Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-factory (710 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-factory] openSUSE vs Ubuntu for Enterprise Scientific Computing Environment
On 04/06/11 14:51, Di Pe wrote:
This may be slightly off-topic for this forum, but I wanted to hear
what the Suse experts have to say.

It's actually quite off-topic for this mailinglist, which is focused on the development of the next version of openSUSE. Probably any further comments should be on the main mailinglist at opensuse@xxxxxxxxxxxx (cc'ed)

We are are a research non-profit with about 2500 staff (300-400 part
time Unix users and 100 hardcore Linux users) and about 500 openSUSE
and some SLES and CentOS boxes ( 50 Desktops, 100 servers and a
compute cluster with 350 boxes) Our goal has always been to create a
unified environment which enables researchers to use their NFS mounted
home directory from everywhere and most of our systems are at openSUSE
11.2 or 11.3.

In general we really like Suse and have only 3 gripes:
SLES is too different from openSUSE (only small number of packages)

In general, openSUSE packages can be used on SLES. If not directly compatible they can at least be rebuilt on the OBS.

KDE support for encrypted wifi is insufficient (Gnome is only slighly better)

package names change too frequently (but I don't know that any other
Linux distro is doing a better job here)

I wanted to add that the infrastructure IT people i our organization
moved to CentOS after they found the package manager to be unworkable
in 10.1. (We found it pretty hard to swallow, too ....but we kept
going with Suse)

The package management is a whole lot better now, I promise ... to me zypper is pretty awesome these days

We are now starting to re-design our HPC cluster and one of the
questions that came up is which Linux distro we should use in the
future. We also need to upgrade our desktop Linux desktops so this
seems to be a good time to take a deep breath and re-think what we are

We only considered openSUSE, Ubuntu, Fedora and CentOS. We quickly
ditched CentOS for being always being too outdated and Fedora for
being too bleeding edge. This leaves us with Ubuntu and openSUSE.

after a few days of research our group came up with this list and we
are still working on it. Please correct

Advantage openSUSE

* YaST administration tool centralizes and simplifies configuration
and administration.

* As a team, we have much more experience supporting openSUSE. We have
deployment tools, software repositories, and rescue tools for openSUSE
and have experience building rpm packages (e.g. using the openSUSE
build service)

* Would have no migration costs to different Linux OS (~$50k - $100k
for migration of 100+ Linux Systems to Ubuntu)

* 8-month release cycle indicates openSUSE focuses more on stability

* Single edition of openSUSE supports both servers and desktops, KDE
and Gnome. (KDE in openSUSE is better supported than kubuntu)

* openSUSE is a Tier 1 distribution that can get bugfixes faster
upstream to the kernel developers (Ubuntu reports bugs to Debian which
reports them to the Linux kernel developers)

Not only this: In many cases, the upstream *is* openSUSE ... Greg K-H (stable kernel maintainer) is on this list for example.

Advantage Ubuntu

* About 3x more binary packages are available for Ubuntu, including
scientific applications.

Have you seen the OBS ( / search via
If you have packages you want missing from openSUSE, you can very easily package and deploy them yourself, or just ask for help from the hundreds of buildservice packagers. Even if they're not in the official distro, it's exceedingly easy to add packages to openSUSE via the Build Service.

* Ubuntu is hardware-certified for more Laptops we use. (Gnome and
Unity have better support for ‘encrypted wifi’)

Hardware certification, can't help with much. But I'd be very surprised if Ubuntu really has better wifi support, it's the same Gnome/KDE in openSUSE as well ... in fact the SUSE guys are the ones who wrote a lot of that stuff.

* Enterprise "Long Term Support" (LTS) version is actually the
standard disto with longer support cycles and is free (gets
maintenance updates for 3 years on the desktop version and 5 years on
the server version / Suse SLES subscription $350/year)

openSUSE Evergreen is an attempt to do an LTS version of openSUSE

* 6-month release cycle indicates that Ubuntu focuses more on keeping
software up-to-date.

If you need up-to-date versions of software, it will be on the Build Service, regardless of release timing. Or if your brave you can try out the rolling-release version, Tumbleweed.

* Ubuntu has a larger user community worldwide which is able to
produce more documentation

Perhaps. But I would say openSUSE has a higher concentration of actual developers with much more in depth knowledge ...

* better supported in cloud environments (EC2 AMIs, etc)

Not true at all - have you seen SUSE Studio? You can customise your own distro images and deploy them (EC2, various VM's, actual installable iso's, etc) ... it's exceedingly cool, and unique to openSUSE as far as I know.

* better supported with configuration management tools like puppet or chef.

As far as I know puppet works on openSUSE as well, but I have no experience with it to confirm for sure.

Obviously some of the advantages are highly tailored to our
organization. I would be interested to hear what other advantages we
might find regarding openSUSE. For example, is there interest in more
active support of high performance computing technology in the future
(nfs/rdma, HPC distro using OSS schedulers etc)

Thanks much for your input.

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