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openSUSE:Opensuse for admins

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This page is part of the talking points, and explains why offers a selection of desktops instead of just one

This page will give you, as an openSUSE ambassador, arguments in a discussion about the value of openSUSE for admins and people who want to set up a server.

The page is under construction and mostly contains a random bunch of arguments... Feel free to add any braindump or question you have! If you have arguments against having both, add those too, we can discuss them and make even better arguments for the ambassadors.


We try to answer the following questions:

  • how easy & complete is openSUSE versus Microsoft Small Business Server
  • is openSUSE secure?
  • do I need to think about viruses and other threats?
    • As an administrator, you always need to consider these threats, regardless of what operating system you are using. That said, there's a difference between "threat" and "vulnerability" and openSUSE with its use of open source allows the community to quickly identify and eliminate vulnerabilities that lead to threats. And openSUSE provides two major firewalls for your server environment, the SuSE Firewall and .

Just like a snowflake, no two networks are alike and administrators have to consider the potential risks to their environments. As such, a number of additional packages are available for specific types of security, such as intrusion detection, network analysis, and reporting. And all are free.

  • Do I have to spend much time on it?

Ask the questioner what they want to do on the server. What's the service intent? A web server? A database server? A file/print server? Provide information accordingly to the answer.

  • can I get support?

openSUSE as a distro releases a new version every 8 months and provides an 18-month lifecycle for each release. Security updates and software updates are provided free of charge throughout the life cycle. In addition, the community provides support through mailing lists, forums and Internet Relay Chat (IRC.)

However, if you require a higher level of support (i.e., telephone support), we recommend you to consider SUSE Linux Enterprise edition with 7 year maintenance support.

If you require a longer support than the 18 months openSUSE is supported for, the openSUSE Evergreen project is there which aims to provide long(er) time support for past openSUSE releases.

  • But is openSUSE well supported?
    • openSUSE is a Tier 1 distribution that can get bugfixes faster upstream to for example the kernel developers than most other distributions

In many cases, the upstream IS openSUSE ... Greg K-H (stable kernel maintainer) works on openSUSE. openSUSE also maintains network management in KDE and much more.

  • How does openSUSE do in cloud environments?

Have you seen SUSE Studio? You can customise your own distro images and deploy them (EC2, various VM's, actual installable iso's, etc) ... it's exceedingly cool, and unique to openSUSE. openSUSE supports pretty much all virtual machine technologies, and does them well. YaST makes managing easy, and WebYast is awesome on a cloud server so you don't have to SSH in to make changes! Even if you do, you don't have to edit config files by hand, remember, as YaST has a nice NCURSES interface. Absolutely unique!

  • so how good is zypper?
    • Zypper is amazing, really. It is VERY fast: fastest yet most accurate solver out there. And it downloads binary diff's of packages and even of repository info files - from multiple servers at once! Thanks to mirrorbrain our mirror infrastructure is second to none. zypper is also very robust in not leaving your system in a broken state due to dependencies.
  • How is openSUSE hardware support?
    • Both SLES and openSUSE are very good at enterprise hardware support. Think about RAID cards, SAS, 10Gb networking and even specific drivers for hardware monitoring. This is because the SUSE developers are of course working a lot with corporate partners so this is high on their agenda. This is certainly not the case with non-enterprise distributions (which means anything besides Red Hat and SUSE, yes, Canonical/Ubuntu is childrens play in the enterprise world with a <1% marketshare).

Note some of the very largest supercomputers in the world run SLES. There is a good reason for that! IBM, VMWARE, Oracle and SAP all work mostly with SUSE!

go brainstorm and answer the questions!