Is SuSE in its death throes?

I logged into the opensuse forum this morning, before breakfast.  I have not been able to login since then.  It is a month since I posted about forum frustration, and things have only gotten worse since then.  Sometimes I click on the forum link in my browser bookmarks, and the connection times out.  Another time I will connect, but find I am not logged in.  So I click on the login link, and the connection to the authentication server times out.  Or, sometimes I’ll get through authentication, and then the redirect back to the forum page fails.

The result is that I am spending less time at the forum, less time even attempting to connect to the forum.  And the same is happening to others.  The level of posting is down, and what does get posted is less interesting.

This seems like a familiar story.  I saw the same thing happening with Sun Microsystems.  The management at Sun decided that they were in the server business, and they put most of their effort into server support.  They made it frustrating for end users.  Some of us could see the problem.  When management wants a server, they ask their technical support poeple for recommendations.  And if the technical support people were using something other than solaris on their desktops, they were more likely to recommend something other than solaris to the purchase department.

Sun eventually recognized the problem, and came out with open solaris.  But it was already too late, and Sun finished up being assimilated into Oracle.

I don’t think it is yet too late for Attachmate to wake up.  A thriving forum, mostly supported by volunteers, is a low cost way of building and maintaining excitement for the product.  Leaving the forum as somewhat dysfunctional, as it has been over the last few months, will have the effect of persuading many users to turn to other distros.  And if they are using other distros themselves, they are unlikely to recommend SuSE enterprise systems to their managers.

I’ll continue to use opensuse for now, and I’ll continue to test pre-release versions.  However, I am also preparing for the move to another distro if SuSE fails, and it seems to be headed in that direction.

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About Neil Rickert

Mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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