SUSE would be perfect if it used Debian Package Mangement

The more I use openSUSE 11.2, the more I love it. Today, I tried another highly recommended KDE4 distro, and while it was nice, I immediately recognized that the excellent integration and refinements SUSE includes are very much to my liking. openSUSE is nearly perfect for me in every way – except one. The package management continues to leave me baffled.

I was hoping I would eventually learn to like it as much as Synaptic, aptitude/apt-get and the other tools on Debian-based distros. But the more I read, the more I am questioning whether I will ever like it.

For example, see this:
Package Managers in Linux
That article seems to sum up my own (rather limited) experience perfectly. I’m now fairly convinced that Debian-based package management is the gold standard. (Of course, I’m just going on what I have read. I’m far from expert, and I’m hoping to get educated by posting questions like this one.)

But I doubt I will find a distro that is equal to openSUSE in every way except that it uses Debian-based package management. (I wish such a distro existed.)

So, if I have to live with YaST, zypper, RPMs, etc., how can I learn to have the best experience with the least amount of investment?

Low investment is important because if I really wanted to invest the time to become more of an expert in operating systems, package management, etc., I would probably just jump to Arch Linux and KDEmod and enjoy a rolling release. Or maybe Gentoo, etc. What I like about openSUSE is that it just works. It works out of the box. Except for package management.

So the equation I have to solve is whether it is easier to:

  1. deal with the initial setup of all the stuff on another (Debian-based) distro that isn’t to my liking or that just doesn’t work, and then thereafter enjoy that distro’s good package management… or
  2. have a great out of the box experience and the overall nicest initial OS experience I ever remember, but live every day with a package management system that isn’t up to what I experienced under Ubuntu.

Quote from the link above:

It is almost unfair to include Red Hat in the same category as Suse because, frankly, Suse makes Red Hat look like geniuses. I don’t know why a company which can create arguably the most attractive and professional looking distribution available in the Linux world has such a godawful package manager.

So far, that is my experience exactly. Sorry to say that. :frowning:

This is one of the most pointless statements I ever read.

“1) I read something but I didn’t really understand it”

“2) But I think I know XYZ is better than ABC”

“3) I don’t want to invest time in learning how ABC works, because I read XYZ is better”

“4) Why do the people developing ABC not switch to XYZ?”

Great logic…

Hey, I was trying to be diplomatic. Should I have just said I tried the package management and I think it sucks? Or should I say that the Ubuntu forums are a lot friendlier?

Well, it’s the same old story.

Some new user, not even having gotten aquainted with the most basic principles of any distro finds something he doesn’t understand (yet), reads, hears, sees or whatever, that it would be “better” on some other distro and he thinks he has this great idea.

And you know what?

He is always wrong.

I could get technical, but your whole preconception is just flawed.

The basic functionality of all package managers is exactly the same, no matter if it uses RPM/DEB/Whatever, every one may have advantages and disadvantages, and you have to deal with them and can by experience.

But you obviosly don’t even understand the basics, so why do you think your “idea” should even be taken into serious consideration?


As you seem to be convinced by the power of deb-based package management.

  • Could you tell me, why there are still no delta-debs for official upgrades?

  • Could you tell me why apt and dpkg fail miserably on removing packages with faulty scripts, because there is no “–noscripts” option?

  • Could you tell me, why it is not possible to easily restore permissions and ownerships of files in packages with apt/dpkg?

Now it’s your turn, with RPM all those features are one command away…

If you posted this kind of crap in the Ubuntu forums you’d get a lot worse replies than the ones you got here.

Personally I can’t see much difference between the two methods.

Both are easy. Maybe you’re experiencing growing pains.:’(

If you don’t understand something start a thread stating your problem without complaining and I’m sure you’ll get plenty of help.:slight_smile:

Seems like the same old story from my end too. I see people complaining that Ubuntu is the #1 ranked distro, but doesn’t deserve to be perceived that way. Well, I think Ubuntu is winning mind share because the community gets the fact that insulting new users, even when their perceptions are incomplete (i.e., “flawed”), only hurts Ubuntu. Consequently, people tend to answer in a helpful way rather than hurl insults such as “This is one of the most pointless statements I ever read”.

If you had simply said, something like, “Hey, have you considered these points:”

  • there are still no delta-debs for official upgrades

  • apt and dpkg fail miserably on removing packages with faulty scripts, because there is no “–noscripts” option

  • it is not possible to easily restore permissions and ownerships of files in packages with apt/dpkg

If you had said that, I would be thinking, “Cool, there is a perspective I haven’t heard before. I want to like openSUSE, and here’s some info that helps me do that.”

Instead, you said:

as if beating me at this game is going to prove anything. I already admitted I don’t know much.

All you have succeeded in doing is making me think a whole lot less of the SUSE community and increasing my interest in finding an alternative. (You’ll probably say “good riddance” – and knowing that just underscores my appreciation for what the Ubuntu forums offer.)

On the contrary, it proves the first thing I wrote.

But you still decided judging about something you don’t know much (and in this case it would have been what you thought is “better”, these were all disadvantages of deb/apt I used as examples not the ones of zypper/RPM), so this makes your statement pointless.


That is total BS. I know because I’ve been on both ends of it. I have posted stuff I later realized was terrible (much worse than this, because I made an effort to make this post balanced). I have also gotten caught up in the helpful spirit with newbies who posted worse crap than you might imagine.

And this proves what I wrote too.

Tomorrow I’ll probably be booting up with a different distro.

Feel free to do so, this is the beauty about Free Software in general, choice.

Why do you want us to convince you?

That’s your job, not ours.

Actually you are the one that convinced me. Congratulate yourself on getting rid of another ignorant newbie.

Oh dear, now I will have to at least sacrifce two goats, one chicken and maybe a virgin in order to get absolution for my sins


… think of the poor goats!

I’m actually surprised by this level of rudeness. Cool off Akoellh.

And to MountainX: my apologies for this one. Please reconsider your departure. The bulk of ppl here are normal folk.

I am very cool, don’t worry.

This “threatening” to leave is the “uncool” and really childish part, now isn’t it?

Read the “article” linked by the OP in his first posting.

Where is the rudeness now?

Taking this as “basis” of a statement without (self admitted!) knowledge deserves an apology, because it is an insult to intelligence.


As I can see, the OP got plenty of help over the last few days, even on using an unstable, non-released version instead of a stable one. So what is he complaining about?

The first post is a clear case of unreflected trolling, because it is provocative, full of misconceptions and bares no decent grounding.

Who is really rude here?

Stupid me… I was thinking choice of distro should be made on the basis of the package management system, or KDE integration, or most up to date packages, or best hardware recognition…

Now I realize that the experience I have had in the Ubuntu forums these last two years more than makes up for the deficiencies of Kubuntu. I can tweak Kubuntu to work the way I want it to. But I cannot so easily replace the culture they have created in their forums.

BTW, I was not proposing some “idea”. You really didn’t even understand my post. But that didn’t stop you from assuming and then spouting off on the basis of those incorrect assumptions.

Just a few short minutes ago I was saying, “The more I use openSUSE 11.2, the more I love it.” Now I’m saying that the more I use these forums, the more I miss the Ubuntu experience. It took one thread to educate me about where my focus should be as a relative newcomer to Linux.

Oh, so you are justified in insulting me because I didn’t understand that an article I read was flawed? Why do you think I posted here? If I wasn’t interested in the other point of view, I would not have asked or provided the link. The article did not sound insulting to me. It should be obvious to most people that I was looking to be convinced that I made the right decision with openSUSE and that I was looking for counterpoints to the article I linked. Read my post again Akoellh.

Where did I insult you?

Show me the rude language?

I marked your statement as pointless, one of the most pointless statements I ever read and I explicitly showed you why repeatedly.

Your only reaction was a childish “Wahaha, then I will leave openSUSE” and “Ubuntu fora are so much friendlier”.

You got enough argumentation before getting so childish, so what is your point?

If you really are into it, then start reading the help/man page of zypper.

If you really had, you would know that its basic commands are very apt-like, so don’t take your still existing lack of experience as my fault.


What specifically about Yast or Zypper makes it suck? You didn’t really provide any statements or discussion on the reasons, you just pointed to an article that was written in January of '08. I started out with openSUSE (and Linux) at the end of December, '08 and the first time I used Yast I thought it was brilliant. Just this past summer I tried out Ubuntu, whichever version was the latest version, because the IT dept where I was working wanted to see what linux was about. We tried a couple of things and when it came to installing packages I was lost. It seems like an easy thing but I just didn’t like it at all. Now I know if I spend some time reading about how to use the package management my view may or may not change, but when you change from one way to another, you have to adapt to that change. (I then installed openSUSE 11.1 with KDE4 and they were in awe).

Perhaps you should ask for help in the applications section of the forum or list specifically what about Yast and/or zypper you don’t like in the soapbox so we may address these points. This post seems like it should be in soapbox as it doesn’t give any specific reasons, neither does that article other than the auto-updater starts automatically on boot (easily fixed by disabling it then updating manually with Yast or zypper).

Take Care,


Well, I can tell you this – just my opinion – but having tried both, I much prefer Yast. One reason, which I admit applies to my work experience, is that I can use Yast from the GUI, or via a SSH connection in a terminal, and it behaves the same way. Suse also has the Build Service ( which allows you to do a simple one-click install for countless packages.

Go into System -> Configuration -> Install Software and it’s just about as easy as it could be. Adding a repository sometimes takes a little more work, but no more than when adding a non-standard repository to Ubuntu.

A lot of this is just what you get used to.

As for the Ubuntu forums, again speaking from experience, another reason why I stick with Opensuse is because the level of expertise here is an order of magnitude higher. Ubuntu is an excellent distribution for people starting out with Linux. But when I’ve posted questions in the Ubuntu forum that require anything more than a “click here, then click there” answer, the answers are less than satisfying. I’ll either get several conflicting suggestions, or (if it’s more advanced), no answer at all.

Here, I’ve posted some fairly advanced requests regarding networking, firewalls, NAT, and so on. I’ve never failed to get an answer. More advanced questions take longer, of course, but someone has always helped me out.

Once again: it’s what you get used to and what you feel comfortable with.