openSUSE is one of my favorite GnuLinux based distributions for many reasons. I run it on my main machines along with Arch Linux. I find it one of the most polished distributions around – in some cases I find it’s even easier to use than Ubuntu.
The next version of openSUSE 13.1 will be announced in November and the release candidate is out for testing. This is the phase where openSUSE users can chip in and make sure that the final release is as bug free as possible. This is the stage at which casual openSUSE users help the team in preparing the release.
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Live version may not work
I download the release candidate from here and installed it. I must note that I was not able to install from the Live editions so I picked the DVD and burn it on a disk. So if you tried the live version and it did not work out you should tried the DVD.
I was really impressed with openSUSE 13.1 RC. I was not expecting that it would work like a charm and it did. I was thinking of it to be as a test machine, but it turned out to be the machine I have been working on for the last 3 days (I usually wait for a day or two before reviewing something.)
I find it fairly much easier to install apps on openSUSE when compared with Ubuntu for two reasons. 1 Ubuntu Software Center is extremely slow and far from being polished. It displays ‘Buy’ button even for those apps which are available for free of cost. Then you have to log into your Ubuntu One account to install such apps. At the same time it can’t handle packages. For example, I install iBus for Hindi typing, but under Ubuntu it doesn’t install m17 engine needed for extra languages, and Software Center can’t find or install individual packages, you have to resort to command line or install Synaptic Package manager. Under openSUSE the Yast’s Install Remove handles everything very gracefully. Installing iBus would also install the m17 engine and you can also install individual packages – no log-on required to tell a company what software you have installed or since you have now logged in they can track other things you do on your PC. In this age of NSA and GCHQ it’s hard to trust any company which is routing your data through their servers.
Second area where, surprisingly, openSUSE is better than Ubuntu is when it come to install 3rd party apps. OpenSUSE has a great online resource at software.opensuse.org, where you can search for 3rd party apps and install it with one click. In Ubuntu installing anything from PPA is quite a lot of work. You first need to Google to find appropriate application as you had to do in Windows. Then you have to manually copy the ppa in terminal to add it to your repos and then update the ppa and then manually install the app.
OpenSUSE takes care of everything gracefully.
Everything that I needed to install was available in openSUSE. I was thinking since it’s RC it will crash often and I will have to file bug reports, but beside the issues with Live versions I have not come across any problem.
So if you want to try out openSUSE go for 12.3 and if you are an openSUSE users then you would very much like to test 13.1 and help the team in making it a bit better.