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Open-sourcers running OpenSUSE’s development have adopted a browser-based model of development for their beloved distro.

From now on, daily builds of new versions of OpenSUSE are to be developed and released for immediate testing.

SUSE Linux was owned by Novell, which opened distro development to outside contributors in 2005 with the OpenSUSE Project. It also has a commercial version, SUSE Linux Enterprise – along the lines of Red Hat Enterprise Linux. Its customers include the Open University, Rackspace, Teradata and Burton Corporation.

SUSE is now run as an independent unit by Novell parent company Attachmate, which bought the the remains of the software firm in 2011. It still sponsors openSUSE.

Until now, as with most new versions of software, new code for a new version of OpenSUSE had been bottled up for group testing at a beta or milestone stage.

In the OpenSUSE world, this milestone stage had taken place in something called the "Factory".

The milestone approach is now being abandoned.

The goal is to get more users and contributors involved in development and testing phase, speeding up fixes and improving quality.

The idea is to make final update of a new version of something like Chrome or Firefox relatively painless with few, if any, hidden bugs or nasty surprises.

Richard Brown, OpenSUSE board chair, said in a statement that daily builds would make it easier for users get the latest free software packages without waiting for the next release.

The new model closes the gap between development and testing of new versions of OpenSUSE. Before, new packages had been developed and sent to the Factory process for integration – to produce milestone builds.

As with any software development process, however, this created a tendency for the dev to offload potential issues to a small team doing dev and test, producing delays.

Those running OpenSUSE on the Factory model said of the changes: “Balances responsibility among packagers, testers and end users while putting more emphasis on automated quality assurance. As a result, openSUSE Factory becomes a reliable, always-ready working distribution.”

Daily, or rather nightly builds, is something the browser-makers have been doing for years now to ensure web devs are playing with the latest versions of their code. ®

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