The Difference

You will find no comparable document in existence from any commercial software maker.

Open Source projects developing free software are unique in their approach to transparency, collaboration, choice and governance.

The software open-source project contribute to society are the equivalent of, or far surpass, software available from any commercial vendors today.

If you are serious about computing and haven't tried an open-source operating system, you are missing out on a quantum leap forward in your computing experience.

The cost to you to find out -- free

openSUSE Guiding Principles

We are...

... the openSUSE community.

... a project for everybody striving for an open free software distribution that enables all computer users to reach their individual goals.

... a huge and strong free software community. This not only includes developers but also users, testers, writers, translators, usability experts, artists, promoters and everybody else who wants to engage in the project.

... a heterogenous project, which embraces a wide variety of technology, people with different levels of expertise, speaking different languages and having different cultural backgrounds.

... focused on three main areas:

Distribution Development

The openSUSE community develops a comprehensive and technically excellent Linux distribution. It is building on the long development tradition of SUSE Linux which has shaped the Linux history in the areas of usability, stability, integration, and innovation.

Communication Infrastructure

Working on free software is based on effective communication on different levels. This is actively facilitated with platforms driven by the project such as the Wiki, mailinglists, forums, IRC or Bugzilla.

openSUSE Build Service

Free software is driven by diversity and engagement of individuals. This is supported by the openSUSE Build Service. It enables software maintainers to compile and integrate software for the openSUSE distribution and other distributions and platforms. The Build Service dramatically simplifies the process from the source package to installable binaries in the system and makes it easy to distribute software to end users. It also allows to directly contribute to the development of the distribution and to maintain development branches.

We want to...

... create the best Linux distribution in the world, which has the largest user community, and provide the primary source for getting free software.

... foster the success of Linux everywhere. We want Linux to be successful in a wide range of application domains like server, desktop, or development, and being adopted by users from all kind of geographical regions and cultural backgrounds.

... create a distribution which is stable, easy to use and a complete multi-purpose distribution for users and developers, for desktop and server use, for beginners and experienced users, for everybody.

... foster innovation and new ideas by creating a regularly updated distribution. It includes the latest developments and makes it easily possible to create customizations based on the openSUSE distribution.

... support and provide a technical infrastructure to make it easy to get the distribution via several methods including, but not limited to, download, a boxed product, magazine cover mounts and free promotional media.

... follow an open, transparent and accessible development process which is driven by us, the community. The process should make development easy.

... collaborate with upstream projects and other distributions. We offer innovations, patches and fixes for inclusion in upstream projects or directly work with other projects on the common goal of a mature distribution.

... live the SUSE motto at work and leisure: "Have a lot of fun ..."

We value...

... the ideals of free software: the freedoms to use, share, study and modify, and share modified versions.

... the open development process based on the freedoms of free software which fosters peer review, responsible maintainership, individual responsibility and self organization in a collaborative, distributed environment.

... openness as in open collaboration, open communication, open development, open distribution, open source code, and open mind.

... choice. We accept and respect that there are different ways to work, different preferences for applications, environments, tools or interfaces and different goals of users and contributors. We value diversity and pluralism as a way of addressing the needs of a broad variety of people.

... standards facilitating interoperation and integration of diverse services and applications. We value standards as a base for freedom of choice, a stronghold against lock-in and monoculture, and a foundation for rich and user-focused systems.

... quality by striving for technically excellent solutions based on a solid and transparent development process. We achieve that by focusing on providing thorough solutions to problems, taking the needs of users seriously, and maintaining stability through well-defined quality assurance processes.

... transparency of the decision making processes, transparency of communication and transparency of work and collaboration processes. That includes openly answering questions, providing all relevant information, and actively keeping all involved parties informed. We are convinced that a transparent culture whose inner workings can be understood by everybody provides the most efficient and rewarding environment to reach our goals.

... our users, their desires and goals, their need for help when encountering problems and their support for our common project. We listen to our users and focus on their needs throughout all our activities. We consider our users to be part of our community.

... respect for other persons and their contributions, for other opinions and beliefs. We listen to arguments and address problems in a constructive and open way. We believe that a diverse community based on mutual respect is the base for a creative and productive environment enabling the project to be truly successful. We don't tolerate social discrimination and aim at creating an environment where people feel accepted and safe from offense.


The openSUSE project is guided by its goals and values as set out in the previous sections. The project and its subprojects are governed through the existing open source development processes and the corresponding decision making processes.

To lead the overall project a board of maintainers is created. The board of maintainers has the following tasks:

  • Act as a central point of contact
  • Help resolve conflicts
  • Communicate community interests to Novell
  • Facilitate communication with all areas of the community
  • Facilitate decision making processes where needed

The board should provide guidance and support existing governance structures, but shouldn't direct or control development, since community mechanisms exist to accomplish the goals of the project. The board should document decisions and policies.

The board of maintainers consists of five community members including two people who are not employed by Novell. The board is headed by a chairperson with veto power over any decision. The chairperson is appointed by Novell and will typically be a Novell employee. Novell appoints the initial members of the board with participation of the community. It should include the coordinators of distribution, communication, and build service. It will receive bylaws to define its processes.

Novell provides the openSUSE community with resources to maintain and release the openSUSE distribution. Novell supports openSUSE through sponsoring of infrastructure, human resources and funding. It continuously maintains infrastructure and software.

The openSUSE community and Novell define the content of the distribution based on defined criteria and a transparent process led by the board of maintainers. openSUSE is the base of Novell's enterprise Linux products.

Novell owns the registered openSUSE trademark. Novell permits and encourages the usage of the official openSUSE artwork.

You are an acknowledged openSUSE member. Accepting the guiding principles is required, you can not change it anymore.

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