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The initial release of the community project was a beta version of SUSE Linux 10.0. 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.
Like most Linux distributions, open SUSE includes both a default graphical user interface (GUI) and a command line interface option.
Although SUSE Linux had always been free software product licensed with the GNU General Public License (GNU GPL), 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.
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.