SUSE, a leading open-source software company, has recently received a 10 million investment to strengthen its innovations and SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) projects. This investment aims to develop a distribution compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL). SUSE has been offering support for RHEL and CentOS-based systems for a long time. However, the challenge lies in attracting enterprise customers who often require support for applications only available for RHEL.
The announcement of CentOS Stream, which rendered CentOS as a free alternative to RHEL ineffective, has led to the emergence of various forks such as Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux. If SUSE were to create its own RHEL distribution, it may disrupt the Rocky Linux and AlmaLinux communities. However, SUSE would only benefit if it also provided commercial support for the distribution, which it currently lacks. Moreover, forks often diverge from the original over time, leading to fragmentation in the open-source community.
SUSE’s strategy may be to fragment the Red Hat camp to favor the green camp, but it is worth noting that Ubuntu poses a potential challenge. The press release mentions the need for more standardization in Enterprise Linux. SUSE had previously attempted a joint Linux distribution called United Linux, but it was unsuccessful without the participation of Mandrakesoft and Red Hat. Red Hat’s absence in the current endeavor may pose challenges for SUSE.
To truly succeed, SUSE may need a large partner that opts for an RHEL fork as an exclusive platform. However, this choice would not reflect positively on SUSE’s own Linux distributions, such as SLES. The stock market does not seem to have much confidence in this idea, as reflected in the company’s share price.
It is essential for SUSE to assure its users, customers, and the openSUSE community that it remains committed to SLES and openSUSE. Without this assurance, the market may lose confidence in SUSE, which would be a great disappointment for the company. Instead of focusing on creating more choices among similar systems, SUSE should consider investing in progress and innovation to drive Linux forward.
In conclusion, SUSE’s decision to develop its own RHEL distribution raises questions about its potential for success and the impact it may have on the open-source community. The company would do well to prioritize its existing Linux distributions and demonstrate a clear vision for the future.