Trying OpenSuse


Ben says:

I’ve been an Ubuntuer for several years. I know some people look down on it as only suitable for beginners and other non techy folk, but I disagree. It’s the distro used by Ken Thompson, the father of Unix (admittedly he uses it because it’s the distro used by Google, his employer, but I still feel like I’m in good company).

Nevertheless, I felt it was time to expand my horizons. As I was pondering which way to take my allegiance, OpenSuse released version 12.2 and it seemed as good as any. Now, two and a half months on, I thought I’d share my conclusions with you, the good people of TuxRadar.

The first thing I noticed was that the file manager seemed to change at a whim. Sometimes the menubar was there, other times it wasn’t. This confused me as I regularly switch View Hidden Files on and off, and the option kept moving. After a few days of confusion I realised that if I clicked on the My Computer icon on the desktop it started Konqueror, whereas if I opened the file manager form the menu, it started Dolphin. This isn’t a massive problem, but it was a needless source of confusion.

To be perfectly honest, I didn’t get on well with KDE. There were too many niggling issues that I won’t go into here - they’re not the fault of OpenSuse. Nevermind, though, XFCE was only a Zypper install away. I’ve used XFCE many times on other distributions and never had problems, so I can only suspect that my issues were down to the packaging.

At first, it was only mildly annoying. After a few hours of use, the system would refuse to open any new windows, forcing me to restart. A little annoying, but not a huge problem. Then, a few weeks later, I found that when I turned the computer on, there would be no borders around the windows (the bits that let you resize, minimise and maximise the windows), but these would be restored if I logged out and logged back in again. Now I’ve found that they just won’t come back so I’ve had to return to KDE.

I’m sure I could solve this, but to be honest, I’m just not motivated to. I think that I’ll switch distributions instead. There’s one big problem that I’ve hit, and can’t like with: package management.

The Zypper RPM-based software OpenSuse is reasonable. In my opinion, it’s not as good as the options available for DEB packages, but it’s live-with-able. For example, I prefer it if, when you install a service (such as Apache), it starts it automatically. I understand the reasons not to do this, but I prefer it if it does. DEBs do, RPMs don’t.

Before I continue my grumble, I will take a moment to point out one thing that I think OpenSuse has done really well: one click installs. These allow you to embed a link in a website that automatically installs a package or repository. Ubuntu has a similar thing with the apt:/ protocol, but OpenSuses offering is significantly more powerful as it includes repositories as well as packages.

So, what’s the big thing that’s making me move on? Packages. There simply isn’t enough depth in the OpenSuse repositories. For the first time in years, I’ve been stuck in dependency hell as I chased different versions of RPMs through package websites and I’ve added some fairly dubious-looking repositories all because I couldn’t find the software I needed. In this respect, I am a demanding user. We all are at LXF towers. We clog up our machines with all sorts of programs so we can bring you the best, and this puts a strain on our package managers. OpenSuse just wasn’t up to the task.

The only remaining question I have about OpenSuse is what to replace it with? I’ve just grabbed Mint 14 to include it on next month’s cover disc, and it looked pretty tempting. Graham’s been trying to bring me into the brotherhood of Arch for a while. I’m unsure.

So, dear reader, what do you think? Am I being unfairly critical of OpenSuse? Do you have a hot tip for a next distro? Add a comment to let me know your thoughts.

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Your comments

SUSE user of old now in Ubuntu

I have used SUSE since the medieval times before Novel acquired it.
I will always have a soft spot for it. However in recent times I have been using Ubuntu more and more. I don't agree it's for newcomers to Linux.
SUSE in many ways is still very German and conservative in its approach which is good because of stability but sometimes technologies already used by Fedora and Ubuntu gets left on the shelf for too long. It's a shame. It needs a more cutting edge approach beyond Tumbleweed.
Ignoring the whining and moaning of a vocal group of people who have the skills to try different GUIs but prefer to winge, Ubuntu is very nice to use since Unity arrived and at last it has something which allows it to stand out against Fedora and Mint. I'm not encouraged to try new "old fashioned" desktop interfaces day to day, just because some Linux people cannot be bothered to move on.
I shall be staying with Ubuntu for a little while. :-)

Linux From Scratch

RedHat 5.something was my first Linux distribution, and I find Fedora 17 is pretty neat. We have AWS EC2 instances to manage, and it's nice having a similar RedHat-based environment between the servers and my desktop.

Anyhow, I used Linux From Scratch for several years, and that experience taught me all about life without package management. It also taught me all manner of tips and tricks for Linux, including how it all fits together.

So anytime anyone complains about the package management in a distribution, I recommend LFS: if anything you will at least learn to appreciate any amount of package management. :)


After destroying all my data in a no doubt very uncoordinated attempt to install SuSE 7.2 on my system, I was stuck with Windows ME (it actually hurts just to think of the name) for a while until the solution to my problems was sold in boxes for 50 marks in our campus bookshop: SuSE 9.0. Something like 8 CDs and 2 handbooks wok Kerr over to Linux for good. At some point though, Ubuntu was just better: everything worked out of the box! But I always had a soft spot for my first distro as well, and tried it again about 2 years ago when looking for aKDE distro. I can certainly confirm the points about the dependency hell: to get the stuff you want, you need to add repository over repository, making every package update last for an eternity and a liability. I switched to Arch and have been happy with it so far. SuSE's KDE integration is beautiful, and if you're happy with the packages it comes with, you will have a decent and stable system, in other cases it might be better to use a different distro. And, of course, there is Yast, Linux's very own Marmite (you either love or hate it).

I meant to say "won me

I meant to say "won me over". Damn you, autocorrect!

Seriously SUSE

My own experience with SUSE - Open SUSE, the version provided by LXF a few ages ago - was actually reasonably good, and only failed by broken package management, or perhaps, more honestly - my failure to truly understand package management.

Don't get me wrong, it did promise a great distro, and had I had more experience with the PM, probably would have become my choice - only I already had my favourite (Red Hat) and Fedora with it's easier approach seemed the better way.

As it turns out, the better method is, and I understand now the importance of package management (PM) and after working this out I am more in favour of debian style of PM.

I intended to send you a "speak your brains" as it is probably better explained that way.

The thing is: is it a matter of which Package Manager you are more used to/in favour of/works better than/choice is a good thing but....
or is it a matter of having your favourite distro with an efficient and recognisable desktop interface.

There is no such thing as a problem
without a gift for you in its hands

Difficult to please are you?

You like a fast desktop, a deb based package manager with large repositories, little or no software duplication, and a fast file manager and other applications? More popular (according to ditrowatch) than Xubuntu and Kubuntu? A separate netbook interface, like KDE.
It has to be Lubuntu!

Very happy openSUSE user

I've been using openSUSE for over 10 years and am generally very happy with it (before that I used Redhat, Mandrake, Debian and others). It is probably the best distro for KDE (which I prefer to Gnome and other options).

I used to try out all the different distros regularly, but the novelty of doing that has now long worn off. When you have work to do you just need something that works, is reliable and familiar - without being too far behind the curve.

There is plenty of ready packaged software for openSUSE with the build service and popular repos like Packman. That the author found it lacking is only reflective of his exceptional requirements, not normal usage.

openSUSE has served me very well and I would recommend it to anyone (except die-hard Gnome lovers). However I think there is a new era dawning for Linux due to the rise of mobile devices. I'm hoping that a QT5 based desktop like Nemo mobile or Maui OS will rise to the top.

Thanks for your comments. I

Thanks for your comments.

I too once purchased a boxed copy of Suse (8.2 i think) and have happy memories of using it in the past. It was the first distro I used properly and the boot message "have a lot of fun" stuck with me.

JokeyRhyme -- I've considered LFS, but the relentless deadlines of publishing mean it's difficult to find the time to dedicate to this. I may consider something a little less extreme. Gentoo or Arch perhaps

John Lloyd -- You're right, I am a demanding user :) I did like the look of Lubuntu 12.10 (you may notice that it's on the disk at the same time as the unity version). this is the first time I've found an LXDE desktop that's visually pleasing. I still feel the need to experience the world away from the *buntus though.

Ross -- I'm glad you've found a distro you like. My experience with XFCE makes me think you're right about it being recommendable mostly for KDE lovers. I do install a much wider range of software than most people do, and there is certainly enough in the OpenSuse repos for general computing.

Mihaly -- We're always glad to receive speak your brains.



ArchLinux is an awesome distro, but it does take a little time to get sorted. I suggest trying Chakra, which is very similar, but with a working desktop out-of-the-box.

It's obvious........ #!

It seems to me you want a deb based distro, but not a *buntu. So why not try the mother distro, but with a twist.

CrunchBang Waldorf edition. Really stable, massive repository, easily configured, yet works really well out of the box.

Fantastic friendly community. I love it, and my 10 year old gets on fine with it.

And the developer is often seen at Hull lug, his wife helped resurrect Lincoln lug, and I'm sure you could buy him a pint if you visit next year's oggcamp.

You can't say that about most distros!

Mint is my choice

I tried Arch for a while, and thoroughly enjoyed it. You can learn a lot about Linux building an Arch system the Arch way, and the tutorials are thorough and deep enough that you really can work through some pretty esoteric choices.

However, if you want a well-maintained distro that provides you with a quick, conventional, easy-to-use desktop, I highly recommend Mint. The Mint team pays attention to every detail and is very responsive to its users. I'm using Mint 14 64-bit with Cinnamon.

OpenSuse and others

Ive been using SuSe/OpenSuse since around the 6.x or 7.x versions. Always had a soft spot for it and had at least one machine running it since then. Experience has been variable over the versions but in general I like it and have put up with the odd issue. Currently have my main laptop running OpenSuse 12.1 with Xfce - main reason being that I needed a distro that could easily allow me to encrypt the drive as part of the installation and I'm not keen on Unity, Gnome 3 or current KDE. There are occasional issues with repositories and the software update notifier doesn't work (but have reverted to using zypper). Also find that the keyboard shortcuts don't work - although set to do so in Xfce. Have run into dependency hell occasionally but agree one-click install is good.
My netbook/desktop were running Mint but I have now changed to WattOS - I like the ease of apt for package management and and LXDE (and all the keyboard shortcuts work as expected!). Installing an Ubuntu or derivative was more problematic - hence Opensuse winning out.

Still have soft spot for Opensuse though.


...that should say that installing Ubuntu/derivative with full hard drive encryption was more tricky (tried and failed with Mint despite following lengthy HowTo)

openSUSE is easy

I've been an active user of SUSE since 10.0 that's about 7 years or smth. Back then it was the easiest distro to switch from Windows. I remember trying Fedora and Mandrake (Mandriva nowadays) but it was no good for me. I fell in love with YaST and I still think that it is the greatest config tool for linux of all times, don't know of any distro that has something similar.
Another thing to mention is that the last few releases (since 11.4 I think) have been super stable and I have good experience of deploying it in small business companies, even for desktop use.
Maybe it's offtop but will say it anyways, the biggest problem with linux for business desktop in general is the lack of a decent office suite, this is a real show stopper and that's a real pity. For the rest it's a matter of opinion to me.

Still use SUSE 9.3 on PIII

I have used SUSE for some time...hmm 10+ years. I started with 8.2. I now have been using Ubuntu from 8.04.
When I got openSUSE 12.2 from Linux Pro Magazine this month, I gave it a whirl.
I liked Gnome better than the KDE interface. The installer hasn't changed much. It installed GRUB without asking though. I have it on a multi-boot Linux only machine. Loads very fast and aps run quickly.

Today after 2 days and several reboots, it crashed the Grub loader. The machine (Core 3 quad processors) displayed only a B&W screen with "GRUB" in the top corner and the machine was making a terrible high pitched sound.

I installed GRUB2 via a Live Ubuntu distro. Boots fine now... but not with Grub from openSUSE.

I want my machine to do film editing and video capture via openshot AND kdenlive AND kino. At least openshot and kino work properly.

I had to do a lot of extra work to get most video codecs into the machine.

Ubuntu has better repositories and more support. But 12.04 has several unreported video problems with dvgrab. OpenSUSE seems to work better with dvgrab.
One thing I wanted was QUANTA PLUS html editor. OpenSUSE was able to get it for me even though it uses KDE 3.5.10 and it works great. Yes in Gnome 3.

Started Linux with SUSE and switched to Ubuntu

I used to be on OS/2 and later NT and then switched to SUSE and lived with it for few years till Ubuntu was launched and its been Ubuntu ever since. In terms of package and polish I find it to be the best, also implementation of software. With Unity I find the interface highly productive as well.

I do use Chakra and other distros from time to time on a laptop dedicated for that but my main machines at home or office remain Ubuntu. Also the LTS edition of Ubuntu is far superior to other LTS offerings. Best of all the reliable PPA system means you can update certain programs of your choice minus any issues or breaking the core. I do like the KDE in Chakra and I have always been a KDE fan since I started with SUSE. Chakra does KDE well, sadly Arch distros and SAMBA server setup is a pain. Also the so called rolling release distros done by small teams like Chakra etc, don't necessarily have all in cutting edge. For instance in Sabayon, Chakra, Manjaro, all of them have older Intel drivers whereas in Ubuntu 12.10, I get newer and I can have the latest by just adding a PPA. Ubuntu does a swell job of keeping is with tested cutting edge every six months and for the less adventurous there is the super stable LTS.

OpenSuSE rocks

looking through my SuSE 4.3 handbook at the moment. September 1996. Whow, kinda dusty now.

So my point is I have been using it for over 16 years now and I tried my share of other distros but I have to say that I got it to properly run on all the HW I threw at it.

Granted around version 11.x there were major issues with the package management but Yast(Yast2) was always there to help.
Zypper now is as powerful as any other package manager.

Due to copyright restrictions there is a lot of SW which can't be part of the 'official' repos. You should add Packman to your repo list. I am a programmer and geek, and in the 16 years I have used SuSE i Have always found what I was looking for after adding Packman.

No RPM dependency hell if you use Yast or Zypper that I know of. Only if you start adding RPMs manually or you compile your SW will you run into RPM dependency hell, just like any other distro.

Of course I don't know which SW and version you require to get your job done, so it's hard to tell from this side what's going on.

Okay, after I bashed you I have to say that I feel the same with Ubuntu, Kubuntu etc. No joy on my side. I am no Fan of gnome to start with and then I feel odd using sudo for anything sys-admin like. I run into as many issues with HW as with OpenSuSE. The difference was the HW itself. E.g. Wireless may work out of the box in Ubuntu and not in OpenSuSE but the gfx card would work out of the box in OpenSuSE and not in Ubuntu.

I think all considered it is a matter of taste, and/or what you are used to. Any decent distro will get the job done if you invest the time to learn the tweaks.

A friend in Linux and Open Source.

Your Distro of choice

To be honest Ben I find slackware the best ok no dependency resolution but frankly thats half the fun of having control over what installs when you install programs.

It is definitely not going to give nasty surprises when you upgrade.

anyway Ben what ever you choose best of luck and hope you find your distro of choice.

My choice

I am a Ubuntu guy myself. Ubuntu just works. I hate Unity so I installed the traditional Gnome menu button and Cinnamon as well so I can have some choices.
I would go with openSUSE but it is limited as far as options for additional software. Since I dabble in amateur radio I have to stick with either Ubuntu based distros or Debian based distros. I would love it if openSUSE would expand its repositories (double the number of available packages.) So for now I will stick with Ubuntu.

I went with Debian

I also began with Ubuntu and moved to OpenSUSE. Both are pretty okay, but it wasn't until I tried Debian that I really felt satisfied with a distro. I don't think I'll ever switch to another.

Debian's like Ubuntu or Mint, sans the broken packages and spurious design decisions. (I can't fathom why anyone would think that Mint's homegrown UI can compete with GNOME 3.) You want stability? You want a lot of packages (~37,000)? You want apt? Want relatively vanilla, unmodified versions of upstream software? Did I mention stability?

Debian's got it. And, as I recall, your own magazine declared Debian to be the best distro sometime in the last 12-16 months or so.

I've been using Debian testing for over a year with hardly any problem, despite the testing branch being pretty much a constant beta.

I also find Debian more user friendly than Ubuntu or Mint. While it doesn't come with proprietary software out of the box and lacks some of the friendly tools designed by Canonical, the vanilla desktop environments it provides are a lot better for new users than Unity or whatever Mint calls their numerous forks of GNOME DEs.

There are some Debian derivatives that are nice, such as Crunchbang, but unless you _really_ want that aesthetic then I don't see any reason to use that over stock Debian configured to suit your whims.

Still haven't settled

We used SLES 9 for a few years so I tried using OpenSuSE (10 I think it was) for a while. If it hadn't been for the M$/Novell faustian pact I may have stayed. Instead, I went to Ubuntu and, occasionally Debian. Then came Unity :o

I switched to Fedora and Gnome 3. Yes, it has its annoyances, but I found I got along with it better than Unity - apart from the Land of The Giants icons, that is! Next up was Mint 12 and (currently) 13 with Cinnamon, which I would probably stick with if it didn't occasionally lock up on me requiring either a) a restart of mdm or b) a complete power off/on, so now I'm using XFCE.

Will I go to Mint 14? Probably, returning to using Cinnamon unless/until it locks on me again!

At least we have a choice of desktop environments to play with, unlike the others ;-)

Depending on the resources available

If you have good resources available then Mint with Cinnamon is good as is Zorin 6. I've been doing a review of Xubuntu recently on my own site and I think Xubuntu is great for a number of reasons, it is lightweight, easy to customise and a great base for building the operating system you want and because it has the Ubuntu repositories you have more packages available than you can throw a stick at.

Desktop Linux

After many years of using and testing lots and lots of Linux distributions for more than ten years my conclusion is that right now (K/L/X/...)Ubuntu and Fedora are the most mature and best choices for a desktop user (I am not speaking here about server, enthusiasts, or other areas, only about the average desktop use).
The rest can all be made to work ok with enough effort from an knowledgeable user, they are all the same OS after all in different default configurations, but these two stand out from the rest.
From OpenSUSE I like the tumbleweed and studio projects but it's simply not a stable enough distribution and never was, it always was too buggy. The only good thing that SUSE always had was a nice default theme.... but that's kind of irrelevant.

Bloody Consultants

Oh how I wish we could get rid of the last two years in Linux. In 2010 the Linux Desktop was reaching near perfection. You could “press” a button and something happened, just like it said on the tin. My system had never been so stable, it worked for me.

Today you can “press” a button and after a wait, with luck, something may happen. Today the current Linux user is confronted with a multitude of desktop designs, many of which take massive computing cycles to do anything instead of reserving that power to be employed for the application that do the work. Today we are confronted by Desktop designs intended for a Tablet computer with a finger marked smeared screen, not a computer with a pointing device which most of us actually use and do work with.

It is strange how the whole world of computing can be going down into the same Hell-hole of broken desktop designs, especially now Microsoft has joined the Lemming throng with their Windows 8 default desktop. Perhaps they employed consultants from the same school as all the other Desktop designers, it certainly wouldn't be the first time consultants have completely ruined a perfectly good operation. (Just ask Sir Alan Sugar!)

At the moment there are a few places where the weary computer user can rest, until the dust settles. The one I have settled upon is SolusOS. Its first series still employs a variation of the good old (and very usable) Gnome 2 desktop. This first series is being well supported by the developer whilst the second series is being worked upon. From what I can make out, this second series will not be launched until the developer is satisfied that a fully workable system has been evolved. (Sometime, maybe, never!)

The likes of the Gnome Shell, Unity and Metro (Windows 8) may be good for a telephone or tablet style of computing device but, for many of us, they are an utter disaster on the desktop. The sooner these “Professionals” realise this, the better.

Come back Linux Mint 10, all is forgiven...

One word: Manjaro

Arch based with a twist, out-of-the-box, easy, stable.

my Arch choice

Cinnarch, an Arch-based Linux distribution with Mint's Cinnamon as the default desktop interface,

this distro is brilliant!.

my choice for the new year.

Thank 'eaven for little swirls

I read the first 5 paragraphs and thought I was in a time warp. Although I wasn't using SUSE, I switched to Debian and later Debian based Ubuntu for similar experiences nearly 8 years ago! This was after screwing around with video drivers/X settings/changing wm's etc.

Now,as Ubuntu moves off into more experimental territory I find myself leaning back towards a purer Debian distro.

I prefer Fedora with XFCE,

I prefer Fedora with XFCE, though I haven't tried an especially large sample of different distros. I've tried Ubuntu, OpenSUSE, Mint, Fedora, Arch and Edubuntu (that was years ago, my brother installed it on my computer when Windows broke. Thanks bro :D ).
I hate Unity, OpenSUSE just flat out failed to boot after an error free installation, Mint was kinda cool and ended up being my second favourite and Edubuntu is Edubuntu. The contest was between Fedora, Mint and Arch. Arch was cool, but a bit overwhelming, and while I could install it, I eventually decided it's a bit too advanced for me.

I eventually went for Fedora because I didn't really like the idea that Mint comes with everything. If I need to get something to work, I can take 15 minutes to install and configure it.

Just looking for something that works

I started with Caldera and then moved to SUSE and then openSUSE. Nothing is perfect but all the things I need for business productivity are available with openSUSE.

The forums are generally helpful and I've been able to solve most of the occasional problems I've had.

Recently I have had problems with KDE4. Some KDE4 apps are less functional than the KDE3 apps they replace. But volunteers within openSUSE maintain KDE3 and I can run KDE3 apps alongside KDE4 ones without any difficulties.

I have also had increasing problems with migrating between KDE versions, in particular relating to Kontact, where the location of resources has changed and the new version has failed to identify the location of resources, and there are now so many resource conflicts in the hidden files of the first user - myself - that I installed on SUSE that KDE no longer runs properly on that user.

So until I have time to clear out the relevant hidden files, I have installed Razorqt which lacks only a small amount of the useful functionality of KDE and respects nearly all KDE settings. So I have the all the advantages of being able to customise the important parts of my desktop but the speed of a lightweight desktop - most striking with LibreOffice which suddenly runs really fast.

I am happy with openSUSE as a distro because I have had no installation problems and I can get all the software I have ever needed or wanted to do what I need to do and I get the support whenever I need it.

OpenSUSE 12.2 - loving it

After years of Ubuntu 10.10, I finally cut the umbilical cord called "apt-get" and moved to OpenSUSE. I've used it years ago and RPM hell was very much a reality then. Things have changed...

Gnome 2 had the best balance of a clean desktop with enough customization. After the disaster called Gnome 3 I had no choice but to look elsewhere. I checked XFCE/LXDE etc. but found them too spartan for my preference. KDE 4 on the other hand is quite nice. Its not exactly lightweight but the amount of customization options available make it worth your while to tailor it exactly to your requirements. KDE doesn't expect the user to be a moron and that is a _very_ welcome change.

I haven't found any issues with file manager - I always get Dolphin. No issues with usual things like Wifi, VPN, multimedia, Dropbox, Skype, Wine etc.

Regarding package management, zypper isn't the best I've seen (and I had grown very fond of apt) but its not too bad. Its reasonably easily to add/remove repositories and install/remove software - its somewhat apt like and not too different.

Regarding the variety of software available through various official/unofficial repos, I think the range is excellent. There is nothing I haven't found having moved from Ubuntu e.g. VirtualBox, SpiderOak, Dropbox, LibreOffice etc all have their repos and the install process is as painless as apt-get. Infact upgrading from KDE 4.8 to 4.9 by adding the kde49 repo was absolutely smooth. For multimedia and other goodies (think multiverse for deb), packman has excellent variety.

Yast2 can be a bit of a bloat but it does provide a one-stop-shop interface for configuring services/runlevel etc for poweruser. I was able to configure my outdated Epson CX2900 scanner and got going within minutes using Yast2!

So far the level of customization I've been able to do is even more than I could under Ubuntu 10.10. I've come to love KDE on OpenSUSE 12.2 and I'm sticking with it.

Debian net-install

I'd go with Debian net-install, and slap in as many desktop environments and Windows-managers as you can stand. Xfce, Gnome, Openbox - you're sure to find one that you'll really like. Anything you don't can be removed easily enough...

Untitled #1

I find the same whenever I try an RPM based distro. They just can't compete with deb in terms of packages.

I use Ubuntu and Arch and would recommend both. Ubuntu is straightforward from the user's point of view, don't really need to get your hands dirty and most problems can be solved with a quick google. The downside to Ubuntu is every few releases they produce an absolute sack of bollocks and you have to downgrade until the next one (12.10 is like that for me).

Arch is opposite in some ways - it's simple in an engineering sense. What I love about Arch is knowing everything that's on there, why it's there, what it does and so on. The rolling-release nature is a joy (really wish this was the standard for consumer level distros these days). And the package manager is the only one that doesn't make me wish I was using apt, It's simple and powerful. The AUR is a miracle, it makes installing more obscure software a million times easier than it is on a 'noob' distro. Oh and the documentation is simply amazing. I tend to use the Arch wiki regardless of what distro I'm using now, it's better than anything else out there.

If you're bored of Ubuntu and want to try something more challenging then I strongly recommend Arch. While they represent opposite ends of the distro spectrum, they kinda share a desire to be simple (in different ways, obviously). Ubuntu is easy to install and use, Arch is easy to manage and understand.

Thanks for the comments

Thanks for the comments guys. It was interesting to hear how people get to their distros.

I've been playing with Mint14 quite a bit recently and it looks really good -- IMHO all Mint's have -- but I want something a bit further from Ubuntu to get a better feel for what's out there.

I was very tempted by Slackware, but in the end, I've decided to go with Arch. I'm sure it's derivatives are good, but I'm going to try the vanilla version to start with.


Arch is a good choise if like reading wikis :)

I am currently running Slackware, and it surves my needs
very well. I have tried a number of distros over the years,
most I have liked, but I never seemed to get the hang of opensuse though.

I would not recommend Slack since dependency hell was one
of your concerns. Debian is a very good allrounder and perferct for someone how does not need the latest packages (it's very friendly and very stable).

For cutting edge software, good stability (but not stone age
server grade stability) and as a tool to learn Linux, I would highly recommend Arch.
It does require you to put a lot of effort into it, esspetialy during installation and initial setup, and you will constantly need to read entries in the archwiki.

But if you are prepared to do that then by all means give it a go, and when things break, go bother Graham :)

3 Issues with OpenSuse

3 Issues I've had with OpenSuse 12.1:
1) Annoying border around windows (KDE)
2) Clickety-click updater (just like MS Update in XP)
3) Couldn't get Steam games to run in Wine (works flawlessly in Fedora 17 with exact same options..)

precise puppy

Precise puppy is getting very interesting.

Fedora anyone?

Come on over to Fedora, it is the spearhead for Red Hat which has been leading the linux community since 2000. It is well established and with the coming release of 18, you will have nice Windows Active Directory authentication and WBEM components. You have KDE, Gnome and other spins too.

Trying openSuse 12.2

Many comments. Wonderful! Now some may call me shallow but when I try a new distro, one of the most important aspects is to be able to easily install my printers. Without printers, this is a deal breaker for me.

I have 4 primary partitions on one drive that I use for my distro's. Mint 14 is my main, Kubuntu as a second, Win7 for my Granddaughter that needs to play her online games and of course the boot partition.

I back up all my data on a separate usb drive with Clonezilla. If I don't like a distro, I simply replace it with one previously backed up on that particular partiton. It replaces the partition and updates grub2.

Now for openSuse:

Installation procedure always wants to lvm the drive, wipe out 2 paritions (one is my Mint) and format it as it wishes.

Therefore, on a spare hd I made a partiton (I just keep my documents on this drive) just for openSuse, installed it and tried to configure my printers. After a couple of hours I gave up. It kept telling me it wouldn't recognise network printers because of a firewall possibly running. It wasn't. openSuse looks like a great distro but not for me at this time.

Moving on...

I have used SUSE since before Novell purchased it. I have also installed a number of Linux distributions, including Ubuntu. I am moving on from OpenSuse 12.1 to 12.3 because OpenSuse continues to meet my needs and my wants. Perhaps Sir Marky will not be moving on from Ubuntu as long as it meets his needs and wants, and that is fine.

Same here

I'm facing the same problem: the shortage of packages.
Even with the packman repository there is a ton of packages missing. I was a debian/ubuntu user, and I think I'm spoiled with the amount of packages those distributions offer.

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