The issue of how long a Linux distribution will support a release is one that tends to go back and forth. Novell’s openSUSE Linux is now revising its policy.
Starting with the openSUSE 11.2, maintenance support will be approximately 18 months which is a reduction of 6 months from what openSUSE 11.1 and prior releases, offered users.
“OpenSUSE will shorten the maintenance period to 2 versions plus 2 months
which translates with the current release cycle of 8 months to 18 months
instead of 24 months we had with openSUSE 11.1 and previous releases,” Michael Loffler, Product Management at SUSE wrote in a mailing list posting. “With that we now can guarantee an overlap time from a maintenance perspective
which gives enough time to update machines to newer versions.”
OpenSUSE 11.2 is codenamed ‘Fichte‘ and is set for release later this year.
On the maintenance side of things, the new openSUSE policy is actually closer to what its competitors, Fedora and Ubuntu offer their community users.
The current Fedora policy is that releases will live only until one month after the N-2 (next two) release is out. So if my math is correct that means that openSUSE has one month extra, but that depends on how long the actual release cycle is, which can vary a bit. Ubuntu also has approximately 18 months of support for its releases.