Community Discussion - Part 8

Enterprise in the Community

It has been mentioned that the Geeko is somewhat of a schizophrenic at times, and do you know what I kind of have to agree.  The difference is I disagree on how the schizophrenia affects our dear friend.  Most people think that the multiple personalities are desktop related  – you know, KDE vs GNOME vs XFCE vs $DE.  I on the other hand feel it is to with audience – Enterprise vs Consumer.  Now don’t get me wrong, the Geeko does a great job at both.  The problem is there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of interaction between the two personalities.

Yes, some features from the enterprise product feed into the consumer product and vice versa which is lovely and vital.  What is missing is community interaction.  As it stands I see very little evidence of SLE customers interacting with the openSUSE community, and to an extent SLE is somewhat shunned as the illegitimate love child by many within the openSUSE community – which is just plain wrong!  There are times when SLE deadlines get on my nerves, but that is no reason to shun the staff working on it or disrespect the product.

In my job working for a major systems provider and integrator in the UK, we use a lot of SLE and others including Red Hat, AIX, Solaris and HP-UX.  The one thing that is constant is we don’t interact with the communities of the OSes, unless it is via the Sales/Support departments.  Now it might be because of time constraints, but I’m not convinced.  I haven’t seen any “customers” interact with the openSUSE community other than maybe with the Build Service.  Which is a real shame, as there are some great customers of the SLE product and some great people employed by them.

So how do our peers deal with it? To be honest I have no idea :-) I can only guess that they encounter the same issue, well potentially Red Hat & Fedora.  Ubuntu on the other hand have somewhat of an advantage, in so much as their enterprise product isn’t a separate product but in fact part of the standard release.  So when it comes to getting ISVs, partners and customers involved they can safely say that *all* Ubuntu users can benefit from it – not just the enterprise customers.  This is a crucial point, as more people are likely to use the distro and play with it and then sign the big fat cheque for the support.  By that time they have already got involved with the community and will most likely continue to do so.

I’m not trying to tell Novell that they need to change their business model, all what I’m saying is we need Novell’s help to engage their customers and partners to be part of OUR community – N.B Our Community == openSUSE *&* SLE.  At the end of the day it’s a win/win situation for all parties – they can then get maximum exposure, an element of testing of their product without having to start from scratch to get things certified etc. We benefit from a bigger community thanks to their involvement, and have many more cool things to use/play with ![:-)][1]    A key one here is that of ISVs, there are a shed load of ISVs that are certified against SLE – iirc somewhere in the region of 5000 apps.  That’s an impressive number, but unfortunately openSUSE sees bupkiss! Absolutely nada, niet, nil points, zilch :-( Looking at Ubuntu they apparently have a fraction of that amount – somehere in the region of 200 or so.  The big difference is that almost *all* Ubunteros can use or access those apps.  The same goes for IHVs – hardware is only certified against SLE products which is great, but openSUSE doesn’t get a look in.  There are some vendors that sell their kit with openSUSE pre-installed but there isn’t the same sort of love coming from the mothership for them which really could do with changing.

Looks like I digressed somewhat – sorry.  So getting back on track(ish) how many of you guys and gals use SLE professionally?  It could be either SLES or SLED.  If you do use a SLE product do you partake in the openSUSE community professionally or is it purely part of your undying love for the Geeko? If you don’t is there a particular reason why not, anything blocking you joining in, or do you just choose not to?  If you do participate as part of your job, what issues do you encounter, what could be improved etc?

As always I would love to hear from you if you have anything to discuss on the topic of Enterprise in the Community. Remember this is for your benefit as part of the openSUSE community. So please join in and get discussing.