The openSUSE project offers a new Linux distribution called openSUSE Slowroll. It positions itself between its sisters openSUSE Tumbleweed and openSUSE Leap: While the latter mainly brings well-tested, but older software, openSUSE Tumbleweed, as a so-called rolling release distribution, continuously brings the latest software versions into the system. In the latter case, you get particularly fresh applications, but they still have errors or can cause unpleasant interactions – owners of an Nvidia graphics card can tell a thing or two about this.
openSUSE Slowroll therefore adopts the rolling release model of openSUSE Tumbleweed, but only accepts updates after one or two months. Error corrections or closed security gaps flow immediately into the system. In this way, users receive up-to-date software and a more stable system. Since a new kernel does not flow through the lines every week on average, the amount of data to be transferred is reduced at the same time.
openSUSE Slowroll: replacement for Leap?
Furthermore, openSUSE Slowroll could replace openSUSE Leap in the medium term: Leap is currently based on the workstation edition of Suse Linux Enterprise (SLE). However, this should be incorporated into the upcoming, completely redesigned Adaptable Linux Platform (ALP). As a result, the openSUSE project has to think of a solution for Leap, which, unlike the ALP, still delivers its applications as classic packages.
The openSUSE team is evaluating three approaches. First of all, Leap could be continued in its current form on its own. However, this would require a lot of additional work. Alternatively, Leap could be replaced with Slowroll. Finally, an exchange with a new distribution called Linarite would be an option. It is intended to offer a stable Linux desktop, but provide a smaller selection of software than Leap. The starting point is the ALP, which volunteers then supplement with additional packages – similar to what is currently being done with Leap. Richard Brown, Distributions Architect at Suse, also describes Linarite as a “regular old fashioned release desktop distribution”.
In order to be able to implement one of the three concepts permanently, the openSUSE project needs the support of volunteers and the acceptance of users. The Suse team therefore asked the people currently involved in the distributions and users about their preferences. According to survey results published by Richard Brown, a rolling release model is the favorite – and therefore tumbleweed and slowroll. At the same time, Richard Brown has asked for further opinions and comments on the Opensuse Factory mailing list. The corresponding discussion about the future of Leap can also be followed online.
Try slow roll
While Linarite is still in the concept phase, openSUSE Slowroll can already be tried out. Brave Tumbleweed users can switch to slowroll with just a few command line commands. The necessary commands are summarized on the Slowroll/:Slowroll project page. Alternatively, installation media is available for 64-bit systems with an x86 processor. However, the system installed from there still reports the name openSUSE Tumbleweed.
SUSE developer Bernhard M. Wiedemann is currently largely behind openSUSE Slowroll, so it is still a one-man project. The distribution itself is created automatically, and some of the tools used can be found on GitHub.
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