openSUSE Thinking About Naming Change

by Ostatic Staff - Mar. 11, 2011

Andreas Jaeger, Program Manager at Novell for openSUSE, has posted about an on-going discussion concerning the naming convention of openSUSE. Apparently the traditional "old school" 11.4, 12.0, 12.1, etc. might need some modernization. Developers and active users have suggested several alternatives.

Jaeger explains that despite common belief openSUSE doesn't actually employ major and minor number versioning. So to assume that 11.4 is an update to 11.3 is incorrect. That explains all the times reviewers said things like 'despite being only a minor version upgrade, there are enough new and updated features to warrant a major number up-tick.' They just usually "count it always until 3." So, next release would be 12.0.

Some of the options they are considering include Fedora-style numbering, just whole numbers to reflect development maturity like 13, 14, and 15. Another would be Mandriva-style: four digit year plus number of releases that year starting with zero such as 2011.1, or old Mandriva-style that used one or two digit year indication like 7.2 or 8.0. So the next openSUSE release would be 11.5. Yet another is Ubuntu-style which uses two digit year plug two digit month making the next release 11.11. Going by seasons is yet another idea that would name the releases by season and year, such as Autumn 2011. All these are fairly easy to understand and follow the progression.

One of the more interesting is what is termed "octal." Jaeger blogs, "Coolo came up with calling the next release "o 12″ and then proposed to go octal (so 012). We decided to start with 012 even if that's 10 in decimal. Next release is: 012. Following releases: 013, 014, 015, 016, 017, 020."

Some of the criteria for the new naming convention state that it must be clear which release is newer and it must be clear to see what the next release will be. As Jaeger said, "we need an easy algorithm."

Jaeger and company will be running polls to see what most folks like. The first round will probably include all the suggestions no matter how obscure. The the final round will just include those in the top 80% of votes. The conversation on the post is already gearing up, go join in to express your thoughts. No word on where or how the actual voting will be deployed, but guesses could include the Lizards' blog or one of the openSUSE mailing lists.