Red Hat has CentOS. Canonical has Ubuntu. Both these operating systems can be installed at no cost, and they are enterprise grade operating systems running on servers and cloud. However, SUSE doesn’t have any such distro; The openSUSE codebase is way too diverged from the SUSE codebase.
But that’s changing. The openSUSE community is taking a big leap, dropping the old regular release cycles of openSUSE and moving to openSUSE Leap. The community has released the first version of openSUSE Leap today at SUSECon 2015.
Version 42.1 is the first version of openSUSE Leap that uses source from SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE), providing a level of stability that may prove to be unmatched by other Linux distributions.
openSUSE Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise will have a chemistry similar to that of two galaxies circling each other and exchanging matter. SLE and Leap will have an interesting upstream and downstream role (I interviewed SUSE and openSUSE teams at SUSECon and will do a detailed story on this chemistry next week), where they will take code from each other.
If the versioning of 42.1 sounds strange, it’s supposed to. Since Leap will be following the release cycle of SUSE Linux, Richard Brown, the chairman of the openSUSE board, told me that they wanted to avoid any confusion regarding version numbers.
Leap is a fresh start but they couldn’t start with Leap 1.1 as that would create conflict with older releases. Then openSUSE also plays with the number 42 — a reference to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
So with 42.1 they start a new new version numbering that won’t have any conflict with previous releases of openSUSE, and it will remain synced with SLE releases. Since this release is based on SLE 12 service pack 1 (SP1), which will be released soon, they started off with 42.1 instead of 42.0 to avoid any confusion.
Since openSUSE will be changing the release cycle to match with SLE releases, there won’t be any ‘every nine month’ releases. Minor updates of openSUSE Leap may bring the new KDE and GNOME, but it will be much more conservative and offer a stable experience. Those who want the latest and greatest packages should use the rolling release version of openSUSE: Tumbleweed.
Running Leap is more or less like running Suse Linux Enterprise, except for ‘commercial’ support. Leap is available for immediate download.