Is it possible to do a quick run-down of the differences between openSUSE, Mandriva and Kubuntu?
I’m not new to Linux - I’ve been developing in it for 5 years now. I started with Fedora, then went to RHEL (which I hated) and we had a server with CentOS (which I hated equally). I currently use Fedora at work (mostly, we have CentOS and some other distros kicking around).
I have recently decided to migrate Linux to home use.
From what I can tell there isn’t much difference between these three distros when considering casual use. I’ll probably be doing a bit of C++ development - nothing fancy just working on my craft.
I’ve looked at screenshots of all 3 distros and I don’t think that does any justice to my problem. Functionally are there any huge differences?
How do you get new software? (i.e. Fedora uses yum, Kubuntu uses apt-get, etc.)
Are there packages that aren’t generally available for any of these distros?
Any personal preferences? Why do you have these preferences?
Under the hood openSUSE and I think Mandriva use rpm while Kubuntu uses deb packages; both openSUSE and Mandriva have dedicated control centres (YaST in openSUSE) to manage configuration and updates; both openSUSE and Mandriva allow you to create a separate administrator (‘root’) whereas Kubuntu relies on making the first user the administrator - the default openSUSE installation offers you the same opportunity but you can disable it if you prefer to have two different passwords; AFAIK you cannot do this in Kubuntu.
openSUSE only gives you a free installation; anything proprietary has to be downloaded separately though this is fairly straightforward. AFAIK both Mandriva and Kubuntu install some restricted codes automatically.
openSUSE has the Open Build Service which allows people to contribute packages to most of the distros (not just openSUSE) and therefore a large number of packages are available for openSUSE - it depends on how far you want to go from mainstream packages and whether you are prepared to wait for the volunteers who maintain a lot of packages to update them.
As john_hudson said Mandriva just like openSUSE has its own control center called the MCC (Mandriva Control Center) while openSUSE one is called YaST (Yet another Setup Tool). Kubuntu AFAIK doesn’t have its own central setup tool. openSUSE uses zypper/YaST as a package manager, Mandriva uses urpmi as a package manager but both are RPM based while Kubuntu is DEB based (apt-get as package manager). My personal preference is openSUSE because I like everything about it (zypper is awesome, KDE implementation is good, etc…)
Thank you all for the wonderful input! I, of course, asked this same question over at other forums to get a general feel for what people’s preferences were. (here I expected bias toward openSUSE at Kubuntu forums I expected bias toward Kubuntu, etc.)
As a result I think I’m going to try both Kubuntu and openSUSE. Many of the features from each sound appealing. I like the idea of creating a separate root user (openSUSE wins). It sounds like the Debian backing and package managing with Kubuntu might offer more tried-and-true packages (Kubuntu wins). I could go on and on.
I have a general inquiry about Linux installs. How much HDD space do you reserve for a distro install? It looks like I’ll be booting Kubuntu, openSUSE and Windows. (If only my favorite games were made for Linux - SC2, Diablo3, HL2, etc.)
I was thinking 60 GB each for Kubuntu and openSUSE would be enough (Windows seems to be more of a memory and HDD hog). Do you think 60 is enough?
I’ve used PCLinuxOS for some time, and codecs were never restricted. Everything came with everything. Kind of odd when codecs here are restricted as they are. Lots of software and occasional update oops, if you know what I mean. But, overall a grand distribution. Many DE’s as well.
RealPlayer installs thru Yast during the download here with OpenSUSE so codecs aren’t the problem for playback. It has just about everything there is inside from the download from the RealPlayer website. Works great with OpenSUSE from a panel launcher.
I use Xfce because it automounts great, and the overhead with KDE never gets in the way, and LXDE just seems too small. My OpenSUSE Xfce is so far the best LINUX deal so far. Hasn’t locked down once, except for some confusion with zypper, which I’ll never use again, and other than some apparent software mismatch problems, a very solid Xfce DE. I must repeat, just the right size and very solid, so far anyway.
Codecs are restricted in the US and PCLinuxOS is a US (Texas) distribution. That doesn’t mean you can’t install them though… But you have to be aware of the laws and they are different in every country.
It really depends on your hardware. Mandriva Free will offer you old nvidia drivers while Kubuntu and SUSE will offer you the latest. If you use amd ati graphics card you choose between SUSE or Buntu. In SUSE you can enable ati or nvidia repo and install driver, buntu uses sgfxi module for installing propriety graphics drivers.
I use all these and I find Mandriva update process out of order. It connects me to Czech Republic mirror and takes hours for update. In my opinion SUSE is very stable and flexible.
For me easy distro is opensuse and Mint because of easy to use and more popular to users. Mainly because they have more tools and window environment that helps new users to adapt and exploit operational functions and capabilities.