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)
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).
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.
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)
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.
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 forums.opensuse.org, 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 opensuse.org 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: