Sunday, February 7, 2016

Why I use openSUSE over other distributions.

The below is a response to a Facebook query on why we use openSUSE over Ubuntu. I was happy with how it turned out and thought it could prove helpful to a larger audience.

There are a great number of reasons why we use openSUSE. Ultimately, what one prefers boils down to personal taste. I'll tell you why I use openSUSE.

1) YaST:

YaST is our system administration tool. It can be used both in graphical environment and on the command line. YaST has modules for managing an enormous number of things, such as /etc/sysconfig configuration files and systemd processes to boot loader configuration and repository management. YaST provides comfortable, safe tools for working with important parts of the system that would otherwise be difficult, confusing, and potentially dangerous.

2) zypper:

Our package manager is called zypper. It has the most advanced dependency resolution available of any package manager whether it be Linux or another operating system. What this means is that it is trivial for us to perform complex installations and configurations that would be difficult or impossible elsewhere. In my experience with Ubuntu, I've had several instances where apt resolved a problem by removing X entirely, which broke the GUI system and was difficult to repair. In openSUSE, zypper prevents this sort of thing from happening.

3) Desktops; 

On openSUSE all Desktop Environments (such as Gnome, KDE, etc.) are treated equally, and can coexist on the same installation. Installing a new desktop environment is no more complex than installing any other package. Once they are installed, they can be selected from a dropdown on the login screen. Other distributions typically rely on 'spins' for delivering alternative desktop environments, such as Ubuntu Gnome. Part of why we can do this is that zypper has superior logic, and can handle this complexity better than other package managers.


The openSUSE community is famed for its responsive and competent forums. Rarely is a user left without a solution for more than a day. Competent professionals and developers answer user questions in the relevant forums. Our community is friendly and helpful.

5)KDE and Gnome; 

openSUSE is famed for having one of the most stable and well integrated KDE environments of any distribution. Less well known is our incredibly well done Gnome implementation as well, which is what I prefer and am always happy with the job our team does.

6) OBS; 

Our Open Build Service gives users and developers a common place to build and share their software with the entire community. OBS works in concert with our online portal to allow easy Direct Install (formerly One-Click) of any software built on OBS. Direct Install will automate the adding of repositories, resolution of dependencies, and installation of the software. This makes otherwise complex or time consuming tasks swift and trivial. It also allows for an ever expanding library of software, and the distribution of complex packaged solutions in the form of YaST meta-packages.

In conclusion, though Ubuntu claims to be the most user-friendly, I find that claim to be unjustified. I've always found it to be more prone to breakage. And once there is a problem, it is much harder to fix than it would be in openSUSE since we have YaST and don't often need to rely on the command line or manually editing text configuration files.