Why do people use different distros on different machines?

I am a linux noob. I have a presario laptop and I started with ubuntu which after messing with it, I declare it to be fundamentally broken. At least for this machine, a ton of work to make things functional so ubuntu and my laptop are not friends. then I checked out mandriva which was leaps and bounds more plug and play, and finally I found openSUSE which is likely the most amazing piece of software I’ve seen. everything works and with the exception of figuring out my hp 2600n, this OS is amazing. so, that having been said, I recently checked out an article by a very wise person on this forum talking about restricted media formats and in this person’s sig it said their laptop had openSUSE but their desktop ran Fedora10.

why? I mean I don’t know anything about fedora except for the fact that I tried to boot the live CD and it would not boot, but why not just use openSUSE on everything? are their features which some distros have and this one does not? does openSUSE not work well for a file server or whatever you wanted to do with it?

I use openSUSE on 100s of machines without problems. I also run it on about 50 servers. I have never come across any specific requirement to install another distribution.

Hardware support is usually related to the current kernel version of the latest version of a distribution. Some hardware just doesn’t work for some magical reason on one distribution, but does on another.

So those could be reasons to pick over the other.

And yes there are situations where openSUSE just isn’t the best distribution for the task at hand. For example when you got 8-10 year old hardware it would be make more sense to pick a distribution that’s aimed at running on those kinds of machines.
For servers one might opt to go for centOS, as things are more thoroughly tested then they are with openSUSE.

Just go with whatever suites you (and your machine) the best.

Wish openSUSE would come back with the sparc version… I run ubuntu
7.10 sparc and solaris sparc 10 which works fine on older sparc

Cheers Malcolm °¿° (Linux Counter #276890)
openSUSE 11.1 x86 Kernel
up 2:38, 1 user, load average: 0.11, 0.09, 0.10
GPU GeForce 6600 TE/6200 TE - Driver Version: 180.29

In short, yes. It’s called specialisation. I could make a firewall out of OpenSUSE, after all this is Linux and Linux is very flexible. But IPCop has a nice web interface that I would have to spend time to duplicate. Not to mention that IPCop installs in 5 minutes and uses machines that wouldn’t even boot OpenSUSE, something like 32MB. Another example, FreeNAS comes with a nice web interface for managing NAS exports, much nicer than YaST. In fact FreeNAS isn’t even Linux, it’s BSD. Then there is this machine with 128MB that will never run an OpenSUSE GUI, but runs Puppy Linux just fine. And then there are hundreds of distros that are specialised to local languages. So OpenSUSE isn’t the be all and end all of distros.

I have just removed my primary disk with Gentoo Linux and I have installed Opensuse 11.1 in a new larger disk because I couldn’t keep Gentoo updated (too much work & time). Gentoo Linux is great but you need plenty of time and dedication. Suse Linux was my first distro and I like the 11.x releases.

Linux is Linux and really - we just use what works best for us. Maybe you were referring to me in your comments? Yes _ I use F10 on my Box. But I am most certainly very dedicated to openSUSE and it is always my first choice! In my case some hardware issues with the 11.1 release kernel caused me some bother - It was just easier to try a familiar distro, at the time I just didn’t have time to work on a fix. Most of my grind is done on my laptop now anyway.
FYI though. Fedora is a well respected distro - anyone here will tell you that.

Most of us try many more too - Even if only in VBox. And it fun!

Why? Different Needs.

For my home network (server, desktop(s) and laptop) I tried a couple different distros and finally settled on Ubuntu for a few reasons. Except my router/firewall/content filter is running IPCop because it’s awesome-easy to set up and work with.

Since I am the DACS Linux SIG leader, I installed Fedora since the two predominant distros the users are using are
(K)Ubuntu and CentOS and I have Ubuntu on the primary drive (above) and I couldn’t get CentOS to install from the media and didn’t want to download/burn/try again. :wink:

I have a box I am going to be setting up with openSUSE to both familiarize myself with openSUSE (I think most of my previous problems stems from unfamiliarity) and to get used to KDE 4.x (everything else is running Gnome,Xfce or CLI). Depending on the results will see where it goes.

One thing I’ve noticed is that once you get used to the distro-specific quirks (package manager, where files are stored, etc.) then it all becomes “Linux” and the differences become less than the similarities.

For me it usually comes down to what distro runs best on that computer’s hardware. Sometimes I might run another distro because of it’s focus. For example, to me Fedora does the best Gnome while Suse does the best KDE. Nothing beats Debian for stability and Ubuntu is the best for easy.

Besides puppy, I’ve been playing with two more low RAM distros recently: Crunchbang and antiX.

Crunchbang is Ubuntu with GNOME replaced by openbox as the WM. One nice feature is the status of the machine (RAM, CPU usage, etc) is displayed on the wallpaper. It runs fine in 192MB and maybe even 128MB.

antiX is based on MEPIS which is based on Debian. It uses fluxbox as the WM. It runs fine in 128MB and possibly a bit less.

These distros would be good for that old laptop that hasn’t got much RAM and adding RAM will cost more than the machine’s worth. Or that discarded machine you picked up from the nature strip.

A drawback is that some of apps may be a bit unfamiliar. For example xfburn or gnomebaker instead of brasero or k3b. But they work fine, just fewer frills. I found that the apps themselves didn’t bother me, only the slowness of the CPU (333MHz Celeron) as I’ve been spoiled by fast CPUs.

Also you may have to use a less familiar web browser. In fact if it weren’t for Firefox’s appetite for RAM, you could run OpenSUSE KDE in 256MB.