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