Over the past year, openSUSE has undergone a significant transformation, marking a new chapter with the introduction of the Adaptable Linux Platform (ALP). This shift in focus alters the trajectory of the products they develop and the audiences they cater to.
Following the recent announcement, it’s clear that the era of openSUSE’s well-known model, Leap & Tumbleweed, is ending. Here’s what it’s all about.
Leap 15.6: The Final Chapter
According to the official roadmap, openSUSE Leap 15.6 is set to be released this June. It will be the final one in its current form, recognized as a general-purpose Linux distribution, suitable for both desktop systems and enterprise-level servers.
Considering the 18-month support period, green chameleon lovers betting on the Leap’s notorious stability can rely on the operating system as they know it until December 2025.
However, a significant event will occur before this timeframe concludes: the unveiling of Leap 15’s successor, Leap 16!
The devs are also ready with a couple of backup plans in case of any hold-ups with the Leap 16 release. First, they could stretch out the lifespan of Leap 15.6 a bit longer, or, if needed, they could even roll out Leap 15.7 as a last resort.
openSUSE Leap 16: It’s All About ALP
OpenSUSE indicated that Leap 16 is anticipated for release in 2025, though it hasn’t set a firm timeline yet. Just for your information, this is the same year Red Hat, a major player in the enterprise Linux market, plans to launch its RHEL 10.
Leap 16 is aiming to strike a balance between a cutting-edge and a traditional Linux operating system emerging from SUSE’s development of ALP and initiatives to effectively integrate community packages. The future of openSUSE Leap is based on the innovative concept of SUSE’s Adaptable Linux Platform.
So far, so good. The problem is that the SUSE ecosystem, now teeming with new distributions, names, and terms, has become challenging to understand, even for the most devoted openSUSE enthusiasts.
What’s left for the average Linux user, particularly those who depend on Leap for everyday computing needs? What’s next for them? Well, here’s what.
Yes, Leap 16 will be based on SUSE’s Adaptable Linux Platform. To help you understand what’s behind this term, referring to the official explanation, this means:
SUSE’s Adaptable Linux Platform allow developers focus on the workloads while keeping independent from the hardware an container runtime layers.
I bet that if you are not part of the DevOps community, the usefulness of this description tends to be zero. So additionally, I can add the following few things:
- Immutable OS
- Cloud environments, edge devices, and data centers
- Designed with containerized and virtualized workloads in mind
To put it simply, openSUSE Leap 16 will have nothing in common with what you currently know from the Leap 15 series. In essence, it’s transitioning away from being a desktop operating system.
The primary focus of Leap 16 is on business and cloud services, emphasizing containerization. So, the answer is “no” if you’re wondering whether it will cater to your everyday Linux desktop needs! This raises the question: what’s the next step for current Leap users?
January 18 Update
Today, openSUSE shared an exciting update on their X account about Leap 16, and more specifically, that it will include a non-immutable (traditional) version. This is excellent news for those unsure about the ALP concept and all the changes that it brings. So, we just need to be patient until next year to see the final product. After all, a lot can happen between now and then.
Slowroll: The Lifebelt
Once support for Leap 15.6 expires in December 2025, the best course for existing Leap users is to transition to openSUSE Slowroll, the company’s latest project.
Although still in its initial development phase, it’s anticipated that by that time, Slowroll will have reached the necessary level of maturity to meet the desktop needs of openSUSE users.
If you are unaware of the concept on which Slowroll is based, let’s shed some light on it. You can see it as a middle ground between the stable Leap and the ever-changing Tumbleweed. Stability remains a priority, but users will receive newer software versions.
Unlike purely rolling distributions, however, these updates will not come daily but every one or two months in big batches. This concept sounds promising, and we can’t wait to see its implementation.
To sum up, we’re looking forward to the release of openSUSE Leap 15.6 this coming June. The exciting update is that we’ll see Leap 16 debut next year, built entirely on ALP and pivoting more towards business environments.
Of course, this isn’t a bad thing as long as openSUSE maintains a healthy balance between business objectives and the needs of the Linux community.
It’s worth noting that other players like Canonical and Red Hat have tended to favor their enterprise customers with all the ups and downs that come with such a focus.
However, openSUSE has consistently demonstrated that it genuinely values the Linux community. So, with this in mind, we’re feeling optimistic about the future. So, go ALP, go Slowroll!