Ubuntu is one of the most popular GNU/Linux-based operating system, along with Linux Mint. Ubuntu started off as a great operating system which, with the help of LUGs and communities, became extremely popular.
However it’s not an easy task to crack the desktop market dominated by Microsoft – that’s one of the reasons why both SUSE/Novell and Red Hat decided to leave the desktop space and focus on enterprise.
Canonical started off in the same year when Facebook started and is still struggling to get a hold of the market.
The decline of PC sales forced the company to look at the other booming markets – mainly smartphones and tablets. But the company started off too late. Android is already established as a dominant Linux player in the mobile space, making it even harder for Canonical to succeed – especially when they don’t have any concrete plans and most of what they are doing is improvisation instead of initiation.
With the increasing focus on mobile has put desktop at the back-burner. Most of the talk and development is going on for mobile devices.
So from what I see desktop is no more Canonical’s priority.
At the same time Canonical/Ubuntu has been a lot in news for all the wrong reasons. It’s dispute with EFF, FSF, X.org, KDE and the larger open source community has also raised serious concerns over it’s role as a good open source citizen.
So I am noticing quite a lot of people who have started to look else where. Being a convert from Ubuntu to openSUSE I tasked myself to find can an Ubuntu user switch to openSUSE? Will openSUSE be able to address his/her computing needs? At the same time I am someone using GNU/Linux for practical as well as philosophical reasons as well which distro is closer to the Open Source community?
I have adopted Devil’s advocate approach to challenge openSUSE at doing the tasks that Ubuntu can do well and which one is better open source citizen.
Ease of use
Gnome was one of the reasons it was extremely easy to use Ubuntu, then Canonical did some great job with jockey and other stuff which made it easy to use Linux. A concept popularized by Klaus Knopper – Live CD – also contributed to this as people were able to test it before trying. But it’s passe today every GNU/Linux distribution out there is easy to install and use.
Ease of use heavily depends on what Desktop Environment you use. But if we look at the core openSUSE experience everything is extremely easy whether it’s setting up network, configuring printer, installing or managing apps or customizing the OS to your liking.
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The installation of openSUSE is as easy as is that of Ubuntu (you can see the comparison in this video – coming soon).
Better experience with desktop environment of choice
openSUSE offers GNOME, KDE, Xfce, LXDE & E17 so one can use which ever desktop environment (DE) he/she prefers. As far as base OS is concerned irrespective of the DE you use you will have access to all core features of openSUSE – whether it be YaST or anything else. In case of Ubuntu, Unity is Canonical’s baby and none of it’s features are available for other Ubuntu-based distros. openSUSE treats each DE as the first class citizen and here you can install different DEs on the same system without breaking it. Under Ubuntu Unity and Gnome don’t work very well together. With KDE apps like Ubuntu Software Center look out of place and instead of a pleasant experience it looks more or less like a Frankenstein’s monster which pieces have been stitched together.
So here openSUSE has better offering than Ubuntu
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