OpenSUSE – A real alternative to Ubuntu?


The world of Linux is home to a plethora of Linux distributions.

Many of these distributions work on a niche of some kind by offering something the others don’t.

Then there are the really big distributions. These distributions set the trend that many other distributions follow and fork from.

OpenSUSE is a big distribution. It is up there with Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora. OpenSUSE is a community distribution but has the advantage of having a big money sponsor (Novell).

I have been using OpenSUSE for the past week and the aim of this review is to determine whether it is a good alternative to Ubuntu.


To download OpenSUSE I went to the website and then looked at the rankings on the right hand side.

OpenSUSE is currently sitting 6th in the rankings, based on downloads for the past 6 months. It is sitting behind Mint, Mageia, Ubuntu, Fedora and Debian.

Upon opening the link for OpenSUSE I visited the download mirrors page and downloaded the KDE live edition from the mirror closest to my location.

My normal method of burning live ISOs to USB is to use Unetbootin but I had read up on OpenSUSE and many people have had trouble using this method so I used the suggested option from the webpage.

Whether you are using Windows or Linux you have to download the Imagewriter software and then use that software to write the image to the USB drive.

So with the USB drive created I performed a reboot of the laptop (Samsung R20, not the quickest machine there is, but not ancient).

OpenSUSE started without any issues.

Before installing a distribution to the hard-drive I check basic things like the wireless connection to make sure I am unlikely to have issues after the install.

There is an install link on the desktop and clicking this starts an installation program.

The installer for OpenSUSE is fairly linear and easy to follow. The bit that might trip up a new user is the partitioning bit. OpenSUSE makes an attempt to suggest the best set up with regards to partitions that you might wish to use. Now ordinarily if you want to use the whole drive then it will offer to create three partitions. (Root, Home and Swap).

In my case I already had 2 operating systems on the laptop (Snowlinux and SolusOS). I wanted to replace the Snowlinux and so I had to adjust the partitioning myself. I’m not sure how well OpenSUSE copes if you already have Windows installed. Does it offer to replace it or install alongside? Maybe someone can answer this in the comments section.

So other than the partitioning all the other usual questions are asked such as timezones, locales, keyboard settings and initial user settings.

First Impressions

OpenSUSE 12.3 Everyday Linux User

Upon first glance OpenSUSE looks every bit the professional operating system. 
The KDE desktop is very modern looking and at the same time will give a familiar feeling to most Windows users.
The first run of OpenSUSE displays a welcome message in the centre of the screen. Generally speaking though the KDE desktop consists of a panel at the bottom, the desktop and a folder view at the top of the screen. Later on in the article I will show some more of the features of the KDE desktop.
The bottom panel is like the Windows taskbar with a menu button, quick launch icons and a system tray in the bottom right corner.
SUSE Linux Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for Opensuse and Suse Linux Enterprise SUSE Linux Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for Opensuse and Suse Linux Enterprise
In this handy, compact guide, you’ll explore a ton of powerful SUSE Linux commands while you learn to use SUSE Linux as the experts do: from the command line. Try out more than 1,000 commands to find and get software, monitor system health and security, and access network resources. Then, apply the skills you learn from this book to use and administer desktops and servers running openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise or any other Linux distribution.

Connecting to the internet

Bizarrely the first time I booted into OpenSUSE there was no wireless network icon on the taskbar.
I tried adding the network applet to the panel but it couldn’t find my wireless networks.
I decided to go for a reboot (not my usual course of action but I had a hunch) and the next time OpenSUSE booted the network icon appeared on the taskbar and I was able to see both my home broadband and mobile broadband networks and even more bizarrely the wireless network for our neighbour’s house. (This is bizarre because we are some distance away).

After entering my network password the KWallet application appeared asking whether I wanted to store my passwords within it.
The upshot of this is that the next time I log in all I have to do is enter the KWallet password and the wireless connection will work.

Flash and MP3

To test flash I logged on to Youtube and attempted to watch the trailer for Spiderman.

As you can see the Flash player isn’t installed by default.
Now Ubuntu has the Ubuntu-restricted-extras package so I looked online to see if there was a quick way to get Flash working within OpenSUSE and the site came up trumps.
The above link shows you how to install Flash, Java, Silverlight and Google Voice and Video chat.
To install Flash just open a terminal window (on the quick launch bar) and type:
sudo zypper install flash-player
After running this command I tried refreshing the Youtube page but it didn’t pick up the change until I restarted Firefox.
OpenSUSE 12.3 Everyday Linux User - Spiderman in FireFox

The audio player supplied with OpenSUSE is Amarok.

As with Fedora and Debian, OpenSUSE is a community distribution and so only distributes with free software therefore MP3s do not work straight away.
The OpenSUSE website tries to influence you into installing Fluendo. This is a commercial option. Fluendo provide a range of plugins for DVD playback and MP3s. There is a free MP3 decoder on the website.
There is of course a better way. If you visit there is a method for installing all the tools you will need to accomplish MP3 playback.

After following the article on I was able to play MP3s within Amarok.


I only downloaded the live KDE version but this comes with a good range of applications.


  • Desktop Globe – Globe


  • KMahjongg – Mahjongg
  • KReversi – Reversi
  • KMines – Minesweeper
  • KSudoku – Sudoku
  • KPatience – Patience


  • DNG Image Converter – Image Converter
  • Exposure Blending – I have no idea what this does
  • Panorama – Make a panoramic photo
  • digiKam – Image viewer
  • showFoto – Photo viewer
  • Photo Layouts Management Program
  • AcquireImages – Scanning
  • Skanlite – Scanning
  • Gwenview – Image viewer


  • Konversation – IRC Client
  • Kopete – Instant Messenger
  • Choqok – Microblogging
  • KMail – Mail client
  • Firefox – Web Browser
  • Konqueror – Web Browser
  • KTorrent – BitTorrent
  • Akregator – RSS Feed reader
  • IFTP- FTP Client


  • Amarok – Audio player
  • K3B – CD/DVD Burning


  • KAddressBook – Address Book
  • LibreOffice
  • Kontact – Personal Information Manager
  • KOrganiser – Calendar


There are also a host of system and configuration tools.

Package Management

Package management in OpenSUSE is performed by using a utility called YAST.

I have to say that I think that this piece of software lets OpenSUSE down. Compared with Apt-get and Synaptic, YAST is lacking in useability.

The interface itself seems fairly easy. When you first load YAST the control center is displayed and from there to install software you can click on “Software Management”.

The next screen provides a way of looking for applications. You can either search for the package by entering a keyword or you can click the RPM groups tab and search down a tree for the application you wish to install.

So far it all sounds quite good doesn’t it? Except I cannot seem to find any decent software in the default repositories.

I was able to find a whole host of repositories by following this link (

The other thing that annoyed me was that when I did try and install software I was greeted with the message “173 packages to be installed, estimated 1.3 gb”.

By default OpenSUSE will try and update every package that needs to be updated. Now this ISO is about a month old yet the download size of the updates is bigger than the ISO I downloaded to install OpenSUSE in the first place.

It is of course possible to prevent the package manager attempting to update these packages.

KDE Customisation

I am of the opinion that KDE actually looks quite good nowadays. I first noticed this when reviewing SLAX a few weeks ago.

Basically KDE comes with various different views which are called activities. The default view is the folder view whereby you have a desktop with various folders listed in panes on the desktop.

OpenSUSE 12.3 Everyday Linux User - Folder View Desktop

If you like the traditional Windows view then you can go for the desktop icons view.

OpenSUSE 12.3 Everyday Linux User - Desktop Icon View

Other views include gallery view and search view but you can add your own customised activities.

Each activity window can have its own desktop background. OpenSUSE comes with just two as standard but you can easily install additional backgrounds from the list provided.

Of course you can add your own wallpapers by downloading them from the web or digital camera, USB drive etc and importing them into OpenSUSE.

In Windows Vista you may remember the news and weather widgets that appear on the desktop. KDE incorporates a whole library of widgets.

Although by default there is a panel at the bottom you can also add an additional panel at the top of the screen and remove the bottom panel entirely if you so wish. You can add any number of icons onto the system tray including application launchers.

It is easy to switch between activities by clicking the hotspot in the top right hand corner of the screen.


OpenSUSE is clearly very mature as an operating system and is definitely up there with the larger distributions.

The KDE desktop looks good and for Windows users it will give an instant feel of familiarity. Unlike Windows however the KDE desktop is very customisable and there are some excellent features.

In terms of installation I would say it is probably just as easy as installing Ubuntu with the exception of the partitioning but I would say that Ubuntu makes that a little too simple and doesn’t necessarily create the partitions in an optimal way. It really is up to each person to decide the best layout of their partitions.

The lack of instant Flash and MP3 playback is an issue but not one that can’t be overcome. The documentation I have found for OpenSUSE is very good.

I was disappointed with YAST and the selection of packages available by default and I was baffled by the size of the updates. Again the packages issue can be overcome by adding extra repositories and the updates can be configured to work how you want them to,

How does OpenSUSE compare with the other big distributions? I would say it is on a par with Debian and Fedora really. I think Mint is definitely the distribution setting the standard at the moment. Cinnamon is a classy desktop environment and Mint works straight away without having to install any extras or jump through any hoops.

Thankyou for reading.

Click here to download openSUSE

Click here to buy an openSUSE DVD or USB drive

SUSE Linux Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for Opensuse and Suse Linux Enterprise SUSE Linux Toolbox: 1000+ Commands for Opensuse and Suse Linux Enterprise
In this handy, compact guide, you’ll explore a ton of powerful SUSE Linux commands while you learn to use SUSE Linux as the experts do: from the command line. Try out more than 1,000 commands to find and get software, monitor system health and security, and access network resources. Then, apply the skills you learn from this book to use and administer desktops and servers running openSUSE and SUSE Linux Enterprise or any other Linux distribution.

Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander has been released. Read this article which highlights the reviews and articles that have been published for Ubuntu 13.10.

To make it easier for everyone who wants to read my Ubuntu based articles and tutorials I have formatted them, rewritten them and added extra content which has resulted in the eBook “From Windows To Ubuntu”.
The book isn’t massive like a SAMS guide so it isn’t going to take you forever to read it but there is certainly a lot of content.

Click here to buy the eBook “From Windows To Ubuntu”


  1. I have never used Ubuntu – I don't like Gnome or Unity (yes, I know there's Kubuntu) and really I don't like Debian/Ubuntu's sudo thing. I've recently tried Open SuSe after using Red Hat forks for years. I think it's better than Fedora, much easier to set up and most stuff works out of the box. What isn't installed and you need is an absolute piece of cake to install. The repositories are seemless and much easier to get going than Mageia which is my favourite distro.

    The only real downside to Open SuSE I have found is the repositories are terribly slow. Mageia's are lightneing quick in comparison. OS has a lot more in the repositories than Mageia though.

    All-in-all, it's a really excellent distro.

  2. Firstly, i've used openSUSE as my defaUlt since the days of SUSE 6…so I'm biased

    It puzzles me that you used the live system to install, and then are surprised by the amount of packages needed to download. Yast-software install has something called patterns, which simplifies installing tremendously. if you have a proper install disk, it doesn't need much to download. Adding repos, click software repos in yast and click add…they are all there. Also, you're being a bit disingenuous in that you don't say what you're installing. If its gtk based stuff, then the install is going to be huge, think about all those dependencies not on the kde live disk.

    As for media codecs, either search for 'opensuse codecs one click' in a search engine or click it on under the multimedia section. Once this is installed, you'll have everything you need to play just about every format.

    And more on software available…when you say you can't find decent software in the default repos…what kind of software?

    openSUSE sorts its self quite well with windows installed…it will recommend shrink the partition and do everything quite nicely for you.

    Please, if you are going to do a review, do it on the right install system as well…a live disk gives you limited packages that are optomised for the live system…its not a fair review otherwise. And, if you are going to measure it as an alternative to some other distro, focus on getting real experience and info on the distro.

    Otherwise, thanks for sharing openSUSE ๐Ÿ™‚

    • The OpenSUSE live ISO is 928mb. There are a lot of live distros that come in considerably below this size and when I install a package from the repository it shows maybe a 20 to 30mb install or even 100mb isn't too bad.

      When you have a 928mb ISO and try to install one package and it says that it wants to download 1.4gb of software to replace the software already there then that is surprising.

      If I installed any KDE distribution today and then installed Gnome over the top it would come in considerably under 1.4gb.

      I get your point about the live disk being a live disk and if I wanted all packages then I should download all the ISOs that make up the set but generally that is an inefficent way of working because it is unlikely I will want all the packages. I find it common practise to use a live disk and then just install the extra packages I require.

    • The reason for the big download is twofold:
      first, upon the first run, YaST will install all 'recommended' packages (including flash, by the way) which either aren't there due to legal issues (flash…) or size limits.

      Second, it will install updates. If you have a minor improvement for KDElibs, all of KDE has to be rebuild and updated. If you have a minor improvement for LibreOffice, there's another 300 mb of software to be updated. Such is life, and honestly, it just shows we actually FIX issues instead of ignoring our stable release until a new version comes out. If other distro's provide you with only a few mb's of updates a month after they were released, you can only conclude they do very little, if any, maintenance on their 'stable' OS.

    • I'm a KDE fan, but I still think this is one of KDE's weaknesses. As you say, a minor improvement for KDElibs seems to require an update of all of KDE, including its apps. I suspect that has something to do with the nature of basing your libraries on C++. Kind of hard to implement new functionality without changing your ABI.

    • I'm surprised to read that an update to KDElibs requires a whole update of KDE. In the past, I compiled binaries against an older vanilla KDE release on Slackware, and I could run them at every modern Linux distribution, inclusing SuSE and Ubuntu – no problem at all.

      KDE provides a stable API after all for the major releases.
      Am I missing something here?

  3. Reading through this and the comments, it looks like everybody's reaching to find something good; and always running into something bad.

    Let's look at exactly why Ubuntu has become the standard first: Easy installation of both Commercial and Free Software. The commercial part and the ease of install is something every other Distro lacks.

    PPA's are super easy to add and give lots of options to users looking to add places where new Software and updates are located. The Software Center is bar none the best and easiest way to Install and BUY both Commercial and Free Software.

    You say it yourself in the Article, Novell has money to make OpenSUSE much better than it actually is. Yet after all these years, it's still stale. Valve chose Ubuntu for a reason.

    Mint doesn't even count since it's based on Ubuntu. Fedora is Red Hat's Guinea Pig and Business Orientated. Look, I don't mean to urinate on your flowers, but it is what it is.

    Most people complain about Ubuntu simply because of Unity, not understanding there are other Official versions; like Xubuntu, Kubuntu and Lubuntu. A person can have the full Ubuntu experience without Unity. But yes, it's great that we all can roll our own version of Linux or use something like Fedora or OpenSUSE if we so choose.

    • Let's really look at why Ubuntu has become the standard: Red Hat got out of desktop Linux and got behind the Fedora project. Mandrake made enemies of its user base by forcing them into a subscription system to enhance their bottom line. Suse got bought out by Novell and it didn't exactly go over well with a lot of users. Prior to Ubuntu, Red Hat and then Linux Mandrake ruled the roost in Linux. Suse was well on its way to possibly taking over until Novell bought it. Enter an upstart that gave away free CD's by mail compared to the prior dominant distros that required you actually purchase a boxed set to get non-free stuff the easy way. Prior to Ubuntu, you either paid to get non-free stuff installed by default or you got FOSS only downloads that you had to install the stuff yourself to avoid making them susceptible to lawsuits.

      Ubuntu's installer is oversimplified and if you're not careful, can overwrite settings you don't want it to. Ubuntu didn't win the war because of their installer. Ubuntu came at the right time and was in the right place when the heavyweights stumbled or bowed out and they got a lot of press with the giveaway CD's and the millionaire owner backing it.

      Novell no longer owns Suse or openSUSE. Attachmate bought it years ago.

      I hate to bust your bubble, but desktop Linux is the testing grounds for all enterprise Linux, not just Fedora. Debian may be one of the very few that's NOT guilty of this.

      Outside of the official version of both Mint and Ubuntu, the products seem like stepchildren. They lack the attention given to the main distro release. Kubuntu is not in the same league as Ubuntu. There really isn't a KDE based Debian distro that's worth $.02 US. openSUSE, Mageia, and PCLinuxOS do a much better job at KDE than anything I can think of in Debian.

      I just erased Linux Mint KDE 14 from my computer, and was running it side by side with openSUSE 12.3. Although I thought Mint was pretty decent, it just lacked something that KDE-centric distros have that make them feel polished. openSUSE, on the other hand, is one of the most polished distros out there, period. Even the opening animations from GRUB2 through the desktop were very professional in their presentation. As far as look and feel, openSUSE is the standard that all others need to strive to acheive.

    • "Let's really look at why Ubuntu has become the standard"

      Ubuntu is not the standard. Revenue data clearly shows that Red Hat is.

      Sure, Ubuntu is successful but since the Linux desktop "market share" did not change in a noticeable way at all, migrations toward Ubuntu almost exclusively happened within the existing Linux user base. Yes, the demise of Mandriva is one factor but such is that at that time many Debian users just wanted a Debian Unstable that was less unstable than Sid and more up to date than Stable.

      "Red Hat got out of desktop Linux and got behind the Fedora project."

      Red Hat never got out of the Linux desktop business, they left the retail business of selling boxed copies in stores.

      Red Hat is very active in Linux desktop development as evident by their involvement in Gnome, LibreOffice, KDE, and other desktop-focused projects.
      Red Hat just prefer to make business with corporations and deploy e.g. 5000 desktop installations in one go.
      These desktops often are behind a NAT and show ob in server logs as single IP / handful of IPs.

      "desktop Linux is the testing grounds for all enterprise Linux, not just Fedora. Debian may be one of the very few that's NOT guilty of this."

      Debian is also an enterprise distribution. HP is not an active Debian contributor just for fun. And within Debian Unstable/Experimental are the testing grounds for Debian Stable.

  4. I have never recommended it to newbies. The choice for those who have never used Linux before is surely Linux Mint either with MATE or Cinnamon desktop. If computer is little bit slow and old (e.g 8-9 years old) i recommend MATE.

    Besides i've never understood why former Windows users won't get used to Gnome, it's actually much more reliable than KDE. Even after 5 years using only Linux i still use Gnome as default desktop for me, my wife and my children.

    • Are you nuts? Gnome, Cinnamon, and MATE are completely foreign to Windows users. KDE, on the other hand, feels like a comfortable pair of jeans to them. KDE less reliable than Gnome 3? Buahahaha… I use KDE every day and rarely have a hiccup. I'm currently running both PCLinuxOS 64 and openSUSE 12.3 64 bit with KDE and both run smooth as silk. I've always found Gnome to be painful to look at, boring, odd to use, and limited. KDE, on the other hand, is beautiful, easily configured and customized, chock full of goodness, and full featured.

    • Gnome 2.x/Mate and Cinnamon pick up and hardly evolve the Win95 paradigm of usability.
      KDE is the name of a community that actually produces three, not just one DE: Plasma Desktop, Plasma Netbook, and Plasma Active.
      Of those three only Plasma Desktop somewhat resembles the Win95 paradigm by default with a taskbar at the bottom but the similarities end there. By upstream KDE default Plasma Desktop does not even display icons on the desktop. Sure, all Plasma Worspaces offer a great deal of configurability, so if a distributor wants a look and feel that somewhat mimics Win95 is certainly possible but so is mimicking OSX.

  5. I entered the linux sphere around the time of linux mint 8 so I'm still somewhat a newcomer to linux.
    I distro hopped a bit. My 1st experience with Opensuse was with 12.2 KDE.
    I had issues with repositories and what nots. What helped me to get going and stay with opensuse (now running 12.3 KDE) is the absolutely fabulous support in the forums. The help is without equal courteous and to the point.
    Based on the absolutely superb support of the community, I say to anyone…newbies especially, go ahead install opensuse and rest assured the community will "qucikly" help resolve any issues.

    my 2ยข

  6. I'm an ubuntu-user, but i always install KDE afterwards.
    I love all the customizing-options! Transperancy, size, number, position of panels. Widgets. I can make my desktop look and work EXCACTLY they way I want, and that's one of the reasons I liked linux-desktop in the first place.

    And reading through the app-list in the article I can't help to think that that's a pretty solid list. Still haven't found better burning software than k3b anywhere, and Amarok is easily the best musicplayer/library on any system in my opinon.

    Installing Plasma-addons package as typing this, can't wait to see what new screen-candy I've got. Finally going to click the 'activities' button in the corner too, to find out what it's all about.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

  7. Been running Suse since 5.3. Had a few versions with issues but usually the best of the best. I never understood the whole Ubuntu thing. The reason it became popular was the huge amount of money poured into it. Other distros were working just fine before that. Suse way back before it was opensuse just worked with everything.

    • No popularity Ubuntu was and it that ubuntu developers really cairy about users. If something inconvenient or but VERY TRUE for GNU Linux fanatics they throw it away and replace on other implementation. Suse and openSUSE was better then ubuntu years ago, but now I think it loose touch completely. Compare how many hand work required just after install openSUSE and ubuntu for use it for media, reading( opensuse still have horrible fonts), repository addition, horrible search in yast you can never find a package if you not check exactly name in the google. Even little thing with sudo (opensuse can show all programs by sudo, sometimes it's really annoying) but ubuntu does and it more secure then open root terminal by su. Of course if you do on your computer only VIM/server stuff opensuse looks better but there we are talking about desktop.

    • Could not be more different to my own experiences with *buntu and openSUSE, Maksim

      I've returned to oS after my 2nd depature to try other Debian-ish systems (admittedly because my 10-years old PC could not handle oS 11.4). Ubuntu had a nasty bug that developers were *very* reluctant to look at – to the point of being rude and others quoting the Ubuntu CoC ). Kubuntu (and all non-Unity *buntus) is a 2nd class citizen and the KDE implementation there is very sloppy (Help with doubled menu entries, or just missing manuals, wrong icons, old versions.. ad nauseum)

      You can install drivers and media with one-click-install for oS. This is even easier than *buntu's Additional Drivers

      Installing/finding software (even without is a snap: use webPin in YaST, or go to a prompt and type zypper search whatimlookingfor — it's easier than apt-cache or even aptitude (which is not in *buntu by default)

      There's technical niceness in oS12.3 that drew me back: snapper with btrfs for snapshot / rollback of the filesystem; systemd instead of SysV init or Upstart

      It looks better, is stable (I mean, no constant changes in direction from Cannonical), is supported, OBS is easier and cleaner than PPAs, and Tubleweed is a "rolling distro" that's already here. What's not to love?

  8. I am user of OpenSuse since Suse 7. I have tried other distribution but I am always back to Suse and as Suse with KDE !. One thing I can really say is that Opensuse can be installed in different type of machines and HW, if something get not easy, exist a well wide community in Internet for support as like as documented solutions. I need to add my congratulation to all programers helping to keep Opensuse running. The last version 12.3 is really one of the best improvements, emphasizing that this time is the first time I am using the nouveau driver for Nvidia and is working perfect !!!! 3D, plasma effects, videos, plus wine + games, multimedia and more.

    Thank you for the good open source experiences. !

  9. I've been using Linux for nigh on 12 years. SuSE is a bloated old tart of an OS. Seriously, there are better distros 'out there'.
    Mint is great because it provides the best support, that I've thus encountered, for WINE and thus for games. For speed and freshness, Manjaro is pretty awesome.
    Novel made a serious mess of buying SuSE and the resultant Microsoft patent deal. As with so many 'investments', once the money arrives the quality and spirit go out the window.

    • Granted. But that doesn't detract from the essential truth that Novel bought SuSE and then got into bed with Microsoft and trashed SuSE in the eyes of large sections of the OSS community in the process.

  10. "OpenSUSE is currently sitting 6th in the rankings, based on downloads for the past 6 months. It is sitting behind Mint, Mageia, Ubuntu, Fedora and Debian" is a false statement. According to the DistroWatch site, "The DistroWatch Page Hit Ranking statistics are a light-hearted way of measuring the popularity of Linux distributions and other free operating systems among the visitors of this website. They correlate neither to usage nor to quality and should not be used to measure the market share of distributions. They simply show the number of times a distribution page on was accessed each day, nothing more."

    It has nothing to do with the number of downloads. It is irresponsible to state otherwise, particularly when the guys who run DistroWatch go out of their way to clear up that particular misconception.

    • Just to clarify the point behind that statement was to show how big OpenSUSE is. Whilst Distrowatch rankings cannot be used accurately to determine overall usage they do give a rough guide as to which distributions have the biggest following. They aren't totally accurate but by and large a good guide.

      The statement wasn't made to suggest that OpenSUSE is therefore a bad distribution or not as good as the five above them but to give some context as to how big OpenSUSE is.

  11. I had been a distro hopper for a while. I never quite found a Linux that got it all right. I also have preferred KDE for a desktop environment. I know there are a bunch of low resource environments. But I have a very powerful computer, so the KDE overhead is irrelevant. KDE 4.8 finally got to where it should have been the whole time. Since what I do with my computer is very involved with business, I also did not want to try some of the lesser known distros. Mint Linux has always been pretty solid, but their implementation of KDE always appeared to be an afterthought. Kubuntu was okay, but I didn't like it as much as Mint. Any of the other distros with KDE were either too obscure or not well polished. It was a tough decision a while back to choose Mint 13 and 14 KDE 64 bit over OpenSuse 12.1 and 12.2. Let me just say Ubuntu is weird. Forget that distro. They've decided to go their own way and throw everybody else under the bus. Yep, I also liked Debian, but that thing took hours and hours to configure properly to my liking. Windows 8 is a disaster in the making too. I would endure a root canal before switching to that. I tried the developers preview. What the heck is Microsoft thinking? This is going to make the Vista disaster look like a sunny afternoon. I actually ran Mandriva for years before they went into a meltdown.

    I have an HP XW8600 Workstation with dual quad core 3Ghz Xeons, 32G of DRAM and an Nvidia GT520 card with 1G of RAM. I hardly need a light DE like XFCE, LXDE, Mate or etc. Gnome is okay, but not as pretty or evolved as KDE. Clunkier too.

    Then I installed OpenSuse 12.3 64-bit with KDE 4.10.1 on my system on a spare drive to take a look. Wow. Not only is it the most polished execution of KDE, it is just rock solid, fast and has some great support. I think this is the best distro of Linux ever. This thing looks so good, is so easily configurable and is just a pleasure to work with. I installed lots of extra stuff. I got the 3D OpenGL desktop effects working great. I installed lots of graphics software familiar to us all. I also have to say something about all the Ubuntu based distros. None of them has a decent HTML editor anymore. Seriously!!! You have to do back-flips to install Seamonkey, Kompozer or Bluegriffon in the Ubuntu variants. But OpenSuse has Bluegriffon and Seamonkey right there in the repos! I also installed Virtualbox. I already had a vbox appliance with WinXPP in it. So I just imported it from my previous Mint 14 install and made a pretty icon for it. You can see the icon on my desktop. All in all, this operating system is just beautiful. Heck, I think Apple should toss OSX and use this instead. You can see a snapshot of my desktop here:

    • I'm also using Open SUSE 12.3 KDE and it seems to be rock solid (so far). However there were some problems with printer and Networkmanager until i finally managed to solve them. One thing really surprised me that i didn't manage to get connection to internet after install and i never even understand how i finally got it.

      It has a beautiful UI…and after using it couple of weeks i love it even more.

  12. I've used Kubuntu and Mandriva in the past and had significant issues. Ubuntu's QA is known to not be the best, letting significant bugs through. They once allowed an installer bug through that prevented leaving the partition manager screen – which had to mean the installer was NEVER tested. I've never had a serious issue with openSUSE since starting with it in version 10.x.

    Currently I have ONE issue with openSUSE – there appears to be some issue with the NVidia proprietary video drivers which causes Xorg to hit 100% CPU after the system has been up a while. I notice it mostly in Firefox which slows badly. I'm thinking of either reverting to much earlier NVidia drivers or sticking with the open source nouveau driver. That's the ONLY bug I've seen in openSUSE 12.2 and I don't know whether NVidia or KDE or openSUSE is the source.

    In general, openSUSE is a piece of cake to use if you have any Linux experience at all. YAST Software Update is very easy to use. Software updates can also be handled by apper, although I don't like the fact that it doesn't report much in the way of details while it's updating. Repositories are easy to find and add at Once that's done, especially the Pacman repository, almost any software is usually available unless you're looking for something really exotic.

    I recommend installing from the full 4GB DVD rather than the live DVD. You'll be looking at much smaller updates initially. And if you do it now, with version 12.3 just out, the updates will be even smaller.

    Also, openSUSE is a distro that doesn't tend to make "radical experiments" in the GUI or other aspects of the distro, unlike Ubuntu. I use KDE because I've never liked GNOME's look. I don't do a lot of customization like some people do and don't use most of KDE 4.x's more fancy capabilities. I even disabled the "desktop view" and just display wallpaper in the background without icons. I'm not ready for "Unity" or any of this other stuff trying to compete with tablets or dumbing down the interface or hypothesized "productivity improvements" while producing excessive complexity.

    In general, if you want a Linux distro which isn't "experimental", isn't produced by two guys, isn't dumbed down, isn't entirely for power users, has a decent software base, and a decent QA process so it's stable and reliable, you can't go wrong with openSUSE.

    • In general, if you want a Linux distro which isn't "experimental", isn't produced by two guys, isn't dumbed down, isn't entirely for power users, has a decent software base, and a decent QA process so it's stable and reliable, you can't go wrong with openSUSE.

      This is perfect… plus SUSE is not just a desktop its a server as well. Comparing to Mint etc is not really fair.

    • "I recommend installing from the full 4GB DVD rather than the live DVD."

      Well – that was probably my mistake two weeks ago. I should have installed that bigger image but after couple of days of fight and piss off feelings things started to work.

      I recommend too all the others to use that 4GB DVD for install.

  13. YES, BTW am either NON-Technical or Technically-Challenged and a Gnome user ๐Ÿ˜‰

    2007 after another MS W disaster, decided try Linux, obtained four different versions on disk (somewhere written down which they were).

    Despite my lack of knowledge of Linux, three managed to install and work to where could look at their desktops, two could not figure out what needed do to convince them to connect to internet and their version's update site.

    OpenSUSE started and updated with NO issues, and what urgently needed do each day was doing immediately just by selecting the (Gnome) button things ๐Ÿ™‚

    Things I also liked to do, managed learn using openSUSE help documents and forums.

    Despite knowing 000 about Linux, OpenSUSE started, updated and had me working with NO issues ๐Ÿ™‚

    Since then – whilst remain NON-Technical or Technically-Challenged, with and support and Forums managed to enjoy learning more about Linux ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. I have 6 distros in my machine (with kde,cinnamon,xfce,unity). Opensuse 12.2 is one of them and it's great, good install and resources, i installed flash by yast i remember, and was very easy. But when decided to remove and put a new libroffice using their manager was a disaster, although it said it was all right it wouldn't never open the newer version. Command line could not help either. From my experience i would recommend opensuse as the 1st distro if you want KDE, but still recommend ubuntu before all distros and in 2nd place i would recommend mint.

  15. I used Suse in the early days of suse 6.0 and it really sucked – think of yast/yast2. Ubuntu has the much better package-manager and if you go with xubuntu, you really get a lean and fast ubuntu without the gnome/kde/unity stuff.


    • "sucked – think of yast"
      Are you kidding me?
      YaST is WAY faster than apt.
      Also, it's not only a package manager.
      It's the one and only system configuration tool.

  16. When I committed myself to leaving windows behind I started on ubuntu around 7.04-7.10 and stuck with it until about 11.10 then out of curiosity one day I decided to try something new and played around with other distros then came across openSuse and stuck with it. I just like it ๐Ÿ˜€

  17. Hi.

    Packages as flash-player are in the NON-OSS repo; Live-USBs don't include him, but DVD do it. So DVD default installation must include flash and maybe mp3 support with gstreamer-fluendo-mp3.

    You only need libdvdcss as usual (from opensuse-community repo) and maybe pacman multimedia libs to encode mp3 and other formats (i.e, to create a mp3 disk from a standar audio-CD)

  18. I love that we all argue for our favorite distributions. It shows one thing. Not that anyone's favorite is the best, but that with all the different flavors, you're bound to find one that fits you. For me, that is openSUSE. It has had its ups and downs (I've used since 10.x), but it has always been the best fit for me. I've tried Ubuntu, didn't feel right (not a Gnome or Unity fan). Tried Mint and enjoyed that for the most part (and even recommend it to some new users), but its issues with SAMBA (for me at least) and connecting to my file server were turn offs. I have 12.3 installed now and it looks sharp and takes all that I am used to in openSUSE and moves it 1 or 2 steps ahead. It is the smoothest, cleanest most polished version of openSUSE I have used.

    That being said, I doubt I have said anything that would make a devout user of another distribution suddenly change distros. Have fun with linux. Haven't found a distro you like yet, keep looking. You're bound to find one some day.

  19. DWW's rankings are based on the average number of daily hits the distro's page has had over the last 6 months. They are not based on downloads. They measure interest in a distro, typically among the distro-hoppers (like myself) who make up the largest part of DW's readership. Mageia is where it is because people are interested in it, and curious about it. I know I am. I'll probably install Mageia 3 when it's released.

    I've used openSUSE before (with LXDE), and it's pretty good. But I find that for my purposes, Mint 13 KDE for my lappy and PCLOS for my desktop work really well. I like apt better than yum or zypp. I do have Madbox 12.04, #! 11, and Stella 6.4 on the desktop as well, but it's usually not worth the bother of booting into either of them. If I was making a recommendation to a linux virgin, it'd probably be Mint 13 KDE, so they wouldn't automatically wind up on the reinstall treadmill. But certainly openSUSE would be a worthwhile alternative. And after I've tried Mageia 3, it's possible that I could recommend it as well.

  20. I have used openSUSE since 11.3 with KDE. 12.3 brought the new suse kde theme and much lower memory footprint for me.
    When I first tried linux, I did with Kubuntu, but that hasn't satisfied me (It happened sometimes that after an update there was no X, never have I seen such in suse). Then I started to look for a new distrobution and finally I installed suse because of it's cute logo :), I'm using it since then.
    A few weeks ago I installed Ubuntu in virtual box (with unity), it was rather slow compared to suse 12.3 running in VB on my father's much slower laptop. Unity was simply unusable in this environment, while KDE runned well. Apt was many times slower then zypper, and what realy made me angry was that ubuntu doens't ship vim by default (even OS X does).

  21. Linux Lite rocks BTW (Ubuntu lte based) I meanwhile use suse studios to create distros and wonder when we will see a similar option become available for the other Linux versions out there that would be of equal quality with a bit of user based tweaking prior to install. 2 things stand between most of the Linux and complete user satisfaction. Software compatibility and cross operating system compatibility.
    Maybe Suse can bridge that gap and bring every version of Linux into the lab and help create compatibility tools. At first we might get 100000 more distros but eventually we would see the patterns emerge that brought the best of every Linux to the same table.

  22. For the updates, openSUSE uses differential update (downloading only the changed part of the package, not the whole package) so even if it says 1 GiB of updates, it will not download more than 200 MiBs of updates.

  23. I'm an idiot and I'm not human, so arch and ubuntu is not for me. LFS is the right thing for me, and a couple of idiot proff base distro, PCLinuxOS Full Monty, OpenSuse Edu-life and last but not least Kwheezy. All of them ship with KDE desktop. Why force my family to learn how to install propietary codecs while they do the same thing in Windows?

  24. Brand New to Linux. Microsoft user so far (hate them). Wanted to switch to Linux for years and finally did it. Installed Ubuntu on one computer and OpenSuse on another (same Computer, I have two). OpenSuse looked cool and worked fairly simply from the start. Learning curve, but not bad. Frankly had install/functional issues with Ubuntu, tried Kubuntu, Lubuntu and then Mint. Never got any of them to install/work properly. Very frustrating. Still using OpenSuse. Love it. Just my experience.

    • Thanks Don, good insight. It is all about the individual's mindset. What one person finds intuitive another will find cackhanded and awkward. This is partly why I review all the distros. Each one offers something different that somebody might find useful.

  25. Switched from Ubuntu to OpenSuse 13.1. What a relief! I'm a novice with Linux, using it for almost 2 years now. All I can say: Stable! Stable! Stable! That's all that matters to me. Not the interface. Glad I made the switch.

  26. Interesting discussion here …
    First, I am not an expert – even though my Family and friends would call me that.

    My first experience with Linux was back in the year 2004, when my Windows XP Pro Machine "jammed"
    due to malware. I installed Mandrake via MS Virtual PC and then after being fed up with Windows
    installed it directly to the HD (Linux only, no more Windows).

    I Distro-Hopped to SuSe, Red Hat 9 (yes last one before the CentOS times) and finally I came to
    Ubuntu 7.04. I have allways liked SuSe (with KDE as default) most, because I liked to configure
    my Desktop to MY needs. Everything was so professional, centralised in YAST2.
    But my family and friends never got warm with this "Linux thing". So I started looking for a Distro
    which was more Neewbie friendly: Ubuntu was the answer. I have almost 10 Ubuntu based Desktops out there,
    none of them ever had a problem. I allways did, because I was "tweaking" things and never got warm
    with this simplicity. I like it complex, configurable. And then Cannocial roled out this miserable thing
    called Unity! Now, with Ubuntu 13.X I decided to change the Distro. First thing that came up in my mind:
    "SuSe was great, back in the old days … let's give it a try and see how it is nowadays."
    After a couple of days playing around with it, I was a bit dissapointed with its performance. Launching
    a webbrowser took nearly 30 seconds on my HP Elitebook 8440p with a SSD HD!
    NEXT! Tried Fedora, nice but reminded me of a Red Hat flavoured Ubuntu (don't comment on that, just my opinion).
    So I went enterprise (don't know why I though it would be more "mature" with CentOS (Live USB Drive for testing only).
    Did not convince me. I was going to test some more Distros, but to be honest Ubuntu has the best "Out of the box"
    feeling. My hardware was support best on Ubuntu. But I cannot stand it anymore for several reasons.

    My conclusion:
    There is no perfect OS, Distro or even Desktop Environment. They all have their pros and cons.
    This even counts for Windows (except Vista and 8 ;). When someone comes to me and asks me if I could
    install and configure their (new) computer, the first thing I ask what Hardware it is and then what
    the persone want to do with it. Is he/she a gamer or just a "normal Desktop user" (as in "I only need it
    for brwosing and email stuff …". Does the person need any specific software which only runs under
    certain OS'? This then gives me the answer. For most cases I have dealt with Linux is the answer.
    It is allways up to the user and the machine, how much you can accept him/her to deal with.

    So if you narrow it down, this discussion (even though I love reading and helped me a bit in my decision) is useless!

    Take care of your machines boys and girls! And keep it a discusion and not a flameware! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Regards from Germany (the homeland of SuSe)
    Jimmy the ginger german guy

    • Then please point me to a Linux "distribution" that will play my music using the SB Audigy card (even the on-board sound chip) and also print/scan using my excellent Canon MG6150 printer. Until Linux matures to the point of user friendly install is will never really be a MS competitor. Perhaps printer and other peripheral apparatus makers should be encouraged to make Linux compatible. If email and browsing, even Skype, is all we need Linux is fine. I have spent a week trying to get first, 64 bit mint, now 32 bit mint, to run my sound and my printer. I have tried it on two computers and
      it is impossible so far. It is a pity, so near yet so far……and I am one of thousands.

    • You have got a good Point there. Linux has not reached the Desktop like Mac OSX for instance. But taking your Problem I can only say I never had Problems with my HP Printers (all sorts, Ink and Laser Printers). The reason for that is probably that HP spends some Dollars for development for *nix based OS' (hence they have their own Version of *nix, I think it is HP UNIX or something like that).
      As for Canon I never could get any device working (on no Distro at all) except for one device my brother has.
      But you do get These Kind of Problems with other OS' as well, talk about Vista (I know it is crap bla bla bla, just trying to make a Point here). Some manufactures only Support 32 bit (probably not nowadays anymore) others dropped Support for "Legacy OS'" as WinXP is now.
      The same Counts for your Sound Card. I had PCI Cards running fine under *nix but not on certain Versions of Windows. How is that possible?! Because the manufacture decided not to Support the OS.

      Talking about "user friendliness": I remember a time where you had to compile your Software in order to get it running. This whole "apt-get install" or "zypper in" stuff is a dream! It is more or less a bunch of commands or if you prefer a couple of clicks and you are done. All dependencies are being checked automatically! If my brother and my aunt, both people who know nothing about computers, manage to get along with their Ubuntu machines, then Linux has reached โ€žuser friendlinessโ€œ. It all depends on what you are trying to do with your machine and how you approach that task.

      If you compare two things, you should always make sure it is a fair comparison. From the way you wrote that comment, I get the idea that you are being frustrated because you could not get the things going. I know how that feels, especially if you search for similar Problems and everyone except you can manage to solve the Problem. There is always a tiny difference to the Problems others are having, making their solution unusable for yourself – or maybe that is just me! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      The big questions to your Problems are:
      -What experience with computers do you have?
      -What experience with Linux do you have?
      -What experience with the command line do you have?
      -What Distro did you try (eg. Ubuntu 12.04 64 bit)
      -What drivers did you use and where did you get them from (official Repos or manufactor Website)?
      -Is the Hardware faulty (if it works on Windows then it is obviously fine)?

      But you should try a different forum for this. This was just a general statement. Hope you can get it up and running the way you want it!

      Regards from Germany (the homeland of SuSe)
      Jimmy the ginger german guy

  27. I am a newbie (less than 6 months) and I can tell you that Opensuse 13.1 is a good distro, as a desktop is good and is one of the few distros out there that you can configure as a server with GUI for those that are a bit skittish of the CLI environment. I like that feature. However, if you need to install the propriatary driver for a video card (like AMD) good luck. I understand that it can be done, but it requires you to really know your Linux commands. For the average user, it is a problem if they need that specific feature. Most users out there, just want to download, click and install and they expect it to work. Mint and Ubuntu have the adventage here. A couple of clicks and a reboot and you have your AMD driver installed and you can easily teak it. This is good if you need to use the distro for an HTPC. I would not hesitate to use Opensuse as a double duty desktop/home server box. Tony.

  28. It ia long time since I bought my first copy of Suse Linux in a Cereal packet sized box with at least one thickish book & at least 8 CD's. On this one I could never get USB to work.
    Recently I had to move residence, as the place where I was living was scheduled for redevelopment. My main User computer developed hard drive partitioning error & I opted for the apparently easy solution of buying a Laptop, which had Windows 8 on it.
    My opinion of Windows 8 is YUk/ugh.
    After trying "Free Upgrade to Windows 8,1 which did not complete & ended in an endless cycle of attempted update, which fails & restores Windows 8: Somehow i trashed to installed Windows system.
    I installed from Linux Mint from a Linux Format disk & used that to download Open Suse 13.1.
    having some experience of Hard drive partitioning I did not find the installers partitioning difficult,but later learnt that it is a good idear to have a separate home partitioni, as otherwise you get "Disk fiull warning" even though there is lots of free space on partition
    Now after many reinstalls I've ended up with Open Suse 13.1 + Ubunttu + Linux Mint + a separate partition for backup & transfer of information between systems.Why so many systems?; so I could try the new Ubuntu gnome3 desktop/Unity Desktop + the cinnamon Desktop (on Ubuntu)& the Mint Mate Desktop (on Mint).
    This ACER Aspire V3-571 has a very good technical spec on paper, but not a very clear manual, in that the manual doesn't reall explain what the system backup is doing, and that it is a very good idea to order/buy an OEM restore disk immediately after purchase
    Personally I find that the Ubuntu partitioing is moderately good and Linux Mint offers very few realistic options if you have space on your hard drive & want to install alongside existing systems, so you have to resort to manual partitioning.
    I find it much easier to use Open Suse to mount the home partition of a different Linux os soas to transfer say a Firefox profile.
    one of the big/big gripes I have is that today developers think it necessary to automate email settings & Thunderbird use Mozilla ISP base, which enters incorrect settings for Virgin Media email addresses. Outlook express in Windows XP allowed you to save each email accounts settings as a file. & Widows live email will easily access an MSN/Hotmail account & is fairly easty to use. Another gripe is that in googling for how to login as root in Ubuntu/mint I come up with a lot of forums full of knowitalls who will restate the reasons for Ubuntu not allowing root login. However I do want to be able to switch to a terminal/console by {Control+Alt+F1etc]: login as root & issue reboot by {shutdown -r now} to reboot the system
    One point to be very very careful about is to select exactly the correct keyboard layout, else you will likely have problems with passwords containing semi-colons or other such symbols. My current favorite Keyboard is a Logitech K750. Fortunately there is a program called "Solaar" ,which can be used to ensure the Logitech unifying device is correctly configured. & that the Fn switch is off. I am disabled, in a wheelchair & I find it relatively convenient to use the Keyboard on my legs & the wireless mouse on the arm of the wheelchair.

    • Thanks for posting this comment William, I am one of those people who like the Unity desktop and the installer is still for me the easiest to follow.

      openSUSE is a good distro and I am looking to reviewing the latest version in the coming weeks.

      The thing I like about Mint is the fact that they keep the same style across all their desktop versions so it doesn't matter whether you are using Cinnamon, MATE or XFCE you get a very similar experience.

    • When I started using linux a few years ago I worked with fedora, PCLinux, ubuntu and opensuse. In the end I have stuck with opensuse since it is very stable for use as a work machine, and now plan on getting 3-4 years per version – this allows me to use is as a very stable work system for a number of servers I run that are also used by students. Compared to fedora, it is easier to have the multi-media stuff work (VLC for example works well – amarok I have not used regularly for a few years since I have found it buggy and difficult to use). Currently I deal with mac OS, windows, opensusu and scientific linux, and find opensuse the easiest and most efficient of the bunch. The recent fiasco with mavericks on mac os may lead me to put opensuse suse on my mac air…. (opensuse works on a mac air, though not terribly well – maybe next version of opensuse).

  29. I started with SuSE 7.3 and used that to learn to use mail servers. web servers, etc. That was all good and I heard about XWindows about then. And to be frank, KDE sucked, Linux had no prayer of playing nice with laptops and as a desktop it sucked badly too.

    But as a server it was awesome. Today I am a Web Engineer, working with backend Linux, Unix, and Solaris systems.

    When I bought my new laptop about 2 months ago, it came with Windows 8. I got FUMED when I saw how that worked, and found it to be worthless if you don't have a touch screen. So, I decided to give Linux a shot. Downloaded SuSE 13.1 live CD. I could not believe when my touchpad, my keyboard, my screen, my wireless worked OUT OF THE BOX.

    And then I found out about Pipelight, so I can view Amazon and Netflix videos on it. And then saw just how far wine has come too. Well, my Windows 8 duel boot is no more. It only boots into SuSE or Linux Mint.

    The fact is that you no longer need a CS or IT degree to use any of these distros as a desktop. Even my brother-in-law the mechanic uses this and has no issues. It used to be for on the computer pros to have a free OS. Now it is for all.

    Nice job Linux community.

Leave a Reply