Reasons To Give OpenSUSE A Try

Reasons to Give openSUSE a Try

For some reason, all the light goes these days toward distributions like Ubuntu, Mint, Manjaro, Solus… And the other similar ones. But despite being an excellent Linux distribution in itself, openSUSE rarely receives attention in the Linux press and its userbase doesn’t sound to be comparable to other famous Linux distributions.

This perhaps could be because people don’t know about the features of openSUSE? Or they fear trying it because of some reason. In any case, we’ll introduce you to the distribution and its features, and why you should give it a try.

List of openSUSE Features

YaST2

YaST2

Probably the most special thing about openSUSE is YaST2: The complete control center capable of configuring everything on a Linux system. It comes by default on SUSE & openSUSE distributions. YaST2 is awesome because it contains a lot of options and functionalities.

Currently, there exist around 80 different modules for YaST2, which allow you to configure software management, containers, services, kernels, servers, hardware and a lot lot more. You can say it’s around 80 different applications in a single center.

This is how the software management module looks like:

YaST2 Software Management

YaST2 can also be easily used to configure hardware. In this example YaST2 was able to configure a printer we had in around 1 minute. It searched for the possible drivers online and simply listed them for user’s selection:

YaST2 Drivers

What is also nice about YaST2 is that it provides a TUI (Text-based User Interface) for all its modules. Meaning that you can run YaST2 from your openSUSE system in the command-line mode and still be able to configure your system in a quick and fast way. You can also use it on your servers:

YaST2 TUI

There are tons of other modules which you can use to manage your system. The idea of providing a complete graphical solution to manage all the system aspects from A to Z in a Linux distribution doesn’t seem to exist anywhere else other than in SUSE/openSUSE.

openSUSE Tumbleweed

Tumbleweed is the rolling release branch of openSUSE. It’s just like Arch Linux and the other rolling distributions; You get the software as soon as its ready in the repositories.

However, unlike some others, the packages you get in openSUSE Tumbleweed are tested. You don’t get beta or alpha releases. You also don’t get software which is known to be not working or causing various problems in the system. It’s a rolling release model provided with quality (see next the coming openQA section). Which is a nice thing to have.

Same things happens from time to time for a lot of different packages. You can keep checking news.opensuse.org to see the latest news about kernel packages, GNOME, KDE and other packages added to openSUSE Tumbleweed.

openQA

opensuse 5 March 27, 2020

openQA is a quality assurance service created by SUSE/openSUSE. All the openSUSE releases (Leap and Tumbleweed) and a lot of openSUSE core packages (GNOME, KDE, YaST2..) are tested on that platform. It provides a set of API functions and methods to use in order to test packages and ISO images with automated tests and scenarios. After that, users can test it manually.

The thing about openQA is that it’s not just some automated scripts which do this and that and then check the output of various commands to see if bugs or problems exist. It utilizes openCV and other libraries to “see” what’s going on the screen. It hits different keyboard combinations and runs complicated installation/configuration scenarios and reads the screen in order to determine what’s going on.

The complete testing process is recorded and all the log files are uploaded automatically.

Things like openQA means better quality. Instead of completely depending on manual testing – like most other Linux distributions – openQA helps a lot in automation of those tests and detecting bugs instantly before releasing any new ISO images. Making openSUSE more robust and bug-free.

Browse FOSS Post ad-free when you subscribe to Patreon

Buy Some Coffee

All openQA source code is free and released on GitHub.

Zypper

opensuse 7 March 27, 2020

Zypper is the default package manager for SUSE/openSUSE. Just like dnf and apt, zypper can handle any ordinary package management task like installing, removing and updating packages.

According to a personal experience, package management with Zypper was faster more lightweight on the system than Apt and Dnf. In Zypper, even if you add a new repository which includes an already installed package with a newer version, it won’t be installed until you change the default vendor for that package. Which is good from a lot of aspects. Zypper also has a much better command line interface than the two, and supports very much complex configurations whenever needed.

Zypper has a lot of features which you can check from its page.

openSUSE Build Service

openSUSE Build Service (OBS) is an online platform for building and distributing software packages. Developers and packagers can create packages easily using the platform for different Linux distributions (not just openSUSE!). Currently, it supports Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, CentOS and a lot more of other distributions.

You can search for any package you need via software.opensuse.org. If you were using SUSE/openSUSE, you can install any package in a single click via YaST 1-Click Install:

opensuse 9 March 27, 2020

openSUSE Build Service isn’t just about building packages, but also Linux systems and images. It can be used to create your own openSUSE based distributions if you want, or other container images and put your software on them. After you finish building your images, you can download them and export them to other formats:

opensuse 11 March 27, 2020

OBS is capable of doing that thanks to its core software, Kiwi, which was developed by the openSUSE/SUSE team to create images of any system using “recipes”. It is a very efficient tool, and is fully documented on their official website.

Btrfs and Snapper

Btrfs is the default filesystem in openSUSE. It’s a copy-on-write filesystem. One of its main features is the ability to take “snapshots” of files stored on your hard disk in order to be able to restore them later.

openSUSE is very compatible with this filesystem. There’s a module in YaST2 called Snapper. Which allows you to restore your system to whatever state you want at any history before/after administrative actions. Such as package installation/removal or configurations change.

For example, if you run a system upgrade using zypper dup. And something broke and you no longer can enter your system, you can easily go back to the previous system state before the upgrading process occurred. All your files and configurations will be restored to that specific time. Just like a system restore point in Windows.

Conclusion

There are a lot of features which make openSUSE a remarkable Linux distribution. If you are happy with your current Linux distribution, you probably don’t need to change it. However, if you are looking for something new and modern, it’s recommended that you give openSUSE a try.

You can learn more about openSUSE from their official website: openSUSE.org

Browse FOSS Post ad-free when you subscribe to Patreon

Buy Some Coffee

Challenge your knowledge, and take a quiz.

Go to FOSS Quiz

Comments are moderated before they are published on FOSS Post to keep discussions civil and prevent spam.

People reacted to this story.
Show comments Hide comments
Comments to: Reasons to Give openSUSE a Try
  • March 30, 2020

    This article was poignant and very interesting in the fact that in twenty years plus of professional Linux, FreeBSD and other Free/Open Source Software (FOSS) use and development base as a Technology Solutions provider/ Consultant I have settled (for second time) on SuSE and openSuSE Linux as my preferred Linux distributions of choice, after having extensive experience in implementing Redhat/CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian and other popular distributions in many scenarios.

    Why?
    Because SuSE/openSuSE have proven unequivocally – as noted in article – to be as or more stable and performant than prominently and often more frequently referenced distros in major tech media.
    Even the openSuSE venerable Yast toolset that originated more than ten years ago is exceedingly useful and efficient in performing critical tasks that require multiple add-ons for the others. The viable alternative is mastery of CLI, which is OK but take an abundance of time to learn.

    The most important and critical reason – of many – for settling on SuSE/OpenSuSE is fact that openSusE is directly and closely downstream from commercial supported SuSE Linux Enterprise codebase, deployed and respected by many of the USA Fortune 1000 corporations, Government departments, large and small organizations as well as hundreds, if not thousands of entities in Europe, Asia and elsewhere.

    Documentation is clear and to-the-point, and when combined with openSuSE Forums are infinitely helpful to any class of user.

    I suspect there are a couple of good reasons that SuSE/openSuSE are not more popular here in USA – like the early disjointed history of SuSE being purchased by Novell, bad publicity linked to Microsoft, then sold to British company before returning to it’s roots in Germany. Redhat is a proud American company, and Canonical, owners of Ubuntu have earned an enviable reputation as the first Linux distribution to effectively target and concentrate Linux for the PC desktop and mobile markets.

    While I am pleased that Redhat, SuSE and Ubuntu as standout distributions for Enterprise Class computing, and others on smaller scale are all successful, the test for me has been the many years of significant Linux use, on day-to-day basis in business applications delivery, software development and personal PC Linux use with openSuSE Tumbleweed – a great end user rolling release distro, that make the SuSE products stand out, even if subtly for me but not readily evident or appreciated to most others.

    Reply
  • April 7, 2020

    Does Yast still conflict with KDE\Gnome system configuration tools? I remember it being annoying with networking for example.

    Reply
    • April 11, 2020

      Networking is fine and in my experience. Also the use of other YaST tools combined with KDE tools never caused me problems. And I use both openSUSE Leap and Tumbleweed with a Plasma desktop on a daily basis from the moment they came to be. But I guess that depends on what you are trying to achieve with system tools and how you deploy them, as would be the case in any other system?

      Reply
      • April 13, 2020

        You can pick in YaST to use it’s built in (Wicked) Network tool, or use Network Manager and use your desktop environments network widgets/tools. (This is now by default, and you can even select it in the Yast installer).

        Reply
    • May 11, 2020

      NO!

      Reply
  • April 7, 2020

    Great distro.
    Run suse / opensuse / leap / tumbleweed for 18 years now.

    Reply
  • April 20, 2020

    I like openSUSE Tumbleweed and was really trying it out. I installed it with GNOME and otherwise mostly default options, like BtrFS, on an SSD system. But I reached a point where I deleted it (though I may try it again), because after every boot for about 2 or 3 minutes, snapper and btrfs-cleaner and btrfs-transaction (something, names aren’t exact) would frequently peg my CPU at 100% until finished, after every reboot, essentially almost locking up my entire system in the interim. Sometimes this would last upwards of five minutes. I tried again with GNOME and ext4 and it was much better, but then I decided to go with Fedora 32 beta. However, I still have some spare SSD drives and I will probably try out openSUSE again. It seemed otherwise excellent.

    Reply
    • May 11, 2020

      Your problems have nothing to do with the stability and performance of openSuSE, whether Leap or Tumbleweed.
      You also did not indicate contacting openSuSE forums for help, since the issue may very well be with Gnome.

      Whenever someone says they are “trying it (a distribution) out” or “playing with it”, especially in regard to openSuSE or Suse, they inevitably will run into problems, since these distributions need more technical understanding that for distros meant for casual non-technical home user, and better attention to small details that make successful install and/or operation.

      Reply
      • December 1, 2020

        CPU load at 100% is a known problem with BTRFS services, a file system that was not very polished in its beginnings.

        I try to choose a distro for my new machine, after 10 years of using Linux I continue with the same base problems: choosing and dealing with small annoying problems in each distribution.

        Reply

Leave a Reply

Recent Comments

Monthly Newsletter


.