Mailinglist Archive: opensuse-factory (710 mails)

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Re: [opensuse-factory] openSUSE vs Ubuntu for Enterprise Scientific Computing Environment

Hi dipe,

I have been using opensuse in a scientific environment for years now... around
7... and all this time I had to interact with other distros too, mainly
ubuntu... usually to help my friends who despite having 0 knowledge of
operating systems decided to put ubuntu on their laptops...

for example few years ago was a nightmare to install intel compilers on
ubuntu... As a person used with opensuse admin I find ubuntu difficult at
times to admin. For example the strange logic to put their libraries that
makes compiling scientific packages sometimes a challenge.

i do not know where do you have the idea with better wifi encryption support
for ubuntu? they use networkmanager, so for both is the same...
I use on mine wpa enterprise2 (eduroam) and I have no issue...

distribution update in opensuse nowadays is a no-brainer, helped many people
to do it over the irc... just yesterday I had to save one colleague who
decided to update his ubuntu from 10 something to 11.04... we ended up re-

on opensuse you can add as extra you can create your
organisation branded and preset opensuse to make deployment easier...

number of packages does not mean quality... and in the scientific field is
totally true... plus if you are interested in performance you have to compile
on the specific hardware and packaged apps may be of no use...

when I used to work in a supercomputer centre, the fact that they used suse on
the machine made my life much easier in migrating from my workstation...

last point I want to made is that is always better to stick with the distro
with which you have the best experience..

good luck


On Sat 04 Jun 2011 06:51:12 Di Pe wrote:
This may be slightly off-topic for this forum, but I wanted to hear
what the Suse experts have to say.

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)
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)

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)

Advantage Ubuntu

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

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

* 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)

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

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

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

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

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.
Without Questions there are no Answers!
Alin Marin ELENA
Advanced Molecular Simulation Research Laboratory
School of Physics, University College Dublin
Ardionsamblú Móilíneach Saotharlann Taighde
Scoil na Fisice, An Coláiste Ollscoile, Baile Átha Cliath

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