What are the downsides of Opensuse

I’m trying to get Linux+ certified, and have several noob questions. I’m trying to decide which distro to use long term as a server.

I really like opensuse, but my main question is what are the downsides of opensuse? Are there general OS & server issues? How is version 11. How long are security patches available, can you do upgrades (not forced to clean install). How are stability & reliability, etc. Are there any other issues that effect a server install? Are there any other general comments?

The free openSuSE has a 24 month lifetime for security patches and that’s pretty much the only negative side to it.

With the introduction of 11.0+zypper dist-upgrades should now be possible, I did a 10.3-to-11.0 upgrade with some voodoo magic earlier today.

Stability and reliability… well I have 10.3 running services for hundreds of thousands of people and none of the machines have ever, even once, gone down without external issues (such as power malfunction or hardware failure which you cannot really attribute to the OS).

Don’t laugh, but the BIGGEST downside in our household is my wife is annoyed I spend so much time having fun with it. … :smiley:

Oldcpu, The same here man. LoL :slight_smile:

TO get to the real point, it is playing game for me but with wine it is getting a lot better.

I think they’re talking more from a server point-of-view :wink:

I’ve been running an FTP server for the last year or so with openSUSE. I had some teething issues, but that was due to the fact I had no idea what I was doing. Now, running 10.3, I have no issues at all.

It’s not for lots of people though, only a handful of friends.

Thanks for everyone’s reply. I’ve been googling this for over a day now. The only complaints that I could even find, will be fixed in v11.

I’m sticking with opensuse since I like it a lot and I’m already familiar with it. I like that it sounds very reliable, but yet it uses modern & newer packages soon after their release. Then there’s the forums here that are helpful.

I’ll eventually end up buying an opensuse box just to show support for Novell.

Anyway, thanks again for everyone’s comments.

On Wed, 2008-06-18 at 14:11 +0000, multiplexed wrote:
> I’m trying to get Linux+ certified, and have several noob questions. I’m
> trying to decide which distro to use long term as a server.
> I really like opensuse, but my main question is what are the downsides
> of opensuse? Are there general OS & server issues? How is version 11.
> How long are security patches available, can you do upgrades (not
> forced to clean install). How are stability & reliability, etc. Are
> there any other issues that effect a server install? Are there any
> other general comments?

openSUSE is a good community distro. If you’re talking about
openSUSE vs. Ubuntu/Fedora/Mandriva/etc… then I’d say
openSUSE is the best.

With regards to patches, obviously, it has a “short” lifespan.
I’d recommend upgrading at least every year… but you can
certainly go longer. If you’re a business looking for
long term stability and support, I’d look at the SUSE
Linux Enterprise line of products… which I also recommend.

Novell SLES is by definition, server ONLY.
Novell SLED is by definition, client ONLY.

Novell does not make a “selectable” product with elements
that are BOTH client and server. They say they need
a business case (e.g. money) to make that happen.

openSUSE is a superset combination of both mostly. There
are a few differences, but in general openSUSE makes for
a great server as well as full featured desktop.

With that said, it can be VERY difficult to take an
openSUSE machine and move to SLES or SLED since neither
supply the wealth of packages and options that openSUSE
has. Just an observation.

well as far as certification goes I’d go for RHCE which (at least here in the Netherlands) is a wider accepted certificate and more or less the linux standard opposed to MCSE.

As a desktop openSUSE (since 11) is fine with finally a workable package manager. For a server I would use debian or CentOS/RHEL though but that might just be personal preference. I like a barebone industry standard server, I’d never use openSUSE as a server OS but then again nor would I do so with Fedora.

as far as the community goes I think things might start looking better with the merged forums. I’d say ubuntu has the largest but with a huge n00b ring to it and fedora has the forum with very knowledgable people in it always ready to help. The diverse suse forums were always a bit too fragmented for me until now.


I’d look at the SUSE Linux Enterprise line of products

I’m not very familiar with Novell licensing, but the cheapest SLES is $349 annually. I really dislike subscriptions just on principal. Also, that price would be great for a 50 seat network, but for 10 seats it’s quite expensive. After three years it would cost almost the same as a windows 2008 SBS.

as far as certification goes I’d go for RHCE

Isn’t the RHCE extremely difficult ? I’m just starting out right now. A few years from now I might look into higher end certs, maybe LPI or Novell’s offering.

For a server I would use debian or CentOS/RHEL

I looked into CentOS, but they always seem to be way behind on new packages & features. I also looked into ubuntu, but I’ve heard that they do things in a “nonstandard” way sometimes, though I didn’t follow up as to what that meant.

I do like that opensuse uses modern packages and features, yet it’s still very stable. Also, suse rpm’s seem to be common. I might look into gentoo or freebsd later on, but for now I’m probably sticking with opensuse. I’ll probably stick with free distributions and take my chances with no support. I’ll see if I can locate a local consultant somewhere in case I get stuck.

Thanks again for everyone’s comments. They are extremely helpful.

CentOs is no less or more behind then RHEL/debian stable/SLES imho. and if we are talking server stuff here and certification I would say admin tools and stability are your main concerns.

I have been a linux/unix sysadmin for 12 years now and I would take CentOs over Ubuntu every day of the week and twice on sunday.

Fedora/opensuse/ubuntu are nice for a desktop that is not m$ but not server capable imho, especially fedora with bleeding edge stuff supported for around a year.

What you want is a system that is the same tomorrow as it was yesterday and thus debian/centos … or perhaps OpenSolaris.

that being said my laptop always runs Arch and fedora. things that break do offer a lot to learn and with Arch you setup your entire system yourself.

as for RHCE being difficult? Well I don’t think so but that depends on your knowledge of It in general and linux. I think it is a lot easier then MCSE for example being entirely practical in nature and no insane attention to details about buttons. It is a pratical exam where you hands-on fix a linux problem. I do not know any other certifications for linux carrying any particular weight.


CentOS does use YaST, so it’s no longer purely redhat with branding removed.

Don’t use ubuntu for a server, it’s a bleeding-edge distro, and obviously, isn’t too stable.

I would have to say, SLE/RHEL/CentOS/Debian, debian is a rock solid distro, since we’re talking about a server, old software won’t matter (if you use etch), and if you do use lenny or sid, you’ll lose a small amount of stability for up-to-date software

while you Can run yast on Centos (and apt-get too if you must) the default for packages is yum like rhel and fedora and for sysadmin there are the system-config-X scripts. If you do not manually enable the centos extras repo it still IS in fact RHEL without branding.


You’ve said it several times now but you haven’t really given any reason for it - “imho” doesn’t really weigh much in the big picture.

I’m running SuSE servers on production environment for a “rather big crowd” of people (DTV backends and production servers for cellular services/carriers in almost every part of EU, Asia and States) and I’m yet to see anything Cent can provide that I cannot get done on SuSE.

well opensuse is the best of he three but fedora has a support span of a year AND new kernels during a release cycle. Ubuntu when it is not LTS just 18 months. We run dozens of RHEL and Centos servers with business critical apps that need to be “up” and stable for a little longer then 18 months with a focus on stability versus bleeding edge kernel and stuff. I do not run X on them anyway so KDE4 or gnome2.22 are not important at all.

take Centos 5 for example, this is supported until march 2014 which is something essential in a business critical situation. I ran a fedora server once where there were serious securutyflwas in http / ftp but these were not updated because of the short lifecycle.

so “imho” there is no technical reason why a community desktop distro could not function properly as a server, it is just the age and stability of packages, the less frequent updates and chances of breakage and mainly the Extended lifecycle that make centos/rhel/sles/debian Much better suited for a stable long term server solution.


I cant believe some of these answers, we are talking about the server market here.

IMHO opinion gentoo would be the best server distro, no overhead does what it should high performance no bs, nice portage. Now their are some cons to this. Setup / Install time , lack of vendor support, but if you know what your doing doesn’t really matter, thats about all I can think of. They have great support sites and wiki one of the best imo.

Debian is OK but they have always had some major security issues in the past/present, which is why I never ran it, therefore cant say much about it, although aptitude is supposedly nice.

RHE isnt to bad , here you have excellent vendor support.Ease of use. But costs issues involved. Typical RH Overhead.

SLES also has vendor support again costs issues involved. Also excellent to run novell applications, edir, nss, just for examples, fits in heterogeneous networks quite nicely. Ease of use. Costs involved. Typical Suse overhead.

If Novell would finish suse JEOS , now that would take out a lot of the overhead

This has been a great conversation. I’ve learned quite a lot.

Both OpenSuse and CentOS are great distributions. I would love to use a Novell based OS, but I think I’ve decided on CentOS because of the LTS. A two year OpenSuse lifespan is on the verge of OK, but if I set up a server 6 months after the latest release, then the remaining lifespan would be roughly 18 months, which is not OK. With CentOS, I’ll have the luxury of a long LTS, stable OS and packages, plus there are repositories for newer packages if I want to use those. Major releases are two years, with minor releases occasionally. There might be paid support options in the near future. For certification, there’s Linux+, LPI, and RHCT available.

Some very brief notes on some other distros …

Gentoo - To much compiled source that takes to much time. Vim text based configs. I’d like some gui’s in case I can’t figure it out in bash.

Debian - Conservative, new release 1 to 3 years, might be difficult to use, developer infighting sometimes prohibits progress.

Ubuntu - Noob forums, several people recommend against ubuntu, shorter LTS, more bleeding edge

FreeBSD - High end performance, extremely stable, cannot be labeled as linux although has a Linux compatibility layer, many packages exist but not as many as CentOS/RHEL/SLES, no existing certifications yet

Fedora - Some occasional stability problems, ultra short 1 year LTS, etc.


I’d say you made a good choize with CentOS. CentOS5.2 is due out any minute now so that may save you an update right after install if you get that iso. Since it is just RHEL without branding it is also a good preperation for RHCE should you choose to do so.

I do not necessarily agree about your opinions about gentoo or debian. debian is no more conservative then centos I believe and if you run SID you have a bleeding edgde rolling release system anyway.

gentoo is a mixed bag i believe, all that compiling will win you nanoseconds in the long run so an 12 hour emerge world is just not worth the trouble and they never stuck to a release schedule anyway but managing the system with ‘vi’ and config scripts is the way to go, I do not even run a WM on any of our linux servers and set the default-run-level to ‘3’ immediately so config file based management is actually a big plus, besides on centos/rhel you have system-config-* scripts to do most stuff for you in a ‘wizard’.



To answer your question about the certification question. While I think RH(CentOS) and it’s certification path are a great idea, I would say if you’re wanting to start out with something like the Linux+, then go with Novell certification. As you can see from the link below http://lNovell have a course to prepare you for the Linux+ and it’s 1/3 of what you need for Novell’s CLP certification. This is what I’ll probably end up doing next year after I finish a bit more of my tertiary studies. Again, RH has a longer lifecycle, but you have to pay money for updates and stuff. And anyways you can download SLES from Novell’s main site anyways if you don’t want to use openSUSE.

sorry, screwed up the link Learning Path for Novell Certified Linux Professional 10