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openSUSE:Why openSUSE

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This page is part of the talking points, and explains what is good about openSUSE in general :D

The page is under construction. Feel free to add any brain dump 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.

Why should someone choose openSUSE?


The elevator pitch for someone who doesn't know GNU/Linux, openSUSE, Free Software very well or at all:

I'm part of a community called openSUSE. We create so-called "Free Software". That 'free' is about Freedom, not price. We create and promote software that has a license which explicitly permits you to study how it works and modify it, give or sell copies to friends and use it however you want. This is very important for people in poorer countries. You can learn to program or adapt the software to your local needs, translate it (big companies usually ask money for that) and use it in schools or libraries. But Free Software also matters in places where your freedom is limited by your government. Imagine that you could modify the software on your blackberry to not use the server on which your government listens in!

Free Software makes you a better friend. You can share Free Software with all your friends legally. Copying something is not piracy for us! For you it means you have no illegal software on your computer, with the risk of viruses, or having to go to jail.

Companies use it a lot as well. Because of our license, they are forced to collaborate on software - and many companies have discovered that actually gets them further than competing. If you make hardware, why not work with other hardware makers to ensure you have good software and don't have to spend too much money on it?

Free Software is usually a lot more secure and stable. And while you will encounter a learning curve (new is always difficult) it is usually quite easy to use and in some areas much nicer than the non-free competition like Microsoft's or Apple's products.

A good thing is that you can use it very easily and with no strings attached - our openSUSE DVD contains a full computer system with all the software you need for browsing, image editing or office work. And it can run next to your existing Windows installation so you don't have to remove it right away!

I personally work on it because of the fun I get from it - but also because I believe it helps make the world a better place.

Key Points: - Free Software and freedom; safety and stability, price; complete, easy and fun.

Advanced users

The pitch for someone who knows Linux and distros but isn't too technical:

openSUSE is one of the oldest major Linux distributions, second largest right now. We provide a more stable, less experimental solution than most other Linux distributions, which is also a bit easier to modify and configure for power users. It does have a little bit more of a learning curve, but the end result is worth it. Especially if you want to play with setting up a simple printer server, want to work with Virtual Machines or do development. But there are also plenty of games and office tools, so everyone should find something good!

openSUSE comes with tens of thousands of applications and you can get many more online. We have a double-sided DVD (64bit) as opposed to just a single-side CD like most other Linux distributions, so it is a lot more complete out of the box.

But maybe even more important than that is that we have a great community which does lots of new, cool things. One example is that we offer 'Tumbleweed' version of our system for our users. Tumbleweed is a version of openSUSE with the latest stable updates of all of your applications. You won't need to hunt them down one by one on your own, nor do you have to wait 8 months for a big upgrade! You smoothly 'roll' towards the latest openSUSE version and by the time we do a new release, our Tumbleweed users are using it already!

Another unique feature of the openSUSE community is that we collaborate a lot with other Linux distributions. Our software building infrastructure, for example, can also easily build Ubuntu and Fedora packages! This is of course very nice for developers, especially because it is easy to use via a web interface, but it is also awesome for our users as they can get a lot of software!

So it is Free and Open - a great product.

Key Points: - Large, well supported distro. Learning curve, but customizable; community projects, apps, Tumbleweed, collaboration, OBS

FOSS developers

A pitch to someone who is active in Free Software and knows quite a bit about Linux distributions and development, who possibly works on a Free Software project or has done so before:

As you probably know, openSUSE is the second largest Linux distribution. We have a 12 month release schedule, which gives us a tad more time to stabilize things. Thanks to the Open Build Service, where we have about 120.000 packages being build by almost 30.000 people, we have a huge selection of up-to-date software. And thanks to Tumbleweed, a rolling-release version of our distro, you don't have to wait 6 to 12 months for a new release, but you can smoothly roll towards the latest openSUSE, enjoying the newest Free Software that openSUSE has to offer - all the time! Our distribution (both Tumbleweed and Leap versions) are tested by our automated, high-quality openQA system.

OBS brings me to another great thing about openSUSE: we are a very collaborative and open community. The collaboration you see in OBS, as it doesn't just build for openSUSE but actually supports 21 distributions on 6 architectures! That includes Ubuntu, Fedora and others - and for each of those the latest 2 or 3 versions. And OBS is easy to use - thanks to its web interface, you can package Linux software for 21 distributions from a Windows workstation or even your Android phone! Moreover, we don't have technical steering groups or other people who tell us what to do - our major sponsors, including SUSE, are very laissez-faire so we are in control of our own future. We are even working with them on setting up an openSUSE Foundation. That freedom is not the case for every corporate-sponsored Linux distribution so we consider it a feature of openSUSE!

So OBS is a typical example of what we do. Another great product is SUSE Studio, which allows you to build a fully customized Linux distribution in just a few mouse clicks in the web interface. It even features a 45 minute testrun so you can play with the product before you download it as VM, CD, hard drive or USB image! Cherry on the cake is direct, one-click deployment to Amazon's Cloud. Yup, that's right, build a full server with custom packages and configuration, ready to go, from a web browser - and deploy it from there as well.

So we're a very open and nice community which works within and for Free Software. And we offer a very powerful Linux distribution as well as awesome software developer and sysadmin tools around it. If you want to know more, I'll gladly explain a bit more!

Key Points: - Release schedule, packages and OBS, Tumbleweed. Community collaboration and freedom, Foundation, SUSE Studio, development tools.

More details

Now a more extensive list of arguments why someone should use openSUSE:

Because of the openSUSE distribution

  • the openSUSE distribution is the most comprehensive Linux distribution. From the installation to the tools available.
    • during the installation a novice user can let the system choose the best options for him and the expert can tweak the system exactly to his needs.
    • openSUSE is very cautious as to never delete other installed systems without explicit command from the user.
    • openSUSE has the best partitioner ever, it's the only one that manages RAID at install time. We also manage btrfs partitioning correctly.
    • openSUSE's installation process is extremely fast. On a modern computer, the default, extremely complete KDE install last in approximately 15 minutes.
    • if needed, openSUSE can install from an only 50Kb netboot CD (needs broadband internet connection).
  • openSUSE offers one of the biggest software lists, ready to install from the standard repositories and certainly the biggest list of available software thanks to the Build Service. All this software deals with the dependencies automatically.
  • choosing an online repository is extremely easy from our system management tool - YaST
  • all the update file downloads are dynamically done from, for any file the best mirror is automatically choosen for the user.
  • openSUSE offers YaST and webyast. YaST is the most comprehensive and easy to use computer administration tool on Linux, and via WebYast, also usable from a remote connection via your web browser. YaST also works fine with manual changes so an expert can change the setup without problems.
  • The zypper package manager in openSUSE is very flexible, feature full and extremely fast, yet easy to use.
  • openSUSE offers Tumbleweed, an always-up-to-date rolling-release version of our system.
  • openSUSE supports all major desktops - not as separate or less-important spins, but as first-class citizens. The choice is yours!
  • openSUSE chooses stability over super-bleeding edge. We want to push the boundaries of Free Software and technology but we make sure our end product is stable and usable by using our openQA platform to rapidly test our software.
  • It is one of the distributions with the best hardware support.

Because of the openSUSE infrastructure and technology

  • openSUSE offers the Build Service which can be used to easily build packages for all major Linux distributions including the latest few versions of Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora, RHEL, SLES and more. This means that even if you don't use the openSUSE distribution, developers can and should use OBS!
  • KIWI
  • Educational Li-f-e
  • openQA
  • Documentation
  • More?

Because of the openSUSE community

  • The openSUSE community is a true bottom-up Free Software community which is not lead by a strong hand from above. This means community members are free to pursue new initiatives, spurring innovation and making it a more fun place to be around.
  • openSUSE cares deeply about the Free Software ecosystem and collaborates closely with upstream projects and other distributions.
    • examples of collaboration projects by openSUSE: Appstream, with the goal of sharing application installer technology and information like user ratings, comments and screenshots, was started by Vuntz of openSUSE and sponsored by us. openSUSE still in the lead! Same with bretzn which aims to build a system for developers to easily build packages (on OBS) and distribute them directly from their IDE. Then there is Kai-Uwe Behrmann who pushes openICC, sharing color profiles of monitors between free desktops and distributions.
  • openSUSE is working on setting up a Foundation to protect its independence and its sponsors support it. This means our future is well-protected!
  • Planet openSUSE is a feed aggregator that collects what openSUSE contributors are writing in their respective blogs
  • Connect is the framework we are currently testing to manage users and group memberships in the openSUSE project
  • a place that is worth reading by openSUSE community and people interesting in openSUSE by informing them about what's going on and showing them how to engage with the project
  • Ambassador Program help spread the word about the openSUSE Project and encourage more people to become part of the openSUSE Community
  • More?

Because of the openSUSE ecosystem

  • If you want to use SUSE commercially, SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE) is available. It is the second largest commercial Linux version (after RHEL). Note that RHEL and SLE together have over 90% of the commercial market - others simply are not a safe choice! It has the best linux support in the industry, offers great interoperability with other operating systems, is perfect for mission critical computing and more.
  • There is enduser support available for buyers of the openSUSE box
  • SUSE Studio (a Novell product) offers a super tool for building appliances and custom operating systems. If you are a sysadmin or linux consultant, you should know it!
  • Derivate-workers and companies which are engaged into making openSUSE better and giving the user an unique user feeling. Some of them distribute the openSUSE box edition. However, you get the freedom to choose wherever you get your openSUSE from.
  • More?