Discussion - Debian or Leap for business

So I am not asking a question per say here, I am looking for a unbiased, friendly and flame free discussion about these two fine distrobutions, in the hope I can make a better informed decision, and maybe help others.

|Debian 8 (Testing)
|OpenSUSE Leap
|Kernel version (Default)
|4.1 LTS
|Sys requirements
|CPU – P4 1Ghz
HDD – 10GB
|CPU – P4 2.4Ghz
|Packages (Official)
|48608 (2013)
|100,000+ (Inc OBS)
|EOL Date
|April/May 2020
|November 2018
|VMWare Support
|Yes, Using .sh
|Yes, Requires disassembly of .RPM package
|Support (Docs/Community)
|Debian handbook, Debian/Ubuntu community (One of largest Linux communities)
|OpenSUSE Wiki, OpenSUSE Community
(Very well documented wiki)
1 click installer (Web based)
|FS Default format
|BTRFS but EXT4 is available (Snapshot advantage BTRFS)
|Faster repo download via mirrorbrain, fastest and more accurate dependency solver

This is what I have come up with so far, of course there is a lot of editing to be done before I would even say its finished first draft, these are based on my personal requirements, research and opinions which may of course not represent the final thing or fact.

So lets begin.

Firstly your experiences with both or just one of them (If you havent experiened the other, which I highly doubt)

My experience is as follows, I will begin with Debian.
I understand Apt/Aptitude more than Zypper, but that is due to exposure, overall I have used Debian based distros longer over Zypper or even RPM based, but I would consider my self above a beginner in both.

Debian is also superb on system resources, but does seem to have some issues with some devices of mine, specifically my AMD laptop (Everything seems to), but driver support is good overall, well documented (Maybe not on the Arch wiki level), but still good for installing drivers and getting the basics running.

Community support is also another good thing on Debian, but this is mostly with Ubuntu forums to say Ubuntu is based on testing, although I have not really had too many issues where I can find the fix with google, but again relying on already asked questions, that is if the debian wiki does not have it.
They also have the Debian handbook which is a good thing if you are set out to learn Debian more personally, but for a quick resolution its not the most optimized document.

From my experience though OpenSuse is a different beast, it is easier to control via YaST but as a lot of people may understand, for learning Linux having a tool like this is not always best, never the less for quick resolutions its a superb tool yet to be beaten in most operating systems I have used (Control Panel comes near but its no as easy to navigate imo)

I also really liked the One click installer for some packages, not drivers as they can be unpredictable and are not recommended via OpenSUSE them selfs, but for other things is a great little tool if you don’t know its command in Zypper.
Zypper is how I pull most applications though.

A little confession which may seem biased but I can assure you does not affect the outcome of this, I used to hate OpenSUSE and I simply could not get on with it during my early Linux days, I really do not know why we didn’t connect although I can gladly say I do enjoy OpenSUSE now.

The file system is something that gives +1 over Debian, the fact they are willing to use BTRFS is a brilliant choice for progress, a file system I am particually excited for mostly because of its snapshotting ability, I would personally find this a superb tool for when things break, run it just before a major upgrade and you should be safe and a brilliant addition to any Linux environment where disaster recovery is essential.

The installer is also a pleasure to use, while debian is not difficult when I am required to partition I am personally not confident enough to use anything other than a well layed out GUI as I have not had enough experience building partitions (Both Debian and OpenSUSE can do it for you thankfully) this alone is why I like the OpenSUSE installer over Debians.
Package selection is also more clearly laid out clearly showing me what I can install (Dev tools, AppArmor, GUIs) and while Debian also does this, OpenSUSE just generally presents it better but to be honest neither of these should influence my final choice as I only see them once.

Those are a few little points I personally can point out as advantages for each system, of course your views may differ from mine.

Both have had influental figures on the project, Ian Murdock (RIP) basically dedicated his life to a superb system and helping other systems progress such as docker no one here can deny his contribution to open source, While Bryan Lunduke is a voice for Linux with videos like Uptime Funk and his Linux Sucks/Windows is Awesome videos, and his unique presentation style of belittling the audience in a comedic way with no offense meant is something Linux needs.
Two entirely different people both pushing our beloved Linux forward in different ways.

So please put your input into this, to help me and others decide for their needs, both are great systems in their own rights but of course one may only fit the use case.
Please keep it tidy, clean and friendly.


Unless you upgrade your hardware, it would have to be Debian, Leap is 64bit only…

My hardware is fine for either of them, of course for someone else this maybe the case

But the CPU indicated is 32bit, or is this not your hardware?

I’m both an openSUSE and SLE user for many years now, so very biased :wink: I don’t like the 1-click installs as it can add a lot of repositories to your system that can if unaware break things. I tend to either build my own packages (or link to them) on OBS, or instead download locally and have a local repository to pull the files from.

Does Debian have something similar to SUSE Studio? https://susestudio.com

I know what you mean, this happened to me once, but I got used to deselect the “remain subscribed to this repository” check box in the 1-click dialogue, after that, no more issues. Also I think yast won’t set higher priorities for these repos, so they wouldn’t be used in a normal install?

Re. the OP question, I don’t know about debian, but I use openSUSE for work and home server and, at least with KDE, IMHO I’d stay with 13.2 for now. After experimenting with Leap in a VM that’s what I’m doing, although I’m sure I’ll think different in a few months.

I think it entirely depends on the business you are in and what you expect from the whole package. For example, the Unix and Linux Sysadmins Guide rates SUSE as having the best commented config files of any distribution (I also found openSUSE was the best distro for doing the Linux Foundation’s Introduction to Linux Course.) So, if you are likely to be doing a lot of customisation, you may find openSUSE serves you best. If you expect to run standard packages on either distro, desktop might be an influencing factor. At the time of the closure of XP I ran five desktops on my computer to demonstrate the various options to potential converts and all ran without any problems on openSUSE.

I could write up my own comment here, but what @john_hudson says says it all.

If you want better support for hardware drivers, today most are distributed through the Linux mainstream kernel so later versions will generally include better support.

From time to time, I’ve had to use Debian because some apps are written to Debian and no other distro (of course, you’d then usually have a possible Ubuntu option which you didn’t mention which changes more often than Debian itself). Sure, I could tear apart the “made for Debian” app and use the alien app to run on openSUSE, but results would be uncertain and require effort.

Your posted list of comparative features suggests that you’re looking for long term stability. Would this be for a Production machine hosting numerous virtual machines, or would this be a machine primarily for personal use or a very small number of simultaneous users? For a personal machine, that kind of stability can be a slightly lower priority in favor of usability, and IMO the Desktops on openSUSE are far superior than any other distro… a short list would include enhanced console apps, the ability to install multiple Desktops from the same repository side by side for switching or just using an app available in “that other” distro, each Desktop with a different look and feel for different tastes while still retaining common ways to accomplish tasks for all.

If you deal with virtual Guests, you might be interested in the fact that AFAIK openSUSE is the <only> distro you can deploy in a guest that is immediately portable (transferable) from one HostOS to another. With any other distro, you’d have networking issues you’d have to solve manually (New, bad interface created, solution is to merge the proper MAC address with the correct network interface). It’s a big time saver without headaches.

Your posted hardware requirements are probably not really completely accurate… Yes, the default Debian releases can be very skinny but there are versions of openSUSE which are not much different. When comparing JeOS (Just Enough OS), openSUSE would use approximately the same amount of CPU and RAM but require at least 500MB more disk space for various reasons including python libraries which would be required for YAST, which is another useful tool you wouldn’t have by default in Debian. If you haven’t explored YAST yet, do so. Only Mint has anything I’ve seen that is remotely similar, and Mint’s at least 5 years of development from coming anywhere close to what YAST has developed for over a decade.

If you’re interested in what’s happening below the surface, a few weeks ago I was running the Development version of Debian which is now a rolling release(since Jan 2016) similar to our Tumbleweed, and it appears that today Debian is only now beginning to integrate systemd. If you’re a fan of systemd, openSUSE has been integrating since… was it late 12.3? IIRC 13.1 about 3+ years ago was our first full release incorporating systemd (only the boot at that time). Today, if you want the full systemd experience you’d have to choose between openSUSE and Fedora only.

BTW - Am thinking that if you’re interested in how things work on openSUSE, you might skim through my Wiki which contains a number of pages about things I’ve encountered over the years. Some are out of date, but in general you might get an idea of a few of the unusual things I’ve encountered, some things that are not that different than how it might be done in Debian and a general idea of “how things work.”


On 2016-03-05, XDroidie626 <XDroidie626@no-mx.forums.microfocus.com> wrote:
> From my experience though OpenSuse is a different beast, it is easier to
> control via YaST but as a lot of people may understand, for learning
> Linux having a tool like this is not always best,

I disagree. My experience is the opposite. I learnt a lot from YaST. Not only does it provide a handy interface, it
provides a way of invoking a configuration change according to best practices concerning everything from grub, fstab, to
sshd. In the days of S.u.S.E., SuSE, and early openSUSE, I used look at the changes to configuration files after every
YaST session to learn the `gold standard’ benchmark for proper and secure changes for GNU/Linux in general and try to
emulate them for every other distribution.

Unfortunately, things became confusing for me for a number of operations when openSUSE switched to systemd, and I’ve
been too preoccupied with writing/using programs rather than OS-tweaking to learn all the `*ctl’ commands. Unlike a
proportion of the Debian/Devuan community I have no religious aversion to systemd and I accept at some stage I have to
learn the systemd commands. Although I expect this will be trivial, I will once again look to YaST to show me best

My apologizes I should have mentioned my hardware.
I agree I don’t like the one click installs but they can be handy when you need something quick.
Debian has nothing Like SUSE Studio, Ubuntu has something similar which I believe customizes the OS, but not to the level SUSE Studio does.

I have been running Linux on/off for a number of years since around summer 2013, I would say now is my biggest push to move to Linux.
Customization is not something I do after its ready, I do some tweaks under the hood install Gnome and Numix and done although I do push heavily for my security, specifically GRSec which I have still to find in OpenSUSE.
In terms of packages I would consider them equal apart from YaST which is an awesome tool for quick fixes

Thanks for the detailed post.
I will be depolying guests but its all on my laptop for me personally, specifically 1 Windows 7 VM which will be used for work, advantage of this for me over bare metal is I want portability of the OS completely between applications, and snapshotting for backups.
I have decided on VDI for its drive format type, from what I read it works well with what I am looking for.

The only time I have had issues with application extension locks is at university, they allow .deb or .rpm files, .rpm is of course supported via OpenSUSE so that is an advantage.

I have picked OpenSUSE for my distro for current testing and it seems to be going mostly well, as mentioned in another post GRSec is proving difficult to find but I can live without it for now, the version I have picked is Leap for its stability and package dates, I did run Debian for 1 day and the web browser crashed on me and eventually some how took Debian with it so I decided to move away from it.
This could have been something I did to be honest but I can’t risk this in a production environment, it ended up been a slim pick between SLED and OS and OS won due to free price and newer packages.

The hardware requirements where taken from their respective sources, this does not reflect my hardware, I will update the OP to include my hardware, but if I was on that hardware I would have gone something other than the two systems.

YaST was also a considering factor in picking the distros I needed something I could deploy things to my system with speed, YaST could give me that, Plus there is AutoYaST which allows for rapid deployment, I doubt I will need it but its there I suppose for a backup image.

systemd was also something else, I never really dealt with the init scripts most of my exposure was with Arch and systemd for disabling system components I didn’t use to speed up boot times.
Fedora was also tested but I just couldn’t seem to settle on it for some reason, Korora also has mouse issues it seems, this is not limited to the laptop in question, it would freeze a lot and it doesn’t look good as an IT engineer with a laptop that does not work, we need an element of professionalism.

And thanks for the link, I am sure it will help me at some point

On Tue 15 Mar 2016 02:06:02 PM CDT, XDroidie626 wrote:
specifically GRSec which I have still to find in OpenSUSE.

A user has added patches to the latest kernel…

Cheers Malcolm °¿° LFCS, SUSE Knowledge Partner (Linux Counter #276890)
SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop 12 SP1|GNOME 3.10.4|3.12.53-60.30-default
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Canonical supports a myriad of different online services which do some part of what SUSE Studio does…
If the Admin operates at a higher level and simply wants to aggregate pre-built and largely pre-configured apps/services, then the Ubuntu/Debian ecology is probably better. Many of these tools are almost drag n drop aggregators so typically require minimal to no technical knowledge to bundle things together with a fairly high expectation of reliability and success.

But, as I described… There are <a lot> of tools to sift through to find exactly what you want. Canonical seems to believe in “more is better” in terms of numbers of supported projects, each at least a little bit different than each other.

SUSE Studio on the other hand is pretty much without competition, it (and its local install cousin Kiwi) is more of a “one stop” tool that does it all, allowing the User to configure deeply, and providing an on-demand build and testing service. You can say that the more modular approach of the Canonical tools ensure the reliability that SUSE Studio must always test.

HTH and IMO,

UI dont see the point of this thread; P4? for what a firewall? How does Lunduke fit into the discussion? Plus VMware is useless on a P4.