What are the benefits of openSUSE ?

Over the last 8 yrs, I have tinkered with almost every distro. After all the tinkering, the distros that have gained most use are ArchLinux and Ubuntu.

For some reason, I am considering moving to openSUSE as my main OS.

What are the benefits of openSUSE compared to say Ubuntu?

As I have noted in my openSUSE home page, the things I like about openSUSE are:

Of course the above list is highly subjective. Some users dislike KDE (while I like it). Some users dislike YaST (while I like it - and no other distribution IMHO has anything adequately comparible).

Some users dislike openSUSE’s relatively close implementation in following the free Software Philosophy (as it means neither proprietary drivers nor software codecs for multimedia are included, nor semi-automatically linked) which results in a lot of rants against openSUSE. But since I am a strong believer in free open source software, I like the openSUSE approach and while I sympathise, I do disagree with those ranters.

Other distributions have good communities as well. But my having been using openSUSE for 8 years (Red Hat before) I know various people in the community and this adds to its attraction for me.

Reference Packman, other distributions also package multimedia, but IMHO the Packman packagers do it as good and mostly superior to other distributions.

And IMHO the openSUSE Build Service is mostly unparalled and this has great future potential.

Reference Ubuntu, there are lots of Ubuntu fans who visit this forum, who I am certain can extroll the benefits of ubuntu. What I do not like about Ubuntu is it does NOT follow the openSource software philosophy as close as openSUSE, and its packagers/developers do not directly pass their fixes upstream, but rather selectively pass them to debian, which means some may or may not make it upstream. The last item in particular means I no longer consider Ubuntu as a distribution I wish to use. But that is highly subjective on my part. I have good friends who like Ubuntu and use it. They don’t share my views above.

thanks for the detailed thoughts.

i was concerned about all the multimedia codecs but it sounds like packman could make it easy.

sounds like it might be worth an install & tinker for a few days to see if it sticks as my primary OS :slight_smile:

Suse studio:
Welcome to SUSE Studio

Yast, zypper, Kde implementation, Multimedia etc etc…
A lot more in this list.
And this is the case i prefer opensuse than Ubuntu.
I used Ubuntu b4, totally not impressed from it.
The worst thing about it which i don’t like is ‘No use of root password’, always asking you for user password to do the high risk stuffs.

And yeh, more to come is, 1 click installer. Its amazing.


Search for your desired software and install it from there.

And in last The helpful community.

Moved to General Chit-Chat as it’s not really a question regarding a problem


The multimedia codecs are very easy “once one knows how”. Of course the frustration for new users is they do not know the technique, which results in annoying openSUSE Linux multimedia behaviour when trying to play audio or video that uses proprietary codecs.

The openSUSE community created a page providing new users guidance for their multimedia: Multimedia - openSUSE-Community

Which leads one here:
Restricted Formats - openSUSE-Community

and for then for openSUSE-11.1 users leads them to here:
Restricted Formats - openSUSE-Community
which provides advice for using the one click install method to setup one’s multimedia and codecs.

I personally do not like that quoted (above) approach, as one does not have complete control over what they install, and it has been known to cause problems, especially in cases where one’s openSUSE Software respositories do not match the assumptions made by the people who setup the one-click install. In some cases this has resulted in broken codecs and no audio or no video.

Instead, I typically recommend, that as soon as one has their openSUSE PC on the Internet, that the first thing openSUSE users’s do is NOT use the one-click, but rather setup their software package management with 4 repositories. Just 4. Those 4 are OSS, non-OSS, Update, and Packman. Just those 4. There is guidance for that here: Repositories - openSUSE-Community The chances are that OSS, non-OSS, and Update are already in place. So one just needs to add Packman. I typically disable the CD/DVD as a respository (and instead rely on the Internet to provide the OSS). Note:

  • OSS - provides what is on the installation DVD
  • Non-OSS - provides packages that are not on the DVD, may include some proprietary (but not many)
  • Update - contains all “official openSUSE” updates made since the distribution version was released
  • Packman - 3rd party repository with lots of non-crippled multimedia applications and 3rd party codecs

Again, just those 4. If one adds others, there can be conflicts between repositories resulting in dependency errors, or simply resulting in applications not working properly. Many new users add both Packman and videolan and that causes many problems. So again, just OSS, Non-Oss, Update and Packman.

Once those 4 are added, one goes to YaST > Software > Software Management, and select the applications/codecs they want. I typically recommend to start with the Packman packaged versions (replacing any Novell/SuSE-GmbH versions) of amarok, amarok-xine, amarok-packman, libxine1, xine-ui, smplayer, mplayerplug-in, vlc, libffmpeg0, ffmpeg, w32codec-all, libquicktime0, libxvidcore4 . Note the last 4 provide codecs:

  • libffmpeg0 - its dependencies provide codecs. It does not itself
  • w32codec-all - libffmpeg should provide most codecs, but this may add some extra
  • libquicktime0
  • libxvidcore4
    I’m going by memory so I may have the precise package name off by a letter or number.

Note one can tell the packman packaged versions by the “pm” in the version number. Note the Novell/SuSE-GmbH packaged versions are typically crippled for multimedia, in keeping with the opensource philosophy. And so typically if a multimedia application does not work, check to see if there is a Packman packaged version. Packman web site: PackMan :: home … and again while the Packman web site provides a “one-click-install” link, I do not like that approach. I prefer to install via the Software Package Manager directly, with the repositories tightly limited and controlled as I noted.

It is likey worth while to brush up on openSUSE concepts here: Concepts - openSUSE

And for installation guidance, check out our stickie: NEWBIES - Suse-11.1 Pre-installation – PLEASE READ - openSUSE Forums

Good luck !

In addition to the above:

comprehensive DVD for people without Internet connection; efficient update system for those who have; Go-OO version of OpenOffice.

In my personal experience both Ubuntu and OpenSuse are equal but there are benefits and drawbacks to both of them:

Ubuntu benefits:
I feel currently that Ubuntu is more easy to upgrade from version to version, with OpenSuse you still need command line if you want to update from say 11.0 to 11.1
Now there is supposed to be a graphical tool but it wont appear until 11.3 and for those who want to go from 11.2 to 11.3 will still need the command line I guess, I heard that it will be there but rather if it will happen I dunno.
I feel Ubuntu’s Gnome is much better then OpenSuse’s Gnome, right now I am more of a Gnome user as I feel KDE 4 still needs time to develop.
KDE 4 is very promising but still I feel that its a step backwards from KDE 3.
Sure if you like flashy effects go with KDE 4 but if you want something that is actually functional right now Gnome is beast bet.
I prefer synaptic over YAST’s software installer, I dislike how in OpenSuse 11.1 the installer kills off if you just install one application.

OpenSuse benefits:
Despite my gripes with the software installer YAST is a very handy tool, the only one I think surpasses or at least equals it is the Mandriva control center.
For KDE lovers OpenSuse is a good choice, though I would argue that my personal experience KDE 4 is no different in other distros.
For KDE 3 yes OpenSuse is one of the last great supporters of it though I am aware in the near future KDE 3 will be left in the dust for what I feel is the inferior KDE4.

I believe when packager managers are fairly close, then comparisons become subjective.

I find the YaST/zypper combination equal to that of Synpatic/apt. I think I noted in another thread, that if one adds Smart to openSUSE, then I actually prefer it over Synaptic/apt combination, although again I believe there is a definite degree of subjectivity to the views (including my own) here. The words “kill off” are misleading (with “immediately exit” reading more appropriate to me, as “kill” suggests a finality), when in fact one simply needs to restart “Software Management” and one does not need to restart “YaST”. Still, Smart does not exit in such an update case, and both smart and zypper have great command line capabilities. So it is possible to install or update multiple applications, one at a time in openSUSE, with no such “kill off”.

I no longer see a package manager as a criteria for leaving nor moving to openSUSE. That has not always been the case, where Package Management in openSUSE-10.1, for those who stubbornly refused to use Smart, was almost an unmitigated disaster (fortunately it was solved by users who used Smart, and it was mitigated by YaST/zypper/rug updates, albeit it was still a disaster).

This had my curiousity perked, so I went to look at the Mandriva Control Center documentation:

Mandriva Control Center - Mandriva Community Wiki

Neat, … but having looked at that web site (and some others that extrolled the virtues of the Mandriva Control Center) I consider the openSUSE YaST superior to Mandriva’s, albeit they are comparible (which contradicts my previous assertion that nothing comes close). Still, I have not seen another Linux distribution come close to either Mandriva nor openSUSE in this aspect. YaST is one area that my Ubuntu liking friends have not been able to match with the Ubuntu controls (which are not bad, they just are not as good IMHO). My Fedora friends (and most my Linux friends use Fedora) don’t even try to show something comparible to YaST.

For simon25, I am a big KDE fan, but having stated that, “operationally” using cutting edge desktops is not something I enjoy. I prefer to spend my time doing other things. Hence for openSUSE-11.1, I recommend its superb KDE-3.5.10 implementation. You find this by selecting “OTHER” when given a desktop choice of “Gnome/KDE4/Other”. If you do not want to install KDE-3.5.10 via DVD, then note that a user in the openSUSE community has prepared a KDE-3.5.10 live CD (that will install) that is very good. The link to that is in the stickie I referenced. I can also repost the URL here if you like.

For the future, I have been testing KDE-4.2.x and KDE-4.3 RC on openSUSE-11.2 milestone-x and I believe it equal to KDE-3.5.10. Yes, KDE-3 has features that KDE-4 does not have. But KDE-4 also has features that KDE-3 does not have. Many good apps are now being prepared for KDE-4, and the only way to get them to run on KDE-3 is to add excessive bloat to KDE-3 so KDE-3 can run these KDE-4 apps. Adding bloat is not something I like to do.

… No, KDE-3’s days are numbered, and as noted by others, the days of KDE-3 are starting to fade, although (if one wants KDE4) my recommendation is to wait until Dec-2009 or Jan-2010, and install openSUSE-11.2 at that time, with KDE-4.3.

But if kde3’s days are numbered how come the KDE4 apps are so inferior to their KDE3 counterparts?
KDE3 Amarok is better then KDE4 Amarok
K3B in KDE3 is better then K3B in KDE4
Konqueror is also superior in KDE3 in my opinion
KDE4 seems all flash and no substance.

I’d like to add the ability to customize your install from the beginning (if you have the DVD of course) and choose what you want and what not. IIRC (x)ubuntu’s DVD only contain more software and do not allow to customize the install?

I always install the system from “minimum x server” and from there i install the rest and the system is really snappier than if i choose to install at once GNOME or KDE.

Remember that everything is a matter of opinion. I can tell that K3b has improved A LOT, it has simplified couple of things (it autodetects if it is a DVD or CD or what kind of image and i find it superior to KDE 3’s K3b), konqueror (i don’t use it at all, dolphin is enough and for browsing google-chrome&firefox).

I must admit that amarok 1.4 is better in some cases and also faster but when amarok 2.x will stabilize then it will then show it’s claws :slight_smile:

I see no reason for users to skip KDE 4.x (it left a bad taste just like Windows Vista) as it improved greatly and is one of the best desktop environments right now.

I dont’ agree about all flash and no substance. I’ll list some apps below. But lets not forget, there was a view expressed in the KDE development/maintenance community that KDE3 could no longer be maintained. Hence a replacement was needed. KDE3 in essence, was going no further. It had reached its pinacle. KD3 has no future without maintainers, and maintainers were saying it could not be maintained. I think that is a pretty strong indication of the upcoming “death” of KDE3 and even of KDE, if there is no replacement.

Your point about k3b and amarok are good points. They are noted. They need to be addressed. But there are more applications than just Amarok and K3b. Plus one can install KDE3 amarok on KDE4. I don’t know about K3b (I have not tried.)

I note that Konqueror is also in KDE4, and I do not see the differences between the KDE3 and KDE4 konqueror versions.

KDE3 version of KDEnlive does not function. In fact, its no longer supported. Instead one must install the KDE4 version of KDEnlive. kdenlive is the application where I spend most of my time, creating home videos. So its a BIG factor for me.

There are other apps as well, where there are KDE4 versions, but no more support to the KDE3 versions.

And the important aspect, is there are no more bug fixes, no more support, going for the KDE3 versions of applications. The support is all moving to KDE4.

simon25, … just a note, … from my perspective, all this KDE3 vs KDE4 talk is relevant to openSUSE-11.2, being released in November 2009. So don’t let my KDE4 enthusiasm “colour” my recommendation to go to KDE-3.5.10 now.

From my perspective, as a KDE lover, the best desktop to use for now is openSUSE-11.1 with KDE-3.5.10. (I recommend 3.5.10 because the 4.1.3 shipped with openSUSE-11.1 was not as stable nor quite as feature rich as that of 3.5.10)

openSUSE-11.1 with KDE-3.5.10 will have about 20 months support, so you can use it until a couple of months after openSUSE-11.3 is released in late 2010. Now I happen to believe openSUSE-11.2 with its KDE-4.3 will be an excellent desktop, a worth succesor of KDE-3.5.10, but there is no need to rush into that , as one can wait until openSUSE-11.3, which will likely have even a better version of KDE-4.x at that (released in some late time in 2010).

For now, KDE-3.5.10 does the job, and it IS the openSUSE desktop that I like and recommend.

Ubuntu has a DVD release… even if it seems only for LTS releases.

IIRC Debian metadata can be incremental updated. If I could select only one of them I prefer the DeltaRPM from openSUSE… but I would like to have both.

IIRC all main distros (Debian/Ubuntu, Fedora, openSUSE, Mandriva) use Go-OO… even if Roy Schestowitz makes more propaganda about the fact openSUSE uses it.

Go-oo development is done by Novell. Novell-sponsored distro+Novell-developed office suite = a marketer’s dream lol!

On topic, I enjoy using opensuse because it was the easiest distro for me to learn in great depth. I can’t say this is true for everyone since everyone learns differently, but I picked up openSUSE in no time. I had an extremely difficult time getting used to using Ubuntu (which I had to learn b/c my GF used it); Ubuntu and I just didn’t “fit” together.

Other distro’s I’ve tried have been similar experiences, except for Mandriva. So what is it about Mandriva and openSUSE that I like? I don’t know. The commercial sponsorship? The well-engineered control centers? Their names? I’m not sure.

I used to be a distro hopper too, but when I found openSUSE I stopped. Things have only gotten better since then.

Using openSUSE is like a peaceful flight… :slight_smile: