Please take a look at our FAQ’s in the new user area: New User How To/FAQ (read only)
You may also find the openSUSE concepts wiki of use to read: Concepts - openSUSE
I confess I am no longer a believer in calling one distribution “better than another” but I do note there are differences in the focus for different distributions, making some more suitable to ones views than others. … needless to say I like openSUSE.
Reference the ATI drivers, there is some truth to what you have heard. Both Fedora and Ubuntu have applied fixes to their drivers/X window/kernel for ATI hardware where those fixes are NOT yet upstream. Hence openSUSE does NOT yet have those fixes as openSUSE packagers are less likely to use fixes that are not upstream, as opposed to Fedora (and in this case also Ubuntu) who are willing to risk applying such fixes. Fedora is typically very good at sending their fixes upstream. Ubuntus record for this is not so good (some say dismal), as they tend to send their fixes to Debian, where they can languish for a long time and possibly never make it upstream.
Hence for some ATI hardware, the current releases of both Fedora and Ubuntu work better than openSUSEs current releases. Once the fixes make their way upstream, then openSUSE will benefit and have the same functionality.
You will find Package management in openSUSE different from that of Ubuntu. I hope your friend can guide you here. For Software Management, openSUSE users use a Command Line application called “zypper” (as opposed to “apt” in Ubuntu). OpenSUSE users use the GUI in YaST for GUI based software management. My experience is new users to openSUSE should limit their PC to the essential software repositories, which are the “official” Novell/SuSE-GmbH repositories (OSS, Non-OSS, Update) and only one 3rd party repository (Packman). Some users add respositories for a proprietary graphics card driver (in your case it would be an ATI driver respository) while many others prefer to simply build the proprietary driver themselves, which is pretty easy to do. I have never used the ATI driver repository, always prefering to build the graphic driver myself.
It takes a bit more effort to be familiar with how openSUSE multimedia can be updated. Its actually very easy, but ones hand is NOT held via openSUSE as it is packaged, but rather one needs to follow a guide (such as provided here). There are good legal reasons for this difficulty, where Ubuntu have chose to “cut the line very fine” wrt the reasons (and they risk being sued), but Novell/SuSE-GmbH refuse to take that risk. I amm a believer in the Novell/SuSE-GmbH approach.
If your friend can support you on openSUSE that will make this much easier for you. If not, then please post on our forum asking for help.
Welcome to openSUSE and to our forum.