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Thread: openSUSE and Ubuntu - what are the differences?

  1. #1
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    Default openSUSE and Ubuntu - what are the differences?

    I have been using Ubuntu. This past weekend I thought I'd give openSUSE (11.2) a try.

    No complaints. And, I'm being very sincere in the questions I pose below:

    What are the differences between Ubuntu and openSUSE? I really am not seeing what the differences are. They look and behave so very similar to each other.

    My perspective is purely that of a user - I don't have to maintain a server, I don't write programs or do any development, etc.

    Am I missing something?

    Again, I am not criticizing, I am merely pointing out my impression as a person new to openSUSE. I'm not even asking which is better - I'm just wondering what the differences are.

    Thanks.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: openSUSE and Ubuntu - what are the differences?

    I don't use openSUSE Gnome but from what I've seen openSUSE has a different look, uses zypper instead of apt, and has the YaST configuration module.

    That's what I saw.

    I'm sure there's more hidden and under the hood differences though.
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  3. #3
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    Default Re: openSUSE and Ubuntu - what are the differences?

    Maybe you'll find some differences by reading →this article.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: openSUSE and Ubuntu - what are the differences?

    Try KDE 4.4 on openSuSE and then try it on KUbuntu, I'm sure you'll notice "a little difference" in stability, performance and overall usability.

    SuSE is and has always been a more KDE centric distribution and it shows, in a positive way.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: openSUSE and Ubuntu - what are the differences?

    Quote Originally Posted by dln9 View Post
    What are the differences between Ubuntu and openSUSE? I really am not seeing what the differences are. They look and behave so very similar to each other.

    My perspective is purely that of a user - I don't have to maintain a server, I don't write programs or do any development, etc.

    Am I missing something?
    I think you have an EXCELLENT perspective. Linux is Linux, and for many users, once they pickup one Linux, the others are not too difficult and can be made to look similar.

    The differences many users encounter are how the distribution deals with different hardware. This is often due to different kernel versions, and how the distribution packagers have custom modified the kernel, or custom modified supporting applications. So while distribution-A may work better with Hardware-X, its possible distribution-B may work better with Hardware-Y. It all depends on where the developers have put their effort, and also depends on which distribution is quicker in telling other distributions about their fixes (by sending fixes upstream).

    As already pointed out, Ubuntu is a debian based distribution and uses .deb files for installing new software, while openSUSE uses .rpm files for installing new software. That typically means different software management tools, although there are software management tools that work on both .deb and .rpm distributions.

    Its typically not possible to install a .deb on an rpm distribution with out some sort of conversion first (with something like "alien") and that is very problematic and hence likely best not to try unless absolutely desparate. And the same (visa versa) is true for creating a .deb from a .rpm.

    The Ubuntu packagers purportedly make a major effort to make Ubuntu more easy for users, but as always there are compromises when ever such an approach is adopted. openSUSE Linux does not "compromise" as much as Ubuntu when it comes to enforcing user simplicity. Some users (such as some friends of mine) think the Ubuntu approach is great here and they dislike the more technical openSUSE approach.

    Both Ubuntu and openSUSE have an incredible amount of applications available packaged all ready for installation.

    One thing that all Linux distributions do to survive, is submit bug fixes upstream to the application and kernel developers. openSUSE is IMHO very good at doing this, as are other distributions (such as Red Hat). Possibly because Ubuntu is Debian based, Ubuntu will often submit their fixes not directly upstream, but rather will submit them to Debian to submit upstream. This results in a lag before the rest of the Linux community benefits from a Ubuntu fix. Given Ubuntu is by far the largest Linux distribution on the desktop, it means that Ubuntu who likely has the greatest number of fixes, also is possibly the slowest in submitting their fixes upstream. My own view is I dislike that delay (especially in comparison to RedHat/openSUSE) and hence that reason alone is why I do not use Ubuntu (I feel Ubuntu "has come of age and should submit all fixes directly upstream, only info'ing Debian as required). That view is really the view of me as a stubborn free software open source fan and I much prefer openSUSE for that philosophical reason.

    But again Linux is Linux, and use the distribution you like best. This is an openSUSE forum, so one is to a certain extent posting views here to the openSUSE choir. Also, one's experience with Linux in general makes a MASSIVE different in terms of one's views as to the differences between distributions, and what is an important difference to one user may be insignificant to another user.

    Here is a link to some openSUSE basic concepts: Concepts - openSUSE

  6. #6
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    Default Re: openSUSE and Ubuntu - what are the differences?

    On Wed, 2010-02-24 at 02:06 +0000, dln9 wrote:
    > I have been using Ubuntu. This past weekend I thought I'd give openSUSE
    > (11.2) a try.
    >
    > No complaints. And, I'm being very sincere in the questions I pose
    > below:
    >
    > What are the differences between Ubuntu and openSUSE? I really am not
    > seeing what the differences are. They look and behave so very similar
    > to each other.


    > My perspective is purely that of a user - I don't have to maintain a
    > server, I don't write programs or do any development, etc.
    >
    > Am I missing something?


    Nope. It's sort of good that they look the same. However, they
    are radically different.... apart from the kernel. Ubuntu is a Debian
    derivative and openSUSE is not. They use a lot of different
    plumbing underneath the covers. IMHO, Debian tends to do things
    differently than most distros.... but I'm sure somebody could
    say there's the Debian way and then there's everyone else :-)

    >
    > Again, I am not criticizing, I am merely pointing out my impression as
    > a person new to openSUSE. I'm not even asking which is better - I'm
    > just wondering what the differences are.


    Wow... that could take awhile.... packages, services, files, paths...
    pretty much all different. All designed ultimately to get the job done,
    but very different between those two distros.

    I guess this could be important academically... but it would require
    some work to go through and detail out the differences and any
    pros/cons of the choices made.



  7. #7

    Default Re: openSUSE and Ubuntu - what are the differences?

    smiles* I started out using Open Suse for years... then my friends changed haha and I had someone put a kubuntu distro on my desktop instead...

    I really didn't see a huge difference.... as an end user either..


    on the machine I am setting up now i want to be able to boot to either. deb-testing or suse. I think I may end up with a taste for one over there over time but only if I can boot to either by choice on start up...
    Because of the package differences you won't ever do a true duel boot, (at least not lowly end users like us)
    i know people who do but- different discussion. - they also work for the gov and don't answer questions about much computers or otherwise. lol

    So, With the right file partition set up & grub, you could boot up to a screen /suse/ deb-testing-wheezy /(and other..
    and depending on your need of that moment. boom-shanka.

    cheers, -z7

  8. #8
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    Default Re: openSUSE and Ubuntu - what are the differences?

    ..rpm based vs .deb based
    KDE centric versus GNOME centric (unless you are talking Kubuntu which is a
    different beast)
    YaST vs. no YaST
    no available LTS distro vs LTS available distro (sort of there is Tumbleweed
    for openSuSE)

    I believe Canonical offers for pay support of some Ubuntu versions in
    addition to community support. Notice it's Ubuntu.com whereas openSuSE.org.
    Not that there is anything wrong with that, just speaks to a slight variance
    in philosophy.

    For the reasons above I prefer KDE even though an LTS version would be
    desired. I have read recently that there are problems in paradise with
    release schedules, perhaps a way to improve the situation would be to focus
    on an LTS version and keep point releases in Factory longer. Still
    available, just less public. Decide on which factory point release to go
    with when its time for a new LTS release.







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