The (open)Fate of openSUSE
Now that it is believed that openSUSE will survive the latest complicated Novell dealings, developers and users are moving ahead to improve the next releases. Version 11.4 is due March 10, 2011 and openFATE is playing a significant role in planning its new features. While not a new tool, it has been completely reworked to allow easier and faster operation and browsing.
openFATE is the openSUSE Web interface system for the features and requirements of openSUSE, SUSE, and Novell projects. It allows users and developers to propose features and comment and vote on them. Features are sorted first by release or project then by state. One can view statistics and browse the individual feature suggestions. With an account one can even suggest a feature or vote for existing feature proposals.
For example, by browsing those "done," one will find that mounting /var/run as tmpfs has been implimented for 11.4. While browsing openFATE we can see that it was proposed for 11.2 and 11.3 but rejected. Looking even closer, we find that this feature is even required by systemd and automatically done by systemd scripts.
Another example is Grub 2. The merits and disadvantages have been discussed for several releases and the most recent comments are easy to find to see the most current opinions and even the disposition. A colorful header highlights the newest comment. With Grub 2 we can see that it has been added to 11.4 as an alternative to legacy Grub.
Some new features proposed include a Popularity contest to gauge applications used the most, a restricted Guest Account like seen in Mandriva, and simplified menus more like Ubuntu's. Some rejected ideas are Improved Font Rendering, Restore KDE 3, and Migrate LiveCD settings to installed system.
On each feature page is a voting progress bar that summarizes the number of votes for the given proposal, tags to related topics, and the ability to subscribe to updates and progress of the feature or those in which you (or your favorite developer) are involved or have commented. For regular users openFATE offers an inside look at what's coming in the next release, especially those smaller and less sexy features that are often overlooked by writers and reviewers.
Previously openFATE was daunting and geared almost solely for developers, but today regular users can have a glimpse into the feature decision process and even have a small vote in what may come in the next release of openSUSE.