Why is openSUSE seen as a black sheep of Linux by some people, and what's with the "distro wars"?

I had a discussion some days ago with the developers and community of a FOSS project about Linux, which left me confused and I’d like to understand it better. At some point I was asked what Linux distribution I use, and I said openSUSE. I got several replies saying “SUSE sucks, don’t use distributions like that” or “openSUSE comes with **** software”. Even worse, a developer with experience told me that at least SUSE (the commercial one) is part of a Microsoft scheme to ruin Linux. Most people said they barely even heard of it, and I should use a popular distribution instead.

I don’t get it. What’s with those “distro wars” and some experienced users disliking openSUSE? Especially the idea that the SUSE series are part of an evil Microsoft scheme. No doubt that MS would like to see Linux destroyed, nor do I know about the commercial SUSE or care about that… but I am aware of no such things. I’ve also never got the impression openSUSE comes with lesser software… quite the contrary, other distros seemed much more simple and less usable for me, because they didn’t have enough features. Not popular? I’m surprised openSUSE isn’t at least #3 on most lists (with Ubuntu still being #1), and wouldn’t be surprised if someday it becomes #1 itself.

One thing I did notice about the users who said this is that they have different tastes in how their Linux desktop should be like. Most of them prefer something simple, fast and console-based, even if it looks ugly and has few menus. I however want a desktop that’s detailed, stylish, and a distro that’s user-friendly (like not requiring a console for everything). I’m one of those users who can’t stand not having things like desktop effects enabled (title bars that blur, sounds and effects for windows, etc) or pretty icons and window themes. openSUSE allows choosing a desktop environment and configuring it as you like, the most important parts being the KDE desktop and Yast with its GUI for all important system settings. Maybe this just seems weird to people who are used to simple windows and console options, and don’t care about those details and packages so they consider it “bloated with junk”.

My opinion is that there’s no such thing as a bad Linux distro (unless it’s completely unstable and buggy) nor a configuration that’s bad. Soon after that discussion I was also told that KDE sucks, which is another untrue thing. Sure, I always poke fun at Gnome that “it looks like Windows 3.11”, but I’m not aware of it being bad in any way and if people like it that’s very nice. I admit KDE is the most buddy thing I noticed on Linux (as much as I like it), but no software is perfect. I hope someday most users will think like this and there won’t be any more arguments of the type “my distribution and software are better than yours”… not like any large community can avoid such moments of course, there’s always debates like that in anything :wink:

Do not ask here, we are biased, we are openSUSE users and thus apperently think different.

Ask the others for there arguments. Different arguments then “SUSE sucks, don’t use distributions like that”.

Most people here will to tell the same sort of things about other distros.

Follow you own experience and use what fits you.

Hey,openSUSE rulz…Ubuntu with Unity sucks!:slight_smile:

On 2012-10-27 11:26, MirceaKitsune wrote:
>
> I had a discussion some days ago with the developers and community of a
> FOSS project about Linux, which left me confused and I’d like to
> understand it better. At some point I was asked what Linux distribution
> I use, and I said openSUSE. I got several replies saying “SUSE sucks,
> don’t use distributions like that” or “openSUSE comes with ****
> software”. Even worse, a developer with experience told me that at least
> SUSE (the commercial one) is part of a Microsoft scheme to ruin Linux.
> Most people said they barely even heard of it, and I should use a
> popular distribution instead.

Ignore them.

Years ago there was an agreement between Novell/SUSE and Microsoft (I forget the details, but they
can be found in the net, just google “novell microsof agreement”; there is a wikipedia section), it
provoked angst in many people, and it perdures to this day.


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 11.4 x86_64 “Celadon” (Minas Tirith))

Indeed, ignore them and their sayings. You’re hitting the one and only thing I hate about the open source world, the distro-bashing and pseudo-religious warfare on other distros than one’s own, based on virtually anything. From when I started in the linux communities that was a thing I liked about openSUSE, the other-distro-friendly atmosphere (overall).

BTW: The distro-wars are mostly fought by those who do not contribute in any way. There are no wars between distros, nor their communities.

There is no best distribution, the distribution fits you is the best.

A lot of people will say what they do not personally use or like is bad even if it is or not. It is natural and expected to be agreed/disagreed with even on an irrational level. For example I do not like Ubuntu and I tend to learn toward agreeing with those who also do not like it. That does not make what is untrue true; Ubuntu is a fine distribution.

Most distributions are a (usually) sane collection of upstream software. They do not directly develop all of the tools they ship. It is likely the version of Mesa or Firefox is almost exactly the same as what ships in Ubuntu, Mint, or Fedora. There are different choices involved but I always say (for example) Ubuntu does not do fairy magic to make it work, especially in the kernel where other distributions make much more notable contributions.

Another thing is openSUSE has a great trend becoming more and more free, open, and community minded as the years go on. Distros like Ubuntu are being criticized for hiding development.

Even worse, a developer with experience told me that at least SUSE (the commercial one) is part of a Microsoft scheme to ruin Linux.

As said above there was indeed such debates. Though there also is a lot of misinformation. To again cite Ubuntu. Think about all the yahoo or amazon deals and a lot of bad flame goes around which may not even be true. Mint was flamed for even changing the google search.

Most people said they barely even heard of it, and I should use a popular distribution instead.

Folk say to use Windows, or Apple, and that I am insane for liking open source. When they sit and browse from Firefox of Chromium and have linux on the android phone and on their router. Or the server their web page is fetched from runs on open source.

I don’t get it. What’s with those “distro wars” and some experienced users disliking openSUSE?

I am a python programmer and have been solely using Linux since 2007 and I like openSUSE. I like it more than Debian even. I would not want to be here if it did not have a shot of being truly the best (for me personally).

I’ve also never got the impression openSUSE comes with lesser software… quite the contrary, other distros seemed much more simple and less usable for me, because they didn’t have enough features.

One of the things I like about Debian is the reliability and massive selection of software. Even so I will say I have not been found wanting when using openSUSE. I have found what I need and sometimes a lot more sane and usable versions of packages like Firefox and Wine. The main difference I will note is the basic OSS repos enabled by default include a lot, but there are other repos for software such as Packman, KDE Extra, Games. I am not really aware (or really mind) of why they are not in main repositories but the software is available with simple adding of another repo.

Not popular? I’m surprised openSUSE isn’t at least #3 on most lists (with Ubuntu still being #1), and wouldn’t be surprised if someday it becomes #1 itself.

It would be neat. :slight_smile:

Maybe this just seems weird to people who are used to simple windows and console options, and don’t care about those details and packages so they consider it “bloated with junk”.

A lot of folk tell me I should be using Gentoo or Arch instead of openSUSE. But I like things being simple and graphical even though I do know how to edit my partitions with fdisk and compile software from scratch. I simply do not want to do complicated stuff (except when I choose to) and really enjoy the graphical tools like yast.

I think the problem with some people in general is that they can’t tell “something I don’t like” from “something which is bad”. Thankfully I’m not the case… I consider all distros and software good, just that openSUSE is the only one I personally like. Doesn’t mean others are bad… first of all I haven’t even tried them much to form an opinion. Only OS I haven’t used and think is bad is Windows 8, because some of the clear things I heard about it are enough :stuck_out_tongue:

There’s another reflex that might add to that which should be kept in mind: When using a new configuration or software you aren’t familiar with, it might seem more buggy and unstable because you don’t know how to work with it. Something you’re used to will then seem a lot more reliable. So for instance, someone who’s experienced only openSUSE and tries Ubuntu is more likely to get the feeling it’s very unstable and buggy, while someone who’s used Ubuntu for years and sees openSUSE will think the same about it. The more you know to work with something, the less buggy and unstable it gets.

As for the Microsoft deal, I didn’t know about that. It makes sense that some people are upset then. Like I said I don’t know about the commercial SUSE, nor how ok or wrong whatever they did was. Thankfully openSUSE is not SUSE so it should make no difference. Of course I like Linux in general so I hope the commercial SUSE goes well too. Another complaint I heard was that RedHat is trying to take over Linux… but again not something I know enough to comment on.

I think a portion of the “un-love” is related to Novell and their actions. Not only did Novell make an agreement with Microsoft but Novell was involved in the Mono project as well. The Mono project being an open source .NET framework that people thought was a trojan which Microsoft would use to sue Linux and open source with when it becomes adopted enough.

Then there is the usual “friendly” aggression between competitors Red Hat and SUSE.

Now that Novell has been separated from SUSE and the Mono team has been let go of, a lot of these thoughts are no longer valid but the stigma lives on.

When I first started with Linux, some “experts” gave me reasons why I shouldn’t bother. I listened, then tried it anyway.

Then I read or heard negative comments about GNOME, about Ubuntu, about openSUSE, and about RPM distros in general. I used only Debian-based KDE distros for awhile.

Well, these days I use only Linux at home. I multi-boot Debian, Ubuntu, openSUSE, Fedora, and Sabayon. I use (and like) KDE, GNOME Shell, Unity, Xfce, Openbox, or Fluxbox.

Some friends have had some harsh comments about openSUSE, but I decided to look into it, see for myself. Glad I did.

The way I look at things, there are people who are gonna have negatives things to say about a distro, DE, etc., but then there are always people who love that same distro, DE, etc. I figure there are reasons why people love it; why not check it out and find out some of those reasons firsthand? So that’s what I do, instead of listening too much to the negative talk.

I have been using Linux for about six years. Started with Mandrake KDE. looked at a few others and didn’t feel comfortable. My familiarity with Mandrake sent me to PCLinuxOS, which I have used almost continuously since then. It just works for me. But I also know that distros with a limited community of developers can go south almost without warning. So I have always kept a backup in my pocket. Right now openSUSE seems to be the one I can feel most comfortable with. Still getting accustomed to the different ways things can get done, would rather have a GUI, but I can use the CLI, if there’s no other way.

As the saying goes, there is no bad linux, just one you don’t know how to use.

SUSE got tainted by the SCO-IBM-Novell wars in the courts. Novell entered into a deal with M$ which cast a lot of suspicion on what would happen next. So far nothing seems to be going on, but the suspicion lingers on.

Apple has fanboys, MSFT has fanboys, & each linux distro has fanboys. Some IMO most aren’t fanboys they like you use the one they like for their own pragmatic reasons.
That said I want my contribution to this thread to be this** as long as it’s Linux** it’s all good.

On 10/29/2012 03:16 AM, wayne1932 wrote:
> So far nothing seems to be going on, but the suspicion
> lingers on.

nothing ever went on, except Novell got an infusion of cash)…and, the
deal died off at the originally scheduled time, some years ago…

i know no news is not as exciting as the headline “Sleeping with the
Devil”, but it was always a non-story…just a deal to put some money
in stockholders pockets and give an easy pathway for MS corporate
desktop users to have Linux in their back office…


dd

On 2012-10-29 11:33, dd wrote:
> On 10/29/2012 03:16 AM, wayne1932 wrote:
>> So far nothing seems to be going on, but the suspicion
>> lingers on.
>
> nothing ever went on, except Novell got an infusion of cash)…and, the deal died off at the
> originally scheduled time, some years ago…

Wasn’t it renewed? :-?


Cheers / Saludos,

Carlos E. R.
(from 11.4 x86_64 “Celadon” (Minas Tirith))

On 10/29/2012 05:33 AM, dd wrote:
> On 10/29/2012 03:16 AM, wayne1932 wrote:
>> So far nothing seems to be going on, but the suspicion
>> lingers on.
>
> nothing ever went on, except Novell got an infusion of cash)…and, the deal
> died off at the originally scheduled time, some years ago…
>
> i know no news is not as exciting as the headline “Sleeping with the Devil”, but
> it was always a non-story…just a deal to put some money in stockholders
> pockets and give an easy pathway for MS corporate desktop users to have Linux in
> their back office…
>

I think this is also important… apart from the monetary effect, several
thousand Microsoft shops started using or at least took a really good look at
Linux via the SLE distros since this provided them some cross OS support.

Today’s deal is the partnership with VMware in which you get all the SLE you can
drink for one support subscription if using typical VMware SKUs.

I know, this IS the openSUSE forum… and the issue here is really about SUSE
and SLE. It’s just that people decided to punish openSUSE for their
misconceptions about SLE. To me the most hypocritical thing is punishing SUSE
for getting FOSS and Linux into more hands… especially folks that would have
never looked at otherwise.

There is quite a lot of misinformation being passed around out there.
Unfortunately, SUSE opted for “deadly silence” vs. trying to address things well
to the FOSS/Linux community. Just my own opinion. I guess you could say the
misconceptions worked both ways. SUSE believing that community opinion didn’t
matter… and the community for jumping to a ton of wrong conclusions.

On 10/29/2012 12:37 PM, Carlos E. R. wrote:
> Wasn’t it renewed? :-?

i don’t know for sure, but i think i remember it was for a set dollar
value of ‘vouchers’ that MS could give to their customers to use to buy
SLEx…

i don’t think it was an open ended deal…
OH, here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novell#Agreement_with_Microsoft
where i read it was a five year deal which began in November
2006…with no mention that Attachmate renewed it…


dd

On 10/29/2012 01:11 PM, Chris Cox wrote:
> “deadly silence” vs. trying to address things well to the FOSS/Linux
> community

well, i can’t lay my hands on it this second, but i read (at the time)
all kinds of ‘official’ pronouncements and press releases by Novell and
it seemed to me they were far from “deadly silent”…the whole thing was
out in the open, nothing to hide…

well, i mean if you kiss the devil, you gotta be willing to get
smacked…and, there was several million in it for Novell, so . . .


dd

I think openSUSE as a distro and as a community really suffered because of the Novell-Microsoft deal misunderstanding,I remember that I wouldn’t use openSUSE because of this stupid misinformation!

On 10/29/2012 07:51 AM, dd wrote:
> On 10/29/2012 01:11 PM, Chris Cox wrote:
>> “deadly silence” vs. trying to address things well to the FOSS/Linux
>> community
>
> well, i can’t lay my hands on it this second, but i read (at the time) all kinds
> of ‘official’ pronouncements and press releases by Novell and it seemed to me
> they were far from “deadly silent”…the whole thing was out in the open,
> nothing to hide…
>
> well, i mean if you kiss the devil, you gotta be willing to get smacked…and,
> there was several million in it for Novell, so . . .
>

The “deadly silence” is the failure to adequately address the community concerns
over the Microsoft deal… it was NOT handled well… not at all.

AFAICT openSUSE did suffer, maybe it still is, and not least because Distrowatch continues to refer to that in their Major Distributions page. These two paras:

However, the infamous deal between Novell and Microsoft, which apparently concedes to Microsoft’s argument that it has intellectual property rights over Linux, has resulted in a string of condemnation by many Linux personalities and has prompted some users to switch distributions. Although Novell has downplayed the deal and Microsoft has yet to exercise any rights, this issue remains a thorn in the side of the otherwise very community-friendly Linux company.

and this:

Cons: Novell’s patent deal with Microsoft in November 2006 seemingly legitimised Microsoft’s intellectual property claims over Linux;

That’s quite a lot of column inches in the openSUSE section. :frowning: