Why is openSUSE so damn overlooked compared

...to almost any other main distro out there and compared to what they actually bring to the table?

Usually I don't care too much about distro vs distro talk, also I'm not really using openSUSE myself a lot, but this strike me for quite some time now.

Out of all the popular 'main' distros openSUSE clearly seems to be the odd one out.
The *ubuntu family, Debian, Arch, Fedora, CentOS, Gentoo, all get their fair amount of love from the community, even half a dozen of respins of this distros are extremely popular but there don't seem to be a lot of people who publicly advocate openSUSE.

And I have difficulties understanding why, I thinks it's an awesome distro and most important I think it fits the needs of a lot of people from beginners to power users.

  • Professional development team, backed by company
  • Is used in industry, good to know if you want to get a Linux job ( at least in parts of Europe SUSE is clearly the biggest Linux employee besides Red Hat)
  • offers a very stable release as well as a rolling release with new software
  • Zypper is an awesome package manager, fast and does a great job of resolving dependency problems etc and automatically offering solutions to the user
  • good documentation, community forums and IRCs available
  • their KDE desktop is probably the best integrated KDE environment you can get
  • Yast is their own administration tool which comes with a functional GUI and makes all kinds of tasks very easy for new users, yet is a powerful tool for the advanced power user
  • Installer sets up root partition as brtfs and installs snapper by default so you can 'roll back' to snapshots which are automatically generated every time you change your system with yast or zypper.
    This is the default setting of the installer so also beginners who just click 'ok', 'ok' 'ok' will benefit from this rollback feature
    The partitioner also easily manages LVM and raid during installation
  • Simple browser based one-click installation of software
  • cares about FOSS, yet it's easy to install proprietary multimedia codecs with one click if you want to
  • suits well as host for VMs, also good documentation on this part, easy to set up KVM as well as xen (also via Yast's GUI if you want)
  • They offer a build service to build your own packages( cli or browser based web interface)
  • They offer SUSE studio a web interface where you can customize your own distro they way you like it
  • apparmor by default..

the list goes on...

I just don't see why for example Ubuntu should be to be the go-to distro for basically anybody over openSUSE, sorry.

ps: I'm aware that openSUSE is in distrowatch's top 10, distrowatch isn't a reliable source how popular a distro really is, also I'm talking more about public discussion in forums etc where Suse seems to be the forgotten one..
New user? Ubuntu, MINT! Want to learn Linux? Arch Gentoo! Server? CentOS!
Nobody seems to care about openSUSE though :(

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You forgot snapper :P

Opensuse has a bunch of users here. It is a pretty damn good distro I really wish they maintained their repositories better though.

Leap is shaping up to be something awesome.

I actually mentioned it :P

So you did, gotta be less lazy in my reading.

I think a lot of the "Use Mint or Ubuntu " mentally comes from that is what people know.

Opensuse's installer can be intimidating for some new users

I don't believe Fedora belongs in your Debian based distros, actually Fedora has more in common with OpenSuse than Ubuntu.

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I think you misread that. He was listing off distros.

Ubuntu and all ubuntu derivatives were one category.

Fedora was separate, and so was arch and gentoo etc etc

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First of all, OpenSUSE is made in Germany and therefore superior to any other Linux distro :P

I used it as a secondary OS on my machine, and for everyday use it worked well. But I couldn't use my sound card and had to use my monitor speakers. I also had issues with the Steam client, as well as trying to install Spotify and Cinelerra because I had to collect several data packages and it still did not work. :/ I am pretty sure that it was my fault because I have no experience with Linux.

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I could talk for days about why opensuse is both awesome and sucks.

And the only reason it sucks is because it is awesome.

Opensuse is not, and probably will never be a home computer distro.

It does not install itself the way other distros do, it does not have the same repo and package philosophy that other distros do, and it is certainly not the easiest distro to kit out and make your own.

Opensuse is one of the most deceptive distros because it looks so damn easy to use.

If it were not for youtube, I would not be running opensuse. I tried for hours to get opensuse to install and the issue was that I was using unebootin to burn the ISO to a flash drive.

Opensuse has instructions on how to burn the ISO to a flash drive buuuuut the problem is that is literally all they say. They simply state, here is how to burn and ISO to a flash drive. Well I and most people think they already know and that they can just skip that part.


Then when you get the USB to work, the default install partitions and file systems are spread out over all of your drives.

If you are not paying attention you can screw something up. And worse still, a number of steam games will not install on the default file systems (BTRFS).

So it just a bunch of little issues that build up to be a real pain in the ass.

Its taken me several months of experimenting before I finally feel like I am comfortable with the OS, and there are still lots of issues I need to work out.

For instance I still can not get my damn storage drive to auto mount, and I still can not disable passwords.

It took me little under a month to feel comfortable with linux mint and manjaro.

This is just my two cents, but to me yast is not a plus, but a minus. Yes I realise I could just not use it, which is in fact what I do. That said the mere fact that it exists and is available means that half the tutorials are based on it.

Yast is a wrapper. Wrappers are bad, because they hide the implementation -- they separate the solution and the problem: If something breaks and the wrapper isn't able to fix it on its own, then all the knowledge I will have amassed when using the wrapper will be useless in fixing the problem, because all that knowledge only applies to the wrapper, and not to the real problem.

I realise many people like the "ease of use" that comes with wrapping the implementation, but IMHO the better way to deal with the issue, is to improve the original implementation and making that simpler to use and think about. That way, when stuff doesn't work, the knowledge I learned up until then I can use to diagnose and fix the problem. Also I can use that knowledge on other distros, not just my own.

In short: A wrapper makes me dumber. Learning the implementation makes me smarter. Simplifying or fixing the implementation makes it smarter. In general I vote for "smarter". Smarter me, smarter implementation.

The starting point of the OP is the same as the starting point of the "Why is linux not as big as it should be" or "why is linux not as much used as Windows" kind of things... the starting point is objectively wrong, and marketing exposure is being accepted as truth...

Like... since when is Ubuntu a "main distro"? It's a partial Debian fork, it's not a major distro at all, and certainly not a main distro. With the newer generations, Manjaro is much more popular than Ubuntu, and Arch is much more popular than Debian. OpenSuSE/SuSE statistically is the ONLY GNU/Linux distro that has never dimished in popularity, it has never grown explosively either, it just grows steadily from year to year, without making too much noise, without too much craziness, but it's the distro that's most used by industry and the academic world. It's also the only distro that companies like IBM have always offered and have always supported. It's also the one distro that Microsoft solution providers have been reselling for years (and of course they're not advertising that, but the sales figures are quite impressive).

SuSE is one of the oldest GNU/Linux distros. It has always been an independent operation within the group that owned the company, and that is mainly due to the OpenSuSE community, which is the largest RPM-community out there, and is basically the RedHat community plus the Fedora community plus the SuSE developers all together.

By being Germany based, OpenSuSE/SuSE offers much better support in languages other than just English, and can benefit from the massive community in the world that has problems with the ethics of the US industry and government. It so happens that the parts of the world that have the most objections against the Murican way, are also the parts of the world where open source development has grown the most.

For companies, SuSE is a very good choice because there is a very large network of service providers everywhere. You literally can get certified efficient help everywhere for SuSE, but you can't for RHEL for instance.

Yeah, but I could just as easily flip that around and say that the hall mark of a good OS is that no one should HAVE to put in effort into using it.

You can make any distro as hard as you want it to be. You can go figure out all sorts of dark magic on your own time at your own leisure.

Making a distro simpler is hard. And that is what opensuse has done, they have made certain elements of the OS a lot simpler.

You can still have your learning experience in the terminal, but you do not HAVE to learn.

And keep in mind that learning does not always lead to making something better. I know of a lot of stupid problems. I know how to work around them. I have 0 idea how to fix them.

Why do you think you have to write in such a condescendingly way when you're not stating facts at all but talk about highly subjective topics and even get some facts wrong yourself?
Calm down a little bit professor.

Nothing is 'objectively' right or wrong here, I explicitly said I wanted to discuss about:

So as long as you didn't collect statistics about how often people advised which distro I really don't see how you can say there is something objectively right or wrong.
Or you just don't know the meaning of this word.
Of course this 'unpopularity' is only my impression, it is highly subjective, period.
That's why I wrote

SEEM to be -> seem to me

Again why do you feel you have to correct that or educate somebody if there aren't any objectively wrong facts in this sentence because there aren't any facts at all in this sentece?
There is no such a thing like a major distro or a main distro.
I simply used those terms to describe the more popular families of GNU/Linux distros.
Major distro or main distro aren't officially defined or a scientific or technical terms at all, if you think otherwise please link some computer science book or official documentation of the Linux foundatoin, the free standards group or other 'authorities' who define that.
if such a definition doesn't exist why do you feel you have to play the role of a teacher and correct the usage of those terms?

As you seem to think that's a fact, numbers please.

So again, you found a reliable way to determinate the popularity of every available Linux distro, you have statistics based upon that dating back since the release of every distro and you read that fact out of those statistics?
Please share them with the world :)

No it's not. It's usage is behind RHEL in industry according to SUSE gmbh themselves.

True but on the other hand being based in Germany it doesn't allow them to include packages in the official repos which people with security engineering or pen testing background might find useful but which aren't conform with German 'hacker laws' which are stricter than US laws when it comes to deployment of security related software.

I don't try to attack you, I just don't understand why you would come in here correct things if there isn't anything to correct, tell people who want to discuss subjective opinions why they are objectively wrong and don't add any useful facts yourself plus spread one or two wrong facts yourself.

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That's Zoltan's unbridled enthusiasm when it comes to linux, Germany and Europe. Light on facts makes it easier to embelish a statement.

As for your original post, I agree with a lot that you have said. openSUSE is definitely a very good distro, much more user friendly than most of the distros out there because of Yast2. Great for virtualization too.

I guess that most people prefer Ubuntu because of the marketing. And the fact that linux games advertise compatibility for Ubuntu, same with GPU drivers. That's basically marketing too.

I've used it in the past, I've installed it on people's laptops, and I'm going to switch to it again this week.

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well i personaly dont realy think that open suse is that overlooked imo.
Open Suse / Suse, is still a big dog wenn it comes to the linux core members.
Especialy in enterprise envoirements.
This basicly also counts for Red Hat / Fedora.

Ubuntu might be a bit over hyped, but this is also because it offers a better experiance out of the box for starters and home users,
and it got pre-installed on some machines.
But Ubuntu has also lost allot of its populairity, with the way they decided to go, especialy their Unity ui.
You can basicly refer this to all the diffrent flavors there are from Ubuntu.
But other Debain based distro´s are also realy popular now days, like Linux Mint.

But the bottom line is, in the end its still a matter of personal preference and needs realy.
In the core they are basicly all Linux.

Well I don't think openSuSe users goes into the distro flame war.
I myself use openSuSe (privatly) and it is a good OS. But I don't mind talking about the distro all the time.
I mostly use it for fpga prototyping and asic development and it is very well supported by the main manufacturers of fpgas. It is just like RHEL and fedora it is a very enterprise kind of situation, where people use the free system at home and the enterprise editions at work.

OpenSuSe is easy to set up and is also very stable in the LXDE version. So I think that most people running openSuSE are mostly Electrical engineers and computer scientists, and it seems like it is more important what you can do in openSuSe than the OS itself (for the users of it). The OpenSuSe community seems pretty fine.

The care for the OS is found the good documentation and the packages contributed and not in talk about it.
I usually recommend OpenSuSe for the newbie, since it is easily modifiable for a newbie, while it still has a good amount of packages and tutorials for every class of user.

But I really don't care what OS people run, since I also run windows 8.1 for games (it is currently the best supported OS for games). But OpenSuSe is the daily driver. If people want to run Arch Linux (if you want to do the hard work yourself), PCBSD (freebsd with easy setup), DragonflyBSD (good for emulation) and so on, on their Desktop or Laptop PC they hopefully have their reasons to runs these OSs on their systems over another OS. I started on RedHat back 1998 and have shifted a lot of distros before I settled on OpenSuSe. People should focus more on the awesome opensource software for these systems instead like : GHDL, Maxima and Scilab instead of all the distro flame wars.
But that is just an opinion.

That wouldn't be flipping it at all, you'd be right. A good OS is simple to use.

Indeed making a distro simpler is hard, and whether OpenSUSE has done that, I shan't comment on. However, yast does not make anything simpler. IMO wrappers like yast make things harder, not because they are hard to use, but because they hide the truth. If you live on a lie you are fine only as long as the lie doesn't fracture, and when the lie does break down, you're utterly lost.

But that is just the half of it.
Generally there exist two problems:

  • a thing may be poorly implemented
  • a thing may be poorly documented

Wrappers try to circumvent both problems, but wrappers are the wrong fix, because they don't actually fix either, they just make the original problem harder, because fewer people are invested in fixing the original implementations. The proper way to simplify things is to improve either the original implementation (or provide a secondary implementation) or improve the documentation.

Not having to learn is nonsensical, you cannot help but learn. If you do, you learn. If you do yast, you learn yast. I'm not speaking of terminal vs. gui. I'm saying that wrapping problems makes for bad solutions. I'm saying that solutions should be native, gui or no. When you use solution for something, that experience ought to be teaching you about what to do the day your solution breaks (or at least hinting you in the right direction).

@MisteryAngel I myself left Ubuntu, when they included Amazon search and Mark Shuttleworth when asked about it, went all power-trippy and said:

You suckers, complaining that we installed Amazon search. Puny users! We have root on your machines, we can do whatever we F#"%&# like! :p MUAHAHAHAHAHahahahahahahaHAHAHAHHAHA.... evil laugh continues.... evil laugh continues some more.... cough, cough, gah, cough, HA!

(I might have paraphrased it a little), but yeah, so after that I thought my trust would be better invested somewhere else :D

I understand what you are saying (and agree to a certain extend) but I don't see this as a point against the existence of yast or wrappers in general not even against using them.

Configuring things in GUI wrappers often comes down to a handful of clicks - learning what you actually do is a complete different thing, but neither of those two things - using a simple GUI vs learning how to set-up the same thing from CLI with the underlying tools - is exclusive.

Knowing an Assembly language and processor architecture makes you smarter and doesn't hide any implementations.
Does that mean it's a bad thing to write a 20 lines Python script for certain purposes instead of sitting down for a week and implement the same thing in x86?

I learned how to set-up VMs with qemu+kvm from scratch inclusive networking, snapshots, tweaks & tricks but that doesn't mean I can't appreciate a simple 3 click set-up with virt-manager for example.

Well also that yes, Canonical went to bed with Amazon.
And allot of the core members were not that happy about that.

The trouble is that once a wrapper exists people stop documenting and fixing the original implementation. Instead they work on the wrapper and it's documentation, thus adding another layer to the problem instead of simplifying the original one.

GUIs are great for editing config files, enabling and disabling settings (so long as the options in the GUI map the options in the config file 1:1), GUIs are great at giving you an overview of data and events. I've got nothing against GUIs. Also I'm not advocating that everything be hand coded in Assembler, what I'm opposed to is layers: In your coding example it would translate to: If you wrote a python script to generate a ruby script, that in turn generates a java file that generates a c-file compiled to assembly. And when I say native, I mean it should be within the same layer.

When someone writes a wrapper, a) it's a symptom that the implementation or documentation is poor, b) it's proof that there exists a way to fix the implementation if it was at fault.

I haven't much used virt-manager, but I do appreciate a simple 3 click GUI set-up as well, however, if a 3-click set-up is possible in a wrapper, why shouldn't it be possible to for qemu to do the same? Well of course it is, and in fact qemu is a great example of a good implementation, because all you need to get started is

$ qemu -hda disk.img

The way I see it a GUI/CLI should generally not run commands, the GUI/CLI should be the command. If you really want to run multiple commands, put them in a script, that you can open and edit, and if you like make a gui that displays the commands in order allowing you to edit them there as well (informing the user where the edits happen).

@MisteryAngel Yeah, I was especially upset about that, because that was the release when they began asking for donations, and I in good faith donated quite a bit of money, only to feel completely violated afterwards.

If at least they hadn't enabled it by default, I might have been okay with it. But sneaking it in, and then bragging about having root access on my machine… that was just too much for me.