Mailinglist Archive: opensuse (1355 mails)

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Re: [opensuse] Philosophical question?
On 14/06/18 15:29, Stevens wrote:
I mean, what is its main claim to fame? The answer to that has changed
over the years but I wonder what it is now. Maybe someone here can make
a compelling case for the use of opensuse instead of any other linux
distro. If so, I would like to see it. What use case would cause
opensuse to be selected? I suppose in order to answer that, one must be
fluent in the various linux dialects.

I am relatively fluent in various Linux dialects, so I guess I could
have a try.

I have just returned to using *SUSE after some years away. I started
with Lasermoon Linux-FT in 1996, experimented with Red Hat Linux on
servers in 1997-1998, first switched to it as my main desktop briefly
with Caldera OpenLinux in 1999, and for longer with SUSE Linux
Professional in about 2002. I switched to Ubuntu with 4.10 in 2004 and
still use it on my home laptop, for now.

I also regularly evaluate other distros, including Fedora, Mint,
Elementary, Bodhi, Arch, Debian, Devuan, TrueOS, and others.

Back in the 1990s it was quite common for distros to have some kind of
global configuration tool. RHL had LinuxConf, Caldera had LISA; in the
Debian world, Libranet had Adminmenu.

And of course SUSE had YAST.

Now, SUSE is the only distro that has one. YAST has been maintained and
updated and remains an invaluable tool.

Ubuntu used to be a simple, clean, fairly lightweight distro. It is not
lightweight any more, nor is it quite as simple. It also had a decent
clean GNOME 2 desktop, which after MS' legal threats, it replaced with
Unity, which quickly became my personal favourite Linux desktop. Now,
it's switching to GNOME 3, which I don't personally like at all.

So now, all the leading distros -- Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS/RHEL, Debian
-- run GNOME 3 by default.

OpenSUSE offers KDE by default, although all the major desktop offerings
are there if you wish. I personally don't like KDE either but at least
it's something different from the RH/Ubuntu/Mint side of the fence,
which all offer KDE as a sort of afterthought.

The only other distros to lead with KDE are tiny niche players, such as
the fragments of Mandriva: OpenMandriva, Mageia, Rosa Linux, and PC

(I personally, not as an employee, would love to see SUSE hire the
people behind the surviving Mandriva spinoffs, bring it in-house as the
official successor, and stop defaulting to GNOME on the enterprise
flavour. GNOME is a RH-led project, doesn't run well in VMs, is not at
all Windows-like, and offers no room for differentiation. But I can't
see it happening, sadly.)

Mint is growing in popularity, because unlike Fedora/Debian/Ubuntu, it
defaults to simple, Windows-like desktops. That is a potential win for
openSUSE + KDE, but it needs to be a simpler, no-questions-asked,
click-here-for-all-the-proprietary-bits installer. Mint's unique selling
point is a simple,
minimal-number-of-clicks-to-a-complete-working-Windows-lookalike desktop.

Fedora has no stable versions. Every version is a short-term release.
Leap wins there.

Debian "Sid" and Fedora "Rawhide" are rolling releases and largely
untested. Arch and Gentoo are for skilled expert users only. Tumbleweed
wins over all of them there.

But the "marketing" messages are confused, IMHO.

So, the strengths of openSUSE:

* YAST -- the only Linux with a proper system-wide admin tool.

* A choice of a stable LTS flavour or a tested rolling-release that
doesn't require mad geek skills.

* KDE -- the biggest name which leads with KDE. (But IMHO it's
overcomplex and Cinnamon is a better choice for an easy-to-use,
attractive-looking, Windows-like desktop.)

All just in my personal opinion.

Here, for the record, is what I wrote about the choices a decade ago, in
possibly my most-discussed-ever article. Half the distros I mentioned
then are dead, but for the remainder, my comments still more or less stand.


Liam Proven - Technical Writer, SUSE Linux s.r.o.
Corso II, Křižíkova 148/34, 186-00 Praha 8 - Karlín, Czechia
Email: lproven@xxxxxxxx - Office telephone: +420 284 241 084

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