Linux Review 6- OpenSUSE 10.3

OpenSUSE 10.3- KDE
Yes, it is pronounced like Soo-zah, but it is spelled SUSE. I pronounced it Soose until I was corrected just yesterday. That's funny.

Installing OpenSUSE isn't something a newcomer to GNU/Linux would find easy. The options are somewhat confusing, and at the partition menu I payed keen attention to the proposal, as to not mess up or erase my Windows system, so I could dual boot. You must pay keen attention to the proposals or you may mess up your system, but if you do pay good attention and not race through everything, you should be alright. If you are just getting rid of another OS and installing this one, it may be great for you.

The green user interface is well blended with the taskbar and the features around it. I like the start menu style, and I like the Chameleon. I installed KDE, I wanted a small change from GNOME. The install was fine, and it traveled right along, but I found it long and a little confusing, there were a lot of options that you have to pay attention to, and you have to reboot several times into the same install system. It does have a few cool features, like updating within the installer, but this also has a downside, if your internet connection is slow, this will slow down the install by quite a bit. Once updating was finished, I was asked to reboot, a third time, there were new kernel packages that were installed. Very annoying, but alright, the new Linux kernel may provide new features, or may add some more stability.

I struggled and struggled to get this operating system to mount my Linux to Windows partition. Being used to separate utilities to do this, I stumbled around the YaST administration program. Once I figured out how to get it remounted, I was off again. This time to explore YaST as a package manager.

YaST controlling package management is great. Almost better than synaptic. The search is powerful, providing you with the best results to what you searched for. It doesn't show the millions of packages availible in one screen. The only downside to this is if you forgot what you were searching for.

OpenSUSE does come with the good applications like Firefox and Thunderbird. It comes with OpenOffice, which is becoming more and more standard. I just wish the OpenOffice crew will come out with singular programs, but since all of the tools run on basically the same platform, and all of the applications require everything, it probably won't happen. It comes with several more useful day to day applications too. It also comes with the proprietary tools such as Adobe acrobat reader, and Flash. That's good, so you have what you need.

Once I figured out how to mount my Lin-Win partition, I took some pictures, and I also went out to see what the Open SUSE web site offered. I found there was a great wiki. There are also some mailing lists that provide discussion and help. I found the warning near them saying "Can send you over 100 emails a day" That is what I call good support. Wow! You can also purchase a boxed version of SUSE, sponsored by Novell, and in that case, Novell an provide professional support.

I also found the forums, and explored those a little, I found what other users were having for problems. OpenSUSE is a professional Linux Distribution. It provides great support, and it would probably work best as a workstation/server client. I think it would work best this way, most professionsal Linux distributions are designed this way. I am not sure about personal use, it is OK, but a little confusing at first.

Let's look at the pros-
  • Looks good
  • Great support
  • Uses YaST for package management
  • Speedy
  • Tons of features
  • Comes with flash/java/ other proprietary software
  • Installs updates before use
And the cons-
  • Can take a while to install
  • A little confusing
  • If you have slow internet, don't update before use
So, after a revised look at SUSE with KDE, I appreciate it. It is nice once you get an understanding. I give it a 3.5/5, the boot and install are a little slow, and some options are slightly confusing. Still, I think the best use for it is in a Workstation/server environment, probably not for personal use. It still is good, and the first review I did on this now seems so incorrect to me. Whoops.


  1. "Uses YaST. It just isn't standard."
    I'm sorry, but that's a stupid thing to say. Yast is the default package managment tool in OpenSuse. It's probably not the best tool for the job, but it's the one included in this distribution. And if you don't like it, you can always install another one.

    "It uses YaST 2. I had never heard of it"
    You're a Ubuntu user, aren't you?

    After reading this post, I think you're a newcomer to GNU/Linux. And that's a good thing; i congratulate you for that. But you should try using different distros for a while before comparing them, and understand that different distros target different people with different needs.

  2. Man I guess you've only used ubuntu. YaST is not confusing. It's actually quite clear. And it does much more than package management. You can configure your network card without getting into the terminal and typing the "network -admin" command, you can configure your display, keyboard and mouse using SaX2, you can create partition based and lvm based volumes and so much more.
    About zypp, it's always been in openSUSE. YaST will still be there in 11.0 (version 2.16) and also zypper. What's actually new is the algorithm used to handle the dependancies.
    About GNOME in openSUSE, guess your 're used to the default desktop in it (found in ubuntu). I'm a KDE user but the GNOME desktop shipped in openSUSE is fantastic. I think it was designed to be similar to kickoff in KDE, and your're given nice features in it.
    After telling all of this I've come to the conclusion that you didn't spend much time with it. You are so used to the way things work in ubuntu that, when confronted with a diferent desktop, diferent tools and so on, you didn't know what to do or where to go. You didn't even try to learn it. You barely looked for documentation. And when you're used to an OS and you're trying another one you have to document yourself. Even if you're switching to a user-friendly OS like MacOSX. To be honest, my first distro was ubuntu too (dapper). I also got used to GNOME and synaptics. And when I switched to openSUSE everything was unfamiliar to me too but made the effort to learn it. Don't switch to openSUSE if you don't want to, but if you are reviewing it, spend more time with it, especially with YaST. And don't get intimidated. Ciao.

  3. It is pronounced soo-zah, which I believe is the closest the English Language can come to the German pronunciation.

    Don't really agree with the most of the rest of the review either, but I thought you should at least get the language right.

  4. @ brunomiguel

    When I looked at YaST for package management, I was fine with it. When I looked at YaST for all the options, I confused myself.

    I am not just an Ubuntu user.

    I have had a little experience with GNU/Linux. I review from a new comer's perspective, so it makes me sound like a newcomer. I also understand that different distro's are for different people with different needs.

    Sorry I made the mistake of releasing the review too early.


    So I am still pronouncing it wrong, darn.


    You have all made terrific comments. I now plan to keep this one as a draft, and look at everything some more. This review is inferior. I will add more stuff, change it, and then re-release it. Sorry about the inconvenience.

  5. Personally I have found openSuSE's partitioner the most complete compared to Drak, partition magic(for windows), fdisk, or anything Ubuntu has to offer. openSUSE's has never failed me with partitining. YaST is able to partition how I want where other Distributions fail.

    Rebooting a few times I have never done with 10.3. One reboot, so I am not sure what options you did check off.

    yes it is a long install, you have a full DVD worth of "stuff".

    YaST can take some getting used to, same as PCC, Windows Control panel, etc...

    Have used SuSE/openSuSE since 10.0, the only problem I really have with YaST is how slow it is for package management. I would suggest to go into YaST and install smart, and smart-gui. it is faster, but very comparable to synaptic for speed. Smart is well documented how to add other repositories.

    Opinions will vary from person to person, and we all have our likes and dislikes.

  6. I am Debian with KDE.

    With that out of the way, I will recommend openSUSE to any new user with a new computer.

    YAST is relatively simple GUI with super cow powers.

    If you find openSUSE difficult, you probably want to spend a little more time playing with it.

    The only thing I didn't stay with openSUSE is because of its speed when compared with the "basic" distros.

  7. I was surprised by your experience in having to reboot several times during the install. I have been using SuSE since 7.3 and have always used YaST for the install. I have never had to reboot more than once during the installation. I can't speak to your experience regarding the length of time it took to install other than to say that the older and slower the cpu the longer it will take YaST to write the configuration file -- that can get quite lengthy.

  8. @anonymous #3
    I have a Dual Core Athlon 64 X2 with 2.4GHz, so it is pretty fast. I had to restart more than once because new kernel packages were installed from the update inside th installation.