openSUSE 11 the perfect Ubuntu replacement (openSUSE vs Ubuntu)

19 Jun

Be sure to save our site, since we’re giong to do another Ubuntu vs openSUSE release for 10.04 and openSUSE 11.3.. our findings may surprise you

With the release of openSUSE 11.0 right around the corner, you will see plenty of reviews, how-to’s and other various things about openSUSE, but how does it stack up against other distributions mainly Ubuntu/(K)Ubuntu?

I see openSUSE as being the perfect replacement for the users that have gotten their feet wet in linux with Ubuntu along side with those just looking to get their feet wet.

You may ask why, instead let me give you some comparisons that I think are important for the new user, or someone just looking at openSUSE 11.0 vs Ubuntu 8.04 (or openSUSE vs Ubuntu in general)

Many people talk about the ease of installation with Ubuntu, but what you don’t hear is that “ease” of installation also removes to options of choice during installation. With the Ubuntu family your choice of Desktop Environments means the installation of a whole different distribuntion (ie. Kubuntu) or installing the wanted desktop environment AFTER you installed the default one. This reminds me much of the Windows Installers. A new user may never be exposed to KDE, may not even understand what a desktop environment is. Some may argue that “they don’t need to” but does that mean we should take away their choice of picking what is put on the system originally?

OpenSUSE gives you this choice during the installation, it also gives you the choice to use a seperate Live DVD installer much like the Ubuntu installer, bug again with choices. Not only do you get this choice from a single DVD, but you also get the choice to add / remove programs during the installation which is important to me, since I like to trim down my installation prior to it being installed. With that said, this does not mean the openSUSE 11.0 installer is complicated. Not only is it NOT complicated, but to me it is simpler the Ubuntu, Fedora, Mac OS and Windows installer. Again, not only is it easier, it looks a whole lot better then any other installer with its new QT4 Installer which is shown below.


New User: Ubuntu
User with experience (even minimal): openSUSE

(Note: Because openSUSE has the Choices, but Ubuntu has the precieved ease of installation)

The boot process:
When you start up your boxes you will immediatly see that openSUSE has more attention to detail when it comes to looks. The GRUB and Splash screens look much better. However, the major part of the boot process is the boot time. In openSUSE 10 – 10.2 I would have easily said this was a huge advantage for Ubuntu, but with openSUSE 11.0 the gap has been shrunk. However with the loading of apparmor and some other suse additions, Ubuntu is still just a hair faster (maybe this will change in openSUSE 11.1)
Speed: Ubuntu
Looks: openSUSE

The first thing you see when you turn on your machine is the default theme shipped with your distributions desktop environment. Although Ubuntu has made their default nicer (not the very bland ugly brown) openSUSE is still more vibrant and eye catching. I also believe the openSUSE Menu’s are much better.

Installation of Restricted Formats:
Although openSUSE now has 1-Click Installation, it is not straight forward when you log into your package manager. This is something that Ubuntu has done very well. Ubuntu allows you to open it’s package manager and install the restricted formats package and will install everything that you need for playing your mp3’s, avi’s etc. (Note: openSUSE ships by default WITH MP3 support).

System Management:
For those new to openSUSE you can find almost everything within one convenient location called YaST. YaST is short for Yet another Simple Tool and it is just that, a simple easy way to change your configuration for almost everything with your system. Here is a quick snippit of what YaST looks likes, and the possible options you have.

YaST in KDE 3.5:

openSUSE 11.0 RC Gnome YaST

Ubuntu has some great GUI based configuration tools under the system menu, but with YaST they are compiled in a single location, and some of the YaST modules are much better then their counterparts (ie. SaX for Video Card / Resolution configuration)


Package Management:
Previously Ubuntu beat the hell out of openSUSE in this regard, but with the progression of zypper this gap is closing fast, and Ubuntu may be passed up shortly. Zypper is faster, leaner and smarter then most other package management tools, but I do not yet see YaST Software Manager pulling ahead of the Ubuntu Package Management counterparts “YET”. This may very well change with openSUSE 11.1. Just to note, this is a VERY VERY slim win for Ubuntu, as both are great functionally sound, just some rough edges need to be straightened out within the Software Manager

AppArmor. Enough said. (AppArmor is the openSUSE / Novell version of SELinux). Ubuntu has nothing on top of the Linux OS for further security.
openSUSE (Long shot)

They are both Linux OS’s, they are both sound mature products, they are both extremly stable. You can’t knock either in this category.

The community:
Ubuntu currently has the biggest following of users and has the best structured “free support” using forums and wiki. However many distributions including openSUSE have seen this format and are fixing their way of doing things. openSUSE has recently launched, and they have a pretty comprehensive wiki and a very informational mailing list. I think it may be a while before the SUSE forums gets the content that the Ubuntu one has, but it’ll be a great day when it does.

Ubuntu and openSUSE are both very mature and solid Desktop Operating systems. However, I give the overall advantage to openSUSE because it’s continued attention to detail and rapid development. I believe the ONLY shortfall that openSUSE has against Ubuntu is the very small gap in the Package Management spot. Once this void is closed, the rest will follow feat. OpenSUSE is more polished, more refined and gives you the choices you deserve during installation.

Now you should head over to and download your copy of openSUSE 11.0. Install it and enjoy the openSUSE Bliss.

You can also check out some of my previous blogs that will help you learn not only how openSUSE works, but how you can make it work better and keep it updated. Here are some related blogs I would recommend:

Things to do after installing openSUSE 11.0
Useful openSUSE 11.0 repositories for the best SUSE experience


I am ben kevan.. Well yeah. .that's about it.

85 thoughts on “openSUSE 11 the perfect Ubuntu replacement (openSUSE vs Ubuntu)

  1. Another brilliant article. But for me Ubuntu is just another distro for entry users, while OpenSUSE gives the real spirit of linux. I had nothing against Ubuntu since this distro offers a wide range of support from community to gurus and updates as well. But for me Ubuntu is lacking of something that I found on OpenSUSE(11.1). You better to try it by your self to see the difference.

  2. @kalista

    little knowledge is dangerous man…………. have u ever tried vlc, MPlayer on linux. Let me tell u, u r acting like a asshole……

  3. I just finished trying to make my home with the new SuSe 11.1 – and I have to say it’s a real pig after using Ubuntu. Sure it has lots of menu’s, but then – who needs menu’s?

    KDE DOES GO SLOW, and the boot time is slow. Ubuntu 9.04, if you install with ext4, boots almost silently to desktop in about 25 seconds – SuSe 11.1 freshly installed took almost double that – probably because of the graphics and splash screens. I’d rather have a faster boot.

    YAST2 totally dominates your system. When I tried to get my nVidia driver, my internet cut during a storm – you’re not allowed to log out (Yast2 says NO!) so you either power off – or click like crazy. ABORT, ‘yast2 curl can’t access the domain, quit?’ You have to do this for every single item on your list… but the option to abort or skip doesn’t come up for at least half a minute, your system is frozen.

    With synaptic, and apt-get – Ubuntu is so easy for getting software and customising. The next thing I added with YAST was a one-click solution – took me an hour before I could make it work – and when Gwibber was installed, SuSe told me happily that I couldn’t run it on a KDE desktop.

    With Ubuntu, if I install Gnome OR KDE applications, it gets all of the libraries (For Amarok, I think the bigger part of the downloads are the KDE libraries that don’t come with a Gnome desktop – but with SuSe it doesn’t bother, just says it won’t work!!)

    After installing nVidia, it said ‘edit your Xorg file and reboot’
    It did NOT tell me the location of the file, or what to edit!!!

    Ubuntu sometimes tells you to do something in terminal, and it’s so easy ‘edit your etc/bash.rc file’ and it also tells you exactly what to edit.

    It takes an hour to download and install 30 themes from gnome-desktop sites, and after doing that, your desktop looks better than ANY freshly installed distro.

    Compiz runs more smoothly on Ubuntu than any distro I tried also.

    No competition, apt-get has super powers.

    cowsay moo

    (If you have Ubuntu, stick that in your terminal 😛 if you don’t have cowsay, it will tell you what to do.. just try it!)

    \ ^__^
    \ (oo)\_______
    (__)\ )\/\
    ||—-w |
    || ||

    Not sure it will look right after posting, the font will be changed… but you can cut and paste it into terminal to get the right effect. Sooo cool!

  4. I have always liked both distros but you really need to look at what you are going to do. As for me I am a .Net developer and with the advent of Mono I found openSuse to be much better.

  5. @E@zyVG

    Wow, but Yast is what stopped me. After installing from CD, SuSe proved it’s security by asking me for a login and password before I’d set up any account!

    Once I sorted that out, I fired up Yast and spent the next hour trying to click exit exit no no – it’s impossible to get out!!! Yast just takes over your system.

    I worked at it for a week, then went back to Ubuntu. Sorry to disappoint.

    “The problem with most people is that they have a perception of Microsoft as being an unforgiving dictator. They don’t realize that it is one of the most successful companies that has never seen losses in all the years that it has existed, except probably until recently” – incredible statement. Do you have any idea how Microsoft works? Why do you think Dell even print ‘Recommends Windows XP’ on the website for their Linux Netbook sales? Do you think it’s through choice?

    Microsoft are the Mafia. Do we put up with Mafia because we choose their service over the competition?

  6. Definitely appreciate your .RPM downloads for Google Chrome.
    I have to agree with your comparison of openSUSE and Ubuntu, but have to tell you that I worked with both (after being exasperated with Microsoft – XP gave me heartburn, but Vista was about to give me a heart attack. So no more Service Packs, anc definitely no Windows – except for the copy loaded on a VirtualBox, the only place it’s safe and sound), and after several installation glitches, fights with package managers, and updates that clobbered settings, I tried Fedora.
    Now, Fedora isn’t perfect, nor is it Unbreakable, but it was far easier to install the latest release of Fedora, and live with the new package manager, than to cope with my latter OSs.
    Now that you have compared the best of Debian with, seemingly your favourite, .RPM system (BTW: I used to really like working with Novell solutions – they really understood networking, but when are they going to offer a real solution for collaboration – I am still waiting to see a Kablink that most of us want to implement and use on our Open Systems machines), I would like to see what you find in a campison of openSUSE and Fedora.

  7. Interesting article, I mostly agree. Actually I did use Ubuntu for some time, since 5.10. Before that I was using Gentoo and before that SuSE. But now I’m completely fed up with Ubuntu. The updating processing is extremely crappy. Some years ago I upgraded my 5.10 to 6.06. This was a bit messy but ok, it worked. I had for a long time an excellent working Ubuntu LTS. But later I needed more current software and I upgraded. That rendered my system nearly unusable.

    I was able to fix it but that’s not the reason we are using Linux Distributions, right? I want to spend my time with using a nice default system where all of my hardware and software works but not spend hours and maybe even days configuring my desktop system. (Can be fun too of course…)

    Anyway I got a new computer some time later and I installed Ubuntu 8.04. That was no good release. So I upgraded shortly later to 8.10. That worked much better for me. Well, yesterday I upgraded to 9.04 and guess what, sound didn’t work, lot’s of graphic errors appeared, internet was very slow (because there are supporting IPv6 now…), firefox crashed frequently, other X applications freezed or crashed randomly. After being able to fix most issues today I wasn’t able to recover the sound. (I booted and there was no sound…) That made me switch to OpenSuSE 11.1.

    I installed it via the Live CD. Thanks to LVM that was no big deal. But I can’t really recommend it to Linux-Newbies. Took me some time to make the DSL work and the pre-installation YaST-interface had some bugs. And the boot manager – and partition configuration in general – is kind of confusion although it most options you can think of.

    But what I like most of the new system… The desktop is *much* faster and more reactive! Really nice. 🙂

  8. I read this article. At first, I thought wow, openSUSE must really kick ass if it’s that much better than Ubuntu. Then I noticed that this article dates from June 2008! Do you think the information here may be just a little outdated? I don’t think Ubuntu has been sleeping since this article was written up. On the contrary. This article wouldn’t be a big deal if openSUSE Fans weren’t still passing this around like it was written last week.

    I’m sure that earlier builds of Ubuntu left much to be desired. Things change. I only started using Ubuntu at 9.04 and now use 9.10. Unlike Microsoft, Ubuntu is very responsive and proactive in keeping Ubuntu evolving and improving. Many of the features mentioned here that are in contrast to one another are not a real issue anymore. For example, as far as I can tell, Ubuntu has since been able to handle both KDE and Gnome as well.

    All I can say is that if Ubuntu sucks that bad, why is Microsoft trying hard to copy it? Win7 looks almost exactly like Ubuntu. In fact: Microsoft is going to release a blatant copy of Ubuntu for its’ Netbook edition of Win7 in the near future if they haven’t already.

    Since both openSUSE and Ubuntu have the LiveCD function, why not try both out. Make sure you have current versions of each. After trying out both again, stick with the one that works best for you and your needs.

  9. I am going to work on new articles for:

    opensuse vs fedora
    opensuse vs ubuntu
    fedora vs ubuntu

    So please stay tuned.. thank you for the visit.

    And on that note.. both openSUSE 11.2 and Ubuntu 9.10 have gotten better since my previous writings..

  10. i had installled ubuntu ultimate 2.2 on my system with duall boot with xp ( iam silent lover of linux) but ubuntu fucks with sound since i installed in seperate partition immediately i formated is there will be simlar issuees in open suse???? becoz i dont want to again format my partition…

  11. @ben.kevan

    That would be outstanding Ben, articles comparing recent opensuse vs F12?, u9.10, u9.10 vs F12, etc.

    I have to agree with the comments regarding nothing is static. I’ve bounced between Fedora and Ubuntu over the years. In fact, I went to Ubuntu on the advice of a Linux Kernel developer where I then worked who, upon hearing my horror stories of Fedora care and feeding recommended Ubuntu as it “just worked”. I think Ubuntu still has some work to do with respect to recognizing and utilizing a multi drive raid capable bios. When I installed F-something it saw the two drives and the firmware raid and installed LVM under raid 0 no muss no fuss. When I felt Fedora required too many acts of love, I tried Ubuntu and it didn’t know anything about LVM or firmaware raid and set up my two drives as sda and sdb, rather than a single logical volume tha just happened to span two physical volumes. Ubuntu will now do that but only when installing via the alternate installation media. What happened to “it just works”?

    Evolution, in an Exchange environment largely is brain dead. It would be nice to see someone (Novell or Mozilla) address that. Athough an iPhone seems to handle Exchange well, I am perplexed why a Linux environment can’t. (yes, I know, slightly off topic).

    What I’d like to see is a Linux distro where, whatever is there, works and works flawlessly. Not an environment where only a mother, or Linux software developer, could love it. I think that was my main complaint with Fedora, it was, by design, too bleeding edge.

    On one last note. I upgraded several U8.10 systems to U9.04 no problems. I had nightmares and one minor coronary upgrading 9.04 to 9.10. I upgraded flawlessly on an X86 laptop and X86-64 quad core with 8GB. However, when it failed on the 3rd box, it failed big time. Again, what happened to “it just works”? I do really like U9.10 but it did, unfortunately, require a huge labor of love to get that third system running again.

    I would like to note repeat that experience, with anything.

    It would also be really nice if Firefox got 100% flash, or whatever, compatible with IE. I am not 100% convinced though it is FF, sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. It would seem likely it is FF though.

  12. That was EXTREMELY biased towards openSUSE. I could tell you were trying to make it sound equal, but the whole article was obviously centered around promoting openSUSE over Ubuntu.
    Personally, I use Ubuntu (I’m on Ubuntu right now) and it works great.
    Good article anyhow.
    I chose Ubuntu over SUSE because Ubuntu is light on resources and my computer is very lacking in resources.
    Pentium 4 3.0ghz with hyperthreading
    1gb RAM.
    and piece of shit onboard graphics card.
    And I was originally running Vista 32bit basic. And it SUCKSSS… (and lags. I don’t think my computer meets the min requirements for vista)
    Oh one more thing I forgot to mention. Ubuntu has wubi which is an installer that installs Ubuntu directly in windows like a program. No need to partition or configure your hard drive or anything. And if you don’t want it just go to control panel and uninstall. No messing with partitions.
    So my piece of advice: Ubuntu. It actually is way user friendlier and the easy installation is a lot more than you covered. Just google wubi. (I can be biased too)

  13. Wish you would have left a valid email address so I could actually contact you.. Would you be interested in writing something that’s a little more “Ubuntu” biased?

  14. Correction YaST is not “Yet another Simple Tool” but “Yet another Setup Tool”.

    You miss testing systems for speed when running. Ubuntu wins ahds down. openSUSE is heavy as led (but my dual Xeon quad core is fine).
    Furthermore a lot of the SLES drivers can be used for openSUSE (RAID cards etc.), Ubuntu is left dead in the water (even 10.04)

  15. Comparing 10.04 to the version in this article isn’t a valid test. I will however do a comparison for 10.04 vs 11.3, and 10.04 vs Fedora 13.

    I think the results are going to be interesting, and will possibly make Ubuntu shine (since I’ve tested 11.3 in its current Milestone).

  16. petty squabbling over if this piece of shit is better than that piece of shit , get arch linux


  17. @ Nicholas

    I agree.. I use arch linux myself BUT as I’m sure you know, it’s not the simplest of distributions to get going, and get right for someone that’s new to Linux.

  18. Have to say that openSuse impressed me right away. The level of polish and fit is much higher than Ubuntu.

  19. Hi there! I don’t usually ask this kind of stuff, but I find myself in a situation. All I do is on a laptop, and I already have W7 on it, I don’t wanna lose it bacause I realy need it for now, but I like the idea of switching to linux, for good maybe, one day. I’ve installed ubuntu, different partition etc.., but have some problems with the video drivers, being a notebook stuff, that occured when I’ve made the automatic update of ubuntu from 9.04 I think to the new one. I understand that after an update like that I lose the video drivers and have to install them manually. I want to start from scratch with a new instalation of linux. Anyway, my question is: What will it be better for me? Ubuntu 10.04, or OpenSuse 11.3? or maybe another :S
    PS: I like the ideea of cool silly video effects (3D desktop etc), and the tools provided in the other Ubuntu, the Studio version. I use a lot of multimedia software, audio, video and photo editing, and offcourse I will try to run some windows based games.
    Cheers 🙂

  20. downloaded and burnt ubuntu and kubuntu 10.04 32 and 64 bit. I cannot boot from the cd as the screen goes black probably due to broken nvidia drivers. went to the ubuntu forum they say u have to do this and that.
    i have a ubuntu 8.10 so installed it but cannot connect wired network as the network manager cannot save the subnetmask properly. canonical releases ubuntu on the schedule dates not caring much how buggy their releases are. apart from software availability, ubuntu is not a match for windows. perhaps i need a stable and less buggy distro. now im considering debian and suse enterprise desktop.

  21. I’d try openSuse, but until now it’s just so slow. Maybe it’s just KDE. Think I’ll stick to Linux Mint (distrowatch Nr 3!). Just a touch better than Ubuntu: Media… it just works… 🙂

  22. One of the first linux distros I tried out was Suse 9.0. I have Ubuntu 10.04 on my netbook, and it runs fine for that. Have OpenSuse 11.3 on my desktop, and it runs on that fairly well, also.

    Between the two, however, there are notable differences. With Ubuntu, finding packages to add is a fairly straightforward thing. Any dependencies, are immediately identified and resolved during installation. Sometimes a package runs sluggishly, but at least it DOES run, most of the time.

    OpenSuse, on the other hand, STILL has not adequately resolved the “dependency hell” that marked it’s prior releases. Attempting to install an application is an exercise in irritation…..”it says it’s installed, but WHERE?!” “Why in the hell is it NOT in the applications menu??!” “I followed the instructions given, and it STILL doesn’t show up??!” Invariably, finding what I installed has typically involved logging in as root, and going on a scavenger hunt, directory by directory, until I find the blasted thing, and then I occasionally turn up multiple copies. I admit, I’m not well versed in using linux, but I can see no benefit in making the process of learning so damn difficult.

    Until OpenSuse gets this issue (and it IS an issue) properly resolved, their otherwise polished distro will suffer user attrition. It seems like such a minor thing, but a mountain of minor things makes for one great big headache, as far as I am concerned, and I have neither time, nor inclination, to endure a self inflicted migraine. OpenSuse is clearly NOT my first distro of choice.

  23. I am very disappointed with the new Ubuntu….looks like utter crap…i dont have the time nor patience to go through the whole new design again…cant even find advanced features…..really looks like a system for retards.

    Im off to exploring SUSE now…im tiered of linux communities that dont get enough funding…..poor guys wasting theyre time…i prefer to stick with pros who get paid to make a quality distrobution…..

  24. I persoanlly have tried both suse and ubuntu and other distros. I have found both ubuntua and suse dissappointing suse = slow and too much emphasis on fancy graphics (designed to please nob heads) and yast seems half baked piece of crap compared to synaptic.
    Ubuntu is crap all over though quicker (and even buggier than suse). I cant help thinking that a lot of the problems are to do with the fact that they are kde and gnome (both crap) Perhaps it would be better if everyone stated to try using a decent desktop enviroment instead like xfce or open box or jwm or something else that doesnt have so much shit built in and some thing which doesnt try (pretend?) to support dependencies for people who cant be bothered to write complete programs properly. Seriously when you have to have a different graphical modem dialers for different desktops you KNOW something is wrong (KPPP vs GnomePPP) After all these are just simple programs which just molest the modem control (wvdial) Kmail and evilotion are other sad cases in point along with Kwallet and gnome keyring (spastic crap) Better of with out this dependencies crap altogether then people wont keep finding their software going wrong when something else on the same computer gets altered/removed or updated as each program will then simply stop leaning on each others shoulders (when one falls the lot falls)

  25. FYI: Windows will not play hardly any type of media out of the box including MP3 and DVD.

    Don’t believe me? Install a retail version of Windows.

    Just because Dell, HP, Toshiba, etc add in those codecs doesn’t mean Windows offers out of the box codec support.

    And OpenSUSE is about 5 years ahead of Ubuntu. Ubuntu gives the illusion of simplicity, by taking control out of your hands. OpenSUSE gives back that control AND keeps things simple.

  26. “yast seems half baked piece of crap compared to synaptic”

    You obviously don’t know what YAST is if you are comparing it to a package manager front-end.

    Can you:

    manage users
    configure Apache, Samba, Kerboros, mail servers etc
    configure your hardware including printers
    setup and configure your firewall and AppArmor
    tweak your boot loader
    setup apps to run in varying runlevels

    in Synaptic?


    Well, don’t you feel stupid.

  27. “All I can say is that if Ubuntu sucks that bad, why is Microsoft trying hard to copy it? Win7 looks almost exactly like Ubuntu. In fact: Microsoft is going to release a blatant copy of Ubuntu for its’ Netbook edition of Win7 in the near future if they haven’t already. ”

    Haha, my thoughts exactly! 😀 I don’t know, ubuntu isn’t that bad. thanks for the article.

    the PC Health Advisor review

  28. first off all job welldone for this article.
    But (and the big but…)
    opensuse is great for simple end user who wants
    to surf the web, send email, and maybe hear some
    music, and maybe draw a picture..
    HAVE you ever tried to install a package from SOURCE
    in OpenSuse(does any one there thought about make,make install etc…). If you just want a little program does not come with RPM…
    My God, I like my xUbuntu, and debain.
    i love apt-get, i love make and make install
    and I don’t like at all that someone like REDHAT, and openSUSE, and Novell or what so ever TO TELL ME WHAT I CAN USE OR NOT.. THEY JUST BECOME A CLONE OF MICROSOFT!!!

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