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So... I've been looking at 'returning' to openSuSE after a long absence (parted ways back in the 7.x/8x time frame). One thing that kind of jumped out at me all of a sudden was that for a relatively popular 'mainstream' distro that has been around for a long time... I don't believe I've ever heard of or seen any forks, spins or any other kind of distro based off of SuSE.

Any ideas as to why that might be?

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They are so awesome there is no need to fork ;-) –  choroba Dec 1 '12 at 21:20
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That is one possiblity... ;) I seem to recall some hate-n-discontent back around 8.x or thereabouts; kind of surprised that nothing ever spun off. –  memilanuk Dec 1 '12 at 21:22

4 Answers 4

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Maybe openSUSE is slightly more tweakable than its main competitor Fedora. More important probably is that the community is smaller hence less chance of developing a fork - the critical fork-mass just isn't reached. Another "bonus" might be the BuildService, which provides lots of additional packages.

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The more I look at it, the more I agree with this. SuSE Studio, where anyone can create their own 'build' based off the parent distro and store it in the cloud probably helps keep everyone closer to the mother ship. ;) –  memilanuk Dec 3 '12 at 16:43

The answer is that SuSE got bad after Novell bought SuSE. It is currently getting better again... (after now being part of Attachemate) But for professional use I would use SLES or some RH-spin-off.

Look closely who maintains the open-source-componentes that are part of SuSE - you will see many @rh.com - on places where you were used to see @suse.de - many of the SuSE-developers have left SuSE and are now working elsewhere - including RedHat.

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I wouldn't say that it got bad. There have been some hiccups, but both open and enterprise distro was generally always on a par with the competition. More problematic was the OSS community negative over-reaction to the cooperation with Microsoft (not saying that it was presented by the company as well as it could have been). As for the numbers of developers - RH is far bigger than SuSE, what would you expect? –  peterph Dec 3 '12 at 0:29

There are heaps of these. You should take a look at KIWI and SUSEStudio...

For instance, ownCloud-in-a-box: http://susestudio.com/a/TadMax/owncloud-in-a-box

There are many Fedora-style "spins" published at SUSEstudio (you can even spin some of them up online in the "cloud" and try them out without downloading an ISO to install by using Testdrive) http://susestudio.com/browse

You can create your own flavour of openSUSE using KIWI (even plug in your own branding in place of openSUSE or Novell's ). Very handy for a kiosk system, for instance.

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From the perspective of someone who is a member of openSUSE and the maintainer of a non core component (enlightenment) the simple reason is there is no need as

  1. All window managers / software is treated equal
  2. openSUSE tries to be good at everything rather then focusing on one thing.

openSUSE has made it very easy through Open Build Service for anyone to package a application and get it included into the main openSUSE repository. It also has the philosophy that all window managers should be treated equally and this extends to a lot of other areas as well. The vast majority of derivatives i have seen really just slap another window manager on top of a existing distribution because that distribution doesn't support the window manager someone else wants. In openSUSE there is nothing blocking said window manager or other package from being included in openSUSE.

The other major reason for creating a derivative is to meet the specific needs of a smaller sub set of people it should be noted that there is a openSUSE edu derivative focused on education but there is nothing stopping you installing those packages on a regular openSUSE install. There is also nothing stopping and it is quite easy to package and ship applications that only a small number of people care about / use with openSUSE meaning they are more redaly pushed into the main openSUSE repo. This is evidant by the number of packages that have been added to openSUSE since the take up of open build service (Sorry couldn't pull up the stats in 2 mins but i read that somewhere)

It is also possible to use the SUSE Studio tool as mentioned in other answers to create your own custom openSUSE installer if the default doesn't have some of the packages that you want.

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