Ubuntu or openSUSE for new users?

I think it comes down to which version do YOU want to support if they install it (you know they’ll be coming to you with questions :wink: ). Also consider the computer capabilities (and interest) of the user.


  • Good hardware recognition. It is the only distro that has been able to run Suspend and Hibernate on my laptop. Ubuntu 8.04 and Fedora 9 have not. I have yet to try 11.0 but I am hopeful. Also, openSUSE installed on a computer club server when Ubuntu and CentOS failed to.
  • openSUSE takes a little more to set it up, with package selection in the beginning. To a newbie they have to first get used to the new “lingo” (distro, “Home” instead of “My Documents”, root, GIMP, etc.). I imagine it would trake frstratingly long to look through all of the apps to pick the selection they want without somebody experienced to help them decide.
  • Yast is both great, and not-so. I’ve had my issues with Samba and installing programs with Yast and honestly there are too many choices! Trying to get something set up, there are too many opportunities for me to screw it up indirectly! (and I’m pretty good at it too)
  • The openSUSE community is great. While it isn’t as vast as Ubuntu’s I find the responses a little more personal and people patient. I also think that because of the smaller community base your questions get more eyeballs and less lost in the noise.


  • Ubuntu, on the other hand, is easier to get set-up and running. The LiveCD gets you started with a fair selection of common apps and the restricted drivers app makes getting things working pretty well.
  • Ubuntu does have an arguably more active community which does help in getting answers, providing you can get noticed by the ones with the answers. I would have included the Ubuntu Wiki which is still good but harder to weed through because there are so many pages!
  • Ubuntu makes things easy for the user to set up and maintain but the downside of this is that more things are done FOR you and circumventing these takes more digging. It’s good if they make what you want to do easier, but it’s bad if it gets in the way of what you want to do. Often Yast can cover what you need to do.

I think in summary that openSUSE is for people who have grown out of Ubuntu.

With Red Hat? :confused: If anybody is the most passionate about pure Open Source it’s the Red Hat group ( RHEL, Fedora and CentOS ).

I think you are refering to Novel, Xandros and Linspire and their deal with Microsoft. Before spouting it off as evil, though, I would suggest you read the agreement.

errr no. what I said was that Ubuntu did NOT sign the FUD agreement with redhat and some others. of course i KNOW redhat is passionate about FOSS, this is always a pain in the *ss with fedora to get the non-free drivers and stuff working with livna.

I know the agreement is not all evil, but still i think it is not great that m$ threatens linux users with FUD and some parties sign off agreements to buy of the false alligations.


I misread that at first, my apologies.

i have found its not about the OS itself that matters for new users as the desktop enviroment… so i have installed opensuse 11 with gnome desktop for new users and they had found it easier to understand than kde… so for me its not about opensuse vs ubuntu… its about kde vs gnome for new users… which to my taste would be gnome for new users

On Wed, 02 Jul 2008 15:26:03 +0000, innovamanager wrote:

> i have found its not about the OS itself that matters for new users as
> the desktop enviroment…

Actually, I’d disagree with that. It’s not about the OS or the DE, it’s
about the applications. A DE enables the user to use applications, but
the apps actually allow users to get stuff done.


For a new user they are both fine.

At the same time if a new user may be more comfortable with KDE vs Gnome, I would say Opensuse. I never hear of anyone trying to say that Kubuntu matches the KDE experience of OpenSuse.

So as a KDE user it is the main thing that keeps me from even trying the Ubuntu style distro.

Most Ubuntu users are from the Northern Hemisphere. Says it all!

I agree with those that say “support” is the main criteria in deciding which distribution to choose.

If one has family or friends, or work associates who use a specific distribution, who are also knowledgeable and willing to provide support, then IMHO that has to be the deciding factor.

I have close family using openSUSE and it works well for them. But I know Ubuntu would be a disaster for them, not because Ubuntu is a bad distribution (because its not) but because they would not get the same level of support with Ubuntu that they do with openSUSE. With openSUSE I provide very close support, … but with Ubuntu I would not. And thats the defining factor for them.

Indeed if one had such support from very helpful and very supportive family, friends, associates with Fedora, or PCLinux, or Mandriva, or Debian, or Slackware, or Gentoo, or any other of a number of distributions, then I would say those distributions are the better distribution that will be easier for those new users. Support makes ALL the difference, and IMHO practically every other consideration pales in comparison.

On Wed, 02 Jul 2008 20:06:04 +0000, swerdna wrote:

> Most Ubuntu users are from the Northern Hemisphere. Says it all!

One could argue that most users come from the Northern Hemisphere. :wink:


I have to agree with snakeeyes. He pointed out my thinking. The question here is: ‘Wich is better for a noob?’. The missing of a real control panel in Ubuntu is what makes me think is not really good for a complete noob. If someone has to rely on the command line, it means that already have some experience. I say all this because years ago, when i was a complete newbie with Linux, i looked around for a distro, and stopped searching with suse 7.2. And the reason was, guess, yast and it’s software management. I was closing down some problem with the dependencies when installing new programs!
Over the time i always had suse, from release to release, but also tryed other distros: Fedora, Ubuntu mainly. But always found some drawnbacks. Now, i like command line, it is usual for me from the times of SunOs at the college, and i rely on it for many admin tasks, but this doesn’t mean to be be a newbie, even if not power user!

Incredibly true. I picked Red Hat in the beginning because a friend of mine used Red Hat and I figured I was going to be picking his brains very often until I learned the system. I still pick his brains but now for more generic Linux questions instead of distro-specific (then I do the translation into the specific distro I am working with)

When I had my Ubuntu install, I did not need to go to the command line for any reason. They have made it that much simpler.
With openSUSE the only thing I need the command line for so far is my wireless card ( install_bcm43xx_firmware ).
Between Ubuntu and openSUSE I think the command line is becoming less and less of a requirement for “normal” use (browsing, email, digital photography, office, etc.) and only necessary when you are getting into more depth.

In my not so humble opinion:

Reasons to use openSUSE:

  1. openSUSE has YaST, which is like Windows’ Control Panel.
  2. openSUSE doesn’t require the command line to use (neither does Ubuntu).
  3. openSUSE has a fully functional command line available when you need it. Ubuntu’s seems uselessly limited by sudo (see next point).
  4. Ubuntu uses sudo. But instead of using sudo like any normal distribution, it lets the user sudo using their own password. Now everyone is an administrator! Yay! This kind of default behavior is only a notch above Windows in terms of security and any Linux server admin would tell you that Ubuntu’s sudo system would be a nightmare with multiple users.
  5. openSUSE is, by default, green. Ubuntu is **** brown.
  6. openSUSE has a very polished KDE 3.5.x. Ubuntu’s barely exists.
  7. openSUSE has a very polished Gnome. Ubuntu’s isn’t bad, but I don’t think it gets anywhere near openSUSE’s version.
  8. openSUSE’s forums are easier to use and aren’t filled with clueless newbies. People actually know things.

Reasons to use Ubuntu:

  1. Everybody’s doing it.
  2. Their WIKI blows ours away.
    *]Their software selection blows ours away.

best reason that I use opensuse: opensuse build service.

Ubuntu user: “Oh. OpenOffice just released a new version. I wish they would package a .deb for it. I can’t wait. I want it now. I can do it in windows :stuck_out_tongue:

SUse user: BLAM!!

Same applies to apache, firefox, vsftpd, ntfs-3g, and host more.

Linux is about choice and what ever you fancy use it. But if I had to choose I would pick OpenSUSE. My current and only installed Linux version. I used Ubuntu for a while but did not like the feel of it. Someone in the Ubuntuforums said to try OpenSUSE and I have not looked back. I’m having some difficulty with some of my hardware but I had the same issues in Ubuntu. The forum here is very helpful and the people are great.

P.S. Can Linux come with a health warning? It turned me into a anti-social computer person who spends most of his spare time tweaking things :smiley:

Ubuntu’s Sudo doesn’t make everybody an administrator, it just makes you remember one password (yours) not two (yours and root’s). After you put the password in it checks to see if you have permissions to perform that action.

I haven’t dwelled too much in the permissions world, but on my kids Edubuntu system I have sudo while they don’t.

As for Ubuntu’s wiki, it has been better but seems to be getting harder to navigate with too much content and pages! Instead of a search returning 1/2 dozen pages, it turns up 2-3 dozen! Plus in multiple languages.

Their forums are pretty good. Yes there are a number of newbie people in it but it is an active forum of a mix of new and experienced users.

The earthlings are promoting green against the global warming. I like green than brown, green is eye refreshing. Of course YAST" i’st really really great.
It’s a jack of all trades.