openSUSE, formerly SUSE Linux and SuSE Linux Professional, is a Linux distribution sponsored by SUSE Software Solutions Germany GmbH and other companies. Its "Leap" variant shares a common code base with, and is a direct upgradable installation for the commercially-produced SUSE Linux Enterprise, effectively making openSUSE Leap a non-commercial version of the enterprise product. It is widely used throughout the world. The focus of its development is creating usable open-source tools for software developers and system administrators, while providing a user-friendly desktop and feature-rich server environment.
The initial release of the community project was a beta version of SUSE Linux 10.0. The current stable fixed release is openSUSE Leap 15.2. The community project offers a rolling release version called openSUSE Tumbleweed. This is based on the rolling development code base called "Factory". Other tools and applications associated with the openSUSE project are YaST, Open Build Service, , , , and KIWI.
Novell created openSUSE after purchasing SuSE Linux AG for $210 million USD on 4 November 2003. The Attachmate Group acquired Novell and split Novell and SUSE into two autonomous subsidiary companies. After The Attachmate Group merged with Micro Focus in November 2014, SUSE became its own business unit. On 18 March 2019, EQT Partners purchased SUSE for $2.5 billion USD.


The openSUSE Project community, sponsored by SUSE, develops and maintains SUSE Linux distributions components. openSUSE is the successor to SUSE Linux Professional.
Beyond the distributions and tools, the openSUSE Project provides a web portal for community involvement. The community develops openSUSE collaboratively with its corporate sponsors through the Open Build Service, , writing documentation, designing artwork, fostering discussions on open mailing lists and in Internet Relay Chat channels, and improving the openSUSE site through its wiki interface. openSUSE offers Leap, a distribution built on a more tested base shared with SUSE Linux Enterprise, effectively making Leap a non-commercial version of its enterprise-grade operating system. Users that prefer more up-to-date free software can use its rolling release distribution Tumbleweed. Users can also use the Open Build Service. Moreover, the flexibility of openSUSE makes it easy to re-purpose for specific goals like running a web- or mail server.
Like most Linux distributions, openSUSE includes both a default graphical user interface and a command line interface option. Users of openSUSE may choose several desktops environments GUIs like GNOME, KDE, Cinnamon, MATE, LXQt, Xfce. openSUSE supports thousands of software packages across the full range of free software / open source development.
The operating system is compatible with a wide variety of hardware on numerous instruction sets including ARM-based single-board computers. Examples include the Raspberry Pi 3 and Pine64 on the ARMv8 platform also known as aarch64, the Banana Pi and BeagleBoard on the ARMv7 instruction set, and the first iteration of the Raspberry Pi on the ARMv6 ISA.


Company history

Product history

In the past, the SUSE Linux company had focused on releasing the SUSE Linux Personal and SUSE Linux Professional box sets which included extensive printed documentation that was available for sale in retail stores. The company's ability to sell an open source product was largely due to the closed-source development process used. Although SUSE Linux had always been free software product licensed with the GNU General Public License, it was only freely possible to retrieve the source code of the next release 2 months after it was ready for purchase. SUSE Linux' strategy was to create a technically superior Linux distribution with the large number of employed engineers, that would make users willing to pay for their distribution in retail stores.
Since the acquisition by Novell in 2003 and with the advent of openSUSE, this has been reversed: starting with version 9.2, an unsupported one-DVD ISO image of SUSE Professional was made available for download. The FTP server continues to operate and has the advantage of "streamlined" installs, permitting the user to download only the packages the user feels they need. The ISO has the advantages of an easy install package, the ability to operate even if the user's network card does not work "out of the box", and less experience needed.
The initial stable release from the openSUSE Project, SUSE Linux 10.0, was available for download just before the retail release of SUSE Linux 10.0. In addition, Novell discontinued the Personal version, renaming the Professional version to simply "SUSE Linux", and repricing "SUSE Linux" to about the same as the old Personal version. In 2006 with version 10.2, the SUSE Linux distribution was officially renamed to openSUSE. Until version 13.2, stable fixed releases with separate maintenance streams from SLE were the project's main offering. From late 2015, openSUSE has been split into two main offerings, Leap, the more conservative fixed release Leap distribution based on SLE, and Tumbleweed, the rolling release distribution focused on integrating the latest stable packages from upstream projects.
Over the years, SuSE Linux has gone from a status of a distribution with restrictive, delayed publications and a closed development model to a free distribution model with immediate and freely availability for all and transparent and open development.
On April 27, 2011, Attachmate completed its acquisition of Novell. Attachmate split Novell into two autonomous business units, Novell and SUSE. Attachmate made no changes to the relationship between SUSE and the openSUSE project. After the 2014 merger of the Attachmate Group with Micro Focus, SUSE reaffirmed their commitment to openSUSE.
EQT Partners announced their intent to acquire SUSE on July 2, 2018. There are no expected changes in the relationship between SUSE and openSUSE. This acquisition is the third acquisition of SUSE Linux since the founding of the openSUSE Project and closed on March 15, 2019.


OpenSUSE is fully and freely available for immediate download, and is also sold in retail box to the general public. It comes in several editions for the various architectures:

YaST Control Center

SUSE includes an installation and administration program called YaST which handles hard disk partitioning, system setup, RPM package management, online updates, network and firewall configuration, user administration and more in an integrated interface. In more recent times, many more YaST modules have been added, including one for Bluetooth support. It also controls all software applications. SaX2 was once integrated into YaST to change monitor settings, however with openSUSE 11.3 SaX2 has been removed.
The GTK user interface was removed starting with Leap 42.1, however the ncurses and Qt interfaces remain.


is part of YaST2 and is used for automatic installation. The configuration is stored in an XML file and the installation happens without user interaction.


is a web interface version of YaST. It can configure settings and updates of the openSUSE machine it is running on. It can also shutdown and check the status of the host.

ZYpp package management

ZYpp is a Linux software management engine. ZYpp is the backend for zypper, the default command line package management tool for openSUSE.

Build Service

The Open Build Service provides software developers with a tool to compile, release and publish their software for many distributions, including Mandriva, Ubuntu, Fedora and Debian. It typically simplifies the packaging process, so developers can more easily package a single program for many distributions, and many openSUSE releases, making more packages available to users regardless of what distribution version they use. It is published under the GNU GPLv2+.

Default use of Delta RPM

By default, OpenSUSE uses Delta RPMs when updating an installation. A Delta RPM contains the difference between an old and new version of a package. This means that only the changes between the installed package and the new one, are downloaded. This reduces bandwidth consumption and update time, which is especially important on slow Internet connections.

Desktop innovation


SUSE was a leading contributor to the KDE project for many years. SUSE's contributions in this area have been very wide-ranging, and affecting many parts of KDE such as kdelibs and KDEBase, Kontact, and kdenetwork. Other notable projects include: KNetworkManager – a front-end to NetworkManager and Kickoff – a new K menu for KDE Plasma Desktop.
From openSUSE Leap 42.1 to 15.0, the default Plasma 5 desktop for openSUSE used the traditional cascading Application Menu in place of the upstream default Kickoff-like Application Launcher menu. The openSUSE Leap KDE experience is built on long term support versions of KDE Plasma, starting with openSUSE Leap 42.2. With openSUSE Leap 15.1, the Plasma 5 desktop now again defaults to the Kickoff-style application menu.


The Ximian group became part of Novell, and in turn made and continued several contributions to GNOME with applications such as F-Spot, Evolution and Banshee.
The GNOME desktop used the slab instead of the classic double-panelled GNOME menu bars from openSUSE 10.2 to openSUSE 11.4. In openSUSE 12.1 slab was replaced with the upstream GNOME Shell and GNOME Fallback designs.
Starting with openSUSE Leap 15.0, GNOME on Wayland is offered as the default GNOME session. GNOME Classic, GNOME on Xorg, and "GNOME SLE" are offered as alternative sessions to the more upstream Wayland-based session.

Factory & Tumbleweed

The Factory project is the rolling development code base for openSUSE Tumbleweed, a Linux distribution. Factory is mainly used as an internal term for openSUSE's distribution developers, and the target project for all contributions to openSUSE's main code base. There is a constant flow of packages going into Factory. There is no freeze; therefore, the Factory repository is not guaranteed to be fully stable and is not intended to be used by humans.
The core system packages receive automated testing via openQA. When automated testing is completed and the repo is in a consistent state, the repo is synced to the download mirrors and published as openSUSE Tumbleweed, which many developers and hackers from the openSUSE Project use as their primary operating system.


From 2009 to 2014, the openSUSE project aimed to release a new version every eight months. Prior to the Leap series, versions 11.2-13.2 were provided with critical updates for two releases plus two months, which resulted in an expected support lifetime of 18 months.
Starting with version Leap 42.1, each major release is expected to be supported for at least 36 months, until the next major version is available, aligned with SUSE Linux Enterprise Releases. Each minor release is expected to be released annually, aligned with SUSE Linux Enterprise Service Packs, and users are expected to upgrade to the latest minor release within 6 months of its availability, leading to an expected support lifecycle of 18 months as well. Tumbleweed is updated on a rolling basis, and requires no upgrades beyond the regular installation of small updates and snapshots.
Evergreen was a community effort to prolong maintenance of selected openSUSE versions after they reached official end-of-life before the Leap series.


Jesse Smith from DistroWatch Weekly reviewed openSUSE Leap 15.0, lauding the "work that has gone into the system installer", simplify for new users, but criticized the lack of media support, and performance issues, like a slow startup or slow shutdown.