openSUSE has had more active development :
- New style start menus were out on openSUSE long time before they made other distro’s
- Compiz developed by Novell
- Kernel team large and active contributors
- Active KDE team (eg) FF3.5 integrated with KDE)
- Integration projects with MS products eg) Mono/moonlight, OOo extensions
- GNOME team to
If everyone prefers re-packaged products, then original development of Linux stagnates.
In Commercial space, RHEL is #1, Novell SLED/SLES #2, with Cannonical #3. SuSE Linux has been around for very long time, and the experience helps, there’s good security team, and totally broken releases won’t be pushed out, just because it’s 11:59 on 31st October.
openSUSE has configured firewall by default installation.
The YaST tool allows more configuration with GUI, and also works on plain terminal, so there’s less need for commandline.
For instance configuring machine with 2 network cards, was simple part of installation with openSUSE, whilst in Ubuntu I had to google, and find a Howto and edit various system files, to get a 2nd interface working.
For KDE users, a reason to prefer openSUSE is that the KDE desktop is a first class part of the distro, not a minority interest “spin” of variable quality.
The core parts of the system, are better engineered and more maintainable than Debian/Ubuntu when I looked end 2007. I found Ubuntu 7.10 very, very buggy and was spending way too much time tracking problems in packages and start up scripts.
But fact is, engineering tends to be unappreciated by most, and switching from Ubuntu does require learning some new ways.
Really you should try out some Live CD’s and see if you like the look.