Source Communities" (Masters Thesis).
  13. "SUSE Linux 10.2 Alpha2 Release - and distribution rename". Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  14. "SUSE Linux Becomes openSUSE". Retrieved 3 March 2008.
  15. "openSUSE Leap 42.1 Becomes First Hybrid Distribution". openSUSE News. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  16. "openSUSE Guiding Principles".
  17. "[opensuse-announce] Statement on the recent Merger announcement". Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  18. "Suse is once again an independent company". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  19. "Get openSUSE". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  20. "Portal:Factory - openSUSE Wiki". Retrieved 2019-06-04.
  21. "Complete openSUSE Build Service under GPL available". opensuse-announce mailing list. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
  22. KNetworkManager - old openSUSE Community Wiki
  23. Kickoff - old openSUSE Community Wiki
  24. "Release announcement 42.2 - openSUSE". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  25. "Features 15.0 - openSUSE". Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  26. "Tumbleweed". Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  27. Loeffler, Michael (14 August 2009). "Change in maintenance for openSUSE 11.2 and future versions". opensuse-announce mailing list. Retrieved 10 November 2009.
  28. "openSUSE Lifetime (as of 2011)". Retrieved 19 November 2011.
  29. "openSUSE Roadmap (as of 2018)". Retrieved 17 September 2015.
  30. "openSUSE Evergreen".
  31. "openSUSE Roadmap".
  32. "openSUSE Lifetime".
  33. but done by openSUSE project
  34. Yunashko, Bryen (15 July 2010). "openSUSE 11.3 is here!". opensuse-announce mailing list. Retrieved 15 July 2010.
  35. "Portal 11.4: openSUSE 11.4 was released on Thursday the 10th of March 2011".
  36. "Portal 12.1: openSUSE 12.1 has been released on Wednesday, the 16th of November 2011".
  37. "Portal 12.2: openSUSE 12.2 has been released on Wednesday September 5th 2012".
  38. "Portal 12.3: openSUSE 12.3 has been released on Wednesday, March 13, 2013".
  39. "Supported Regular distributions".
  40. "Evergreen EOL".
  41. "Release Notes openSUSE 42.1".
  42. "Optimal Release for Linux Professionals Arrives with openSUSE Leap 42.2". 16 November 2016.
  43. "[security-announce] openSUSE Leap 42.2 has reached end of SUSE support".
  44. "OpenSUSE Roadmap". 28 April 2017.
  45. openSUSE Leap 42.3 End of Life is Extended - openSUSE News
  46. "openSUSE Leap's Next Major Version Number". 28 April 2017.
  47. Features 15.0 - openSUSE
  48. Development Release: openSUSE 15.0 Beta (Build 109.3) ( News)
  49. "openSUSE Leap 15 Release Scheduled for May 25". 29 April 2018.
  50. "openSUSE Leap 15.0 has reached end of SUSE support". 3 Dec 2019.
  51. "openSUSE Leap 15.1 in the works". 2018-11-20.
  52. "Tumbleweed". Retrieved 3 November 2018.
  53. Smith, Jesse. "openSUSE 15". (766). Retrieved 1 September 2018.
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