Packman is just a repository, so you aren’t installing “all or nothing”, you’re generally installing what you need.
Using the repo means that if the packages are updated, you’ll be able to receive those updates running zypper up (in Leap) or zypper dup (in Tumbleweed). You certainly can install the packages individually, but then you’ll have to manually sort the dependencies out. And if they’re from a version that’s not correct, they may work, or they may not. Because it’s not “official” from Packman, I wouldn’t expect Packman to support a different release than what they built for - but you’d have to talk to them about that.
You also can use opi codecs to install them. That basically will set up the Packman repo and add the most common ones for you.
Yeah, each distro is going to have its own way of managing updates. Pop!_OS is no different than that (I own a System76 system and have Pop in a VM - the install alongside Tumbleweed doesn’t work and I haven’t sat down to figure out why - not really important, because TW is my daily driver).
Thanks for the details on the codecs . . . for the most part as a “multi-booter” I’m not drilling down on the details of a system . . . I run them as they get installed and just update them as e.g., zypper provides. But, basic video capacity is something that for the most part is “needed” in today’s web world . . . . Right now I’m not in the same rush that I was to get to 15.6 . . . .
So, over in the Sys76 realm . . . might be able to shed some light there, as I have three systems running on my Sys76 laptop . . . modest in comparison, but enough for the 500GB drive. Pop! drops its kernels in the /efi/boot partition . . . I asked them their preferred method of multi-booting and they want a separate /efi/boot for each install . . . and in the case of Pop! my /efi/boot partition is 512 MB . . . right now using 292MB . . . of it.
The other two have a more normal 300MB sizing . . . .
So, I used “manual” “advanced” installer to slice and dice the drive . . . separate /home for the other two systems, but could have shared that with Pop!