Andreas Jaeger was recently appointed as product manager of SUSE so we talked to him about his new role, the relationship between SUSE and the openSUSE community and SUSE’s emergence after being sold and much more.
SB: Can you tell us about the relationship between SUSE the company and openSUSE the community? How does SUSE coordinate with the openSUSE teams?
AJ: openSUSE is an Open Source project run by the people engaged in it and governed by the openSUSE board where the chairperson gets appointed by SUSE but everybody else is elected. Many of the people engaged in openSUSE are SUSE employees and SUSE is the primary sponsor of the project.
openSUSE is the upstream project of the SUSE Linux Enterprise products and thus SUSE likes to have a stable upstream. Coordinating happens depending on the teams and persons involved. openSUSE does what is good for it’s users and contributors and thus some of the decisions done in openSUSE might be different for SUSE Linux Enterprise later.
SB: How much independence openSUSE has over its governance and development of projects? Or in other words how much influence SUSE has over openSUSE development?
AJ: The chairperson of the board is appointed by SUSE and has veto power – but never used it so far. The board is also not controlling the project but in many cases guiding and resolving conflicts. Like with most Open Source projects, the influence on openSUSE is through the individual developers – if somebody likes to do something, she or he can do that and move stuff forward. Thus SUSE’s influence is on and through the engineers engaged in openSUSE.
SB: Has anything changed at SUSE since its acquisition?
AJ: SUSE was acquired a year and a half ago by The Attachmate Group and is now a standalone Business Unit. This has given SUSE more control over business direction and market focus, and has enabled us to enter new markets such as cloud computing. As a result, our business is growing more rapidly.
One major change is the reemergence of the SUSE brand. It now has its own web presence under www.suse.com, an updated logo and tagline (We adapt. You succeed). We also recently held our first user conference (SUSECon 12) in conjunction with the first openSUSE user meeting in North America.
SB: Can you tell about your new roles and responsibilities at SUSE?
AJ: As a product manager, I’m part of the of the SUSE Product Management team and am involved with SUSE Linux Enterprise 12, SUSE Cloud and SUSE Studio and also with the toolchain (compiler, debugger, C library, …).
SB: What is the current market of SUSE? Can you talk about it’s market share in the Linux server space? Can you tell about the SUSE market country wise? Also which business are SUSE’s core clients?
AJ: There’s a nice flyer that points out some of the areas where SUSE leads (see https://www.suse.com/promo/suse-leadership.html ) for example 80 % of all Linux on mainframe systems is SUSE Linux Enterprise, 70 % of SAP’s Linux deployments use SUSE Linux Enterprise or half of the world’s largest supercomputer clusters run SUSE Linux. Some key industries include automative and retail.
SB: What is the share of Linux in the over all server space?
AJ: This really is a question for IDC or Gartner, not for us. We have been seeing a nice growth after becoming an independent business again.
SB: Do you look at Red Hat and Canonical as partners or competitors. Can you tell us about the level of engagement with both companies?
AJ: It really depends on the perspective. On the engineering side, engineers of different Open Source companies are working together to improve Linux and Open Source in general, so here partnering happens. For example, I’m one of the glibc developers and there’s a good partnership between the actively contributing distributions. On the sales side, it’s competition.
SB: What role does UEFI Secure boot plays in the enterprise space? Unlike the messy desktop market how is SUSE/Red Hat dealing with it? What do you say about Canonical’s approach towards UEFI secure boot?
AJ: Fedora and Red Hat made the first implementation of secure boot, SUSE then improved that and now the engineers from both teams are working together to improve the situation.
SB: What is SUSE’s strategy for Cloud? Can you tell us about some enterprise grade products?
AJ: As part of relaunching SUSE as an independent business unit, we established cloud as one of three strategic focus areas (the other two are Enterprise Linux and Integrated Systems). Our product direction for cloud has three components:
Public Cloud – We were the first enterprise Linux to be sold as part of Amazon EC2 and SUSE Linux is available in over 20 major public clouds globally. We want to ensure that our customers can use SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in which ever public cloud meets their needs.
Private Cloud – In August we announced and shipped SUSE Cloud 1.0. This is an offering targeted at customers that want to deploy their own Infrastructure as a Service solution. It is the first enterprise supported product based on OpenStack and is designed to simplify installation.
Cloud Management tools – We plan to closely integrate SUSE Studio and SUSE Manager and SUSE Cloud to give customers a set of tools to help them create, deploy, manage, and maintain customized workload images across private and public clouds.
SB: What role is SUSE playing in the overall development of Linux the kernel and application around it?
AJ: SUSE engineers are contributing too many projects and play a key role for example in the kernel or LibreOffice.