openSUSE 13.1 review – an OS for grown-ups

Apps & Apps
openSUSE offer apps via its main repositories, community repositories and through 3rd party repositories. Once you enable the pacman repo you get access to thousands of packages out there. Then you have software.opensuse.org which allows you to easily search and install packages with one click. Every software that’s available for Linux is available for openSUSE so there is no dearth of applications.

Hardware support
openSUSE 13.1 has great support for hardware, everything that I have worked out of the box.

Best Linux experience
openSUSE offers, in my opinion, the best Linux experience – every piece of it works very well with other pieces. With openSUSE you get the feel of running one OS and not some disjointed pieces put together an as OS.

I have couple of desktop environments installed on my system and no matter which environments I am in if I fire up any openSUSE tool it will open it using the appropriate tool kit so I get a consistent experience.

What’s desired
There are several things that leaves me desiring for more in openSUSE 13.1. While it’s extremely easy to install 3rd party apps via software.opensuse.org, there is a need of a desktop tool integrated with YaST which allows me to search and add packages without having to open the web browser. There used to be a command like tool cnf which enabled one to search and install packages from OBS but its defunct. There are plans for Ubuntu Software Center for openSUSE along with a tool written by KDE folks, but none are there yet. However if you are using Gnome then it’s Software  center, simply called Software, can search and install packages from official repos (still not all of OBS). Being an Arch user I crave for Yourt or Packar for openSUSE.

Conclusion
So what conclusion do I drive after using openSUSE 13.1? Before concluding, I would like to point out some reasons why have I chosen openSUSE over the one that I had been using since 2005?

  1. openSUSE is more and more community driven project.
  2. It’s a distribution for grown-up who want some serious work to be done.
  3. It’s extremely polished and offers a consistent experience across the OS.
  4. Extremely user friendly – no need to fire up the terminal.
  5. It’s being built by the same people who are writing Linux kernel and developing core open source technologies – so it just feel good.
  6. It’s extremely secure and respects user’s privacy. It chooses security by design instead of privacy invasion by default.
  7. It offers great integration with different desktop environments so it doesn’t matter if you use KDE or GNOME or Xfce you will be treated as a first class citizen.
  8. Total control over your system via YaST, at the same time total customization of the OS.
  9. A very friendly developer community which minds it’s own business instead of mudslinging.

So the conclusion I draw is that openSUSE is a great operating system for those users who want the work to be done. It’s a perfect OS for those who want their privacy to be respected. It’s a very user-friendly operating system for those who wants to migrate from Windows. In a nutshell, it’s a modern GnuLinux OS which will take care of your computing needs. The icing on the cake is that openSUSE 13.1 will be supported for three years under Evergreen initiative so if you want stability with an enterprise grade OS, you know which one it is.

So if you have not tried openSUSE yet, what are you waiting for. The download button is here:

Download openSUSE 13.1

Special thanks to new openSUSE user Chad McCullough for peer-reviewing this review.

88 thoughts on “openSUSE 13.1 review – an OS for grown-ups

  1. I’m not an Ubuntu / Unity fanboy, but, can you please make the review
    less Ubuntu-centric? You mentioned Ubuntu 4 times, and Unity once, in an openSUSE-related article.

    It’s not a good habit to praise something while bashing something else. The text would be more pleasant to read if there was no such Ubuntu fixation.

    1. In lieu of the Ubuntu-centric issues, I think Ubuntu was used as an example because 1) Ubuntu and Canonical have been in the spotlight lately with some of their practices and implementations and 2) because everyone (mostly) is familiar with Ubuntu and how it works out of the “box” in regards to security and their tendency to play fast and loose with some of the integrations that they have chosen to include in recent releases. Were the comparisons necessary? Not really. Ubuntu is considered the “gold standard” in regards to linux by a vast majority of the community, and the comparisons made may be argued to be “inflamatory”, but that was clearly not the purpose of this article. For those unfamiliar with Ubuntu, or their practices, this may be found informative. All that aside, I have used Ubuntu for awhile, and I like the distro. Its a good product, but the amount of post installation configurations I have had to do for each release drives me crazy. With openSuse in general, I have found a more pollished experience, less post installation configuring and a more “complete” OS overall. Great article, good read. Thanks.

      1. The references to Ubuntu was/is nothing more than pandering. As a user of both distros I fully appreciate what Canonical is attempting to do with its lenses/scopes. Most of the noise being made about it is much ado about nothing. No info is being sent to Amazon and it’s easy to turn the lenses/scopes off. If you’re going review something, review it and stop bringing up this, that and the other just for the sake of doing so. Other than that this was a nice review.

        1. @Cordell_Jacobs:disqus Noise is being made by not disgruntled users but by EFF and FSF and Canonical must respond to such concerns. No one cares if Amazon is getting any queries – they have their own Kindle…people care why anyone – including Canonical – is collecting such data by default. Also as @25c6066c64a7f525f6c50bc5d43bdf35:disqus said Ubuntu has sort of become the populist distro so comparison is obvious, just they was every phone used to get tested against the iPhone or every laptop is compared with Macbook AIR :-)

          1. The issues raised by the EFF were resolved by Canonical. like ssl for encrypting search queries. Nobody cares about what the FSF says, opensuse is not free according to them as it contains non-free firmware by default and has non free software in their repos

            A KDE dev had made a great post regarding this on the planet. http://www.sharpley.org.uk/blog/ubuntu-search
            Muktware’s code is closed and is run on the server. Does that mean it is spying on its users and jotting down ip addresses for tracking. Possibly not.

            Most people don’t give a shit about privacy. If they did, Android would be a total faliure. If you indeed do have an issues with your search queries being sent to Canonical’s servers, you have a choice of turning it off. So I can’t see the issue here..

            The reason why *buntu derivatives are popular, because it is simply the best distros for a new user. Stop hating on something just because it is popular. This is why Linux will continue to have 1% of the marketsshare

            Coming from someone who’s running Fedora

            Quit turning muktware into your personal anti-ubuntu hate blog

          2. Not all of EFF’s concerns (and those were the ones everyone else is complaining about) were not addressed by Canonical. The company had made it clear they are simply not going to do it – I don’t know any free software community which ignores bodies like FSF and EFF. If one doesn’t care about FSF then well…this debate is useless and without GNUGPL and all GPL software there won’t be any Ubuntu. Even Ubuntu’s mommy Debian is working on making it FSF approved OS.

            2- A KDE dev had made a great post regarding this on the planet.
            It was refuted by fellow KDE developers as he untouched many important points.

            3. Most people don’t give a shit about privacy.
            I don’t give a shit about those people. Most people don’t give a shit about GMO or clean energy so what? Most people don’t give a shit about child porn too — does that make child porn ok? Just because most people are freaking lazy to be concerned about the world they live in doesn’t mean we let them ruin it.

            3 .The reason why *buntu derivatives are popular, because it is simply the best distros for a new user. Stop hating on something just because it is popular.

            I don’t hate anything STOP this BULLSHIT of calling those who diasgree as haters. Grow up.

            4. Quit turning muktware into your personal anti-ubuntu hate blog
            I am just one among many writers … Go read other stories instead of getting too worked up because someone doesn’t like everything the company of your fav distro is doing :-)

            That’s why I said openSUSE is for grown-ups ;-)

          3. >don’t know any free software community which ignores bodies like FSF and
            EFF. If one doesn’t care about FSF then well…this debate is useless
            and without GNUGPL and all GPL software there won’t be any Ubuntu. Even
            Ubuntu’s mommy Debian is working on making it FSF approved OS.

            Debian, Fedora, Opensuse, Gentoo are not FSF approved so your point is moot. What if FSF developed GNU?

            >I don’t give a shit about those people. Most people don’t give a shit
            about GMO or clean energy so what? Most people don’t give a shit about
            child porn too — does that make child porn ok? Just because most people
            are freaking lazy to be concerned about the world they live in doesn’t
            mean we let them ruin it.

            You have the option of turning search off so I can’t see the problem here. How else do you propose to implement online search?

            >I don’t hate anything STOP this BULLSHIT of calling those who diasgree as haters. Grow up.
            Your autism is showing.

            Ubuntu is open source, doesn’t track you and you can disable online search. Nobody has yet proved that Ubuntu tracks its users so stop spreading FUD. Mint and Ubuntu are the only distros I recommend to newbies these days

  2. Thank you for this comprehensive review. It is very informative. I will try opensuse asap. It looks like it is becoming a good alternative to ubuntu.

  3. As a happy OpenSuSE user on two computers, I concur with you on the overall analysis. However, I’d like to point out one thing where I disagree : “YaST is yet another tool that sets openSUSE apart from every distributions out there.”.
    YasST is good. But definitely not on par with Mageia’s Control Center, inherited from the great Mandrake (and later Mandriva) distribution .
    MCC is the single reason I keep Mageia on most of my other computers, especially my children’s.

    IMHO, the best distro would be OpenSuSE + Mageia’s Control Center. Mageia by itself is still good, don’t get me wrong.

    1. You are right to a great extent. I wish Mageia all the success. It was Canonical’s free CD ship it program that kind of killed Mandriva….:(

  4. “Every software that’s available for Linux is available for openSUSE so there is no dearth of applications.”
    This seems an amazing claim for any Linux distro. AFAIK it is a theoretical claim, since the rarest or latest software must first be compiled from source code by a skilled technician first.
    End users like myself can only install post-compiled software. The software is internationally available a few days or months after source code is released. Ubuntu-based operating systems (Mint is my favorite, ATM) allow easily installation by either double-clicking a *.deb file(s), or easy terminal-code methods. My attempts with RPM-based distros (PCLOS, Opensuse, Fedora, etc) usually fail. Am I wrong in my opinions?

    1. I mean packages software which one can install with one click. Only OS that beats everyone else is Arch – I love packer :-) Just like .deb you can download binary .rpm files for openSUSE and install them with one click – examples are Google Chrome…Fedora is tricky as they have very strict policy for non-free software and it’s cutting edge software meant to see what’s new in open source…so it’s tricky I can’t say much about PCLinuxOS as I used it around 2005….openSUSE is a different ballgame…a great deal of software is available via is OBS – which you can access from software.opensuse.org and install them with one-click…very easy…what’s more important is that OBS is used by other distros and project to compile their own products…

  5. Interesting that the title is “an OS for grown-ups”, yet the main picture is the desktop running a gaming client. not that i mind, i just find that funny. have fun use linux!

    1. well i have to be a grown-up… i’ve just installed opensuse 13.1 and using it to type this, but if i were not as mature as i am, i would be beating my mouse into a thousand fragments. what is up with this thing? i have 4 pages of a review already written, it’s not all bad. i’ve used linux since 99 and use to buy the suse boxsets. this thing is not an easy install even though i think it is a good release. have fun use linux!

  6. My first time running SUSE, and KDE, isn’t going well, it’s got a bad driver for one of my systems. But I searched the forum and found a solution, which was in the release notes, DUH. So far I like SUSE, and I like your shirt too. I’m suggesting it to the boss at work. At home I like Mint.

  7. Well, I gave 13.1 a real go of it and I can say while it is a nice looking distro I think you rated it too high. I don’t mind an involved install, but it should not take a day to install drivers for a laser printer. It auto-detected my printer but would hang while trying to install the driver. I had to drop to the terminal and manually install them. Mint/Ubuntu does seem to play nicer with other hardware. Too bad I can’t stand Ubuntu and what they are currently doing. If Mint 16RC gets an 8.1 then I give OpenSuse 13.1 a 7.5 (tops!). Anyway, keep up the good work.

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