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:
- 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
- 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.