openSUSE 12.2 Review | LAS | s23e06

openSUSE 12.2 Review | LAS | s23e06

One of the best performing distributions we’ve reviewed, but is this Linux legend held down by it’s complicated legacy? Or does it pull ahead as a distribution innovator? Tune in for our review!

Plus: We’ll finally explain why you can’t count on Distrowatch’s numbers, why Linux hardware from Valve seems certain, and an awesome new space shooter for Linux!

And so much more!

All this week on, The Linux Action Show!

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openSUSE 12.2 Review:


Brought to you by: System76


openSUSE 12.2 is one of the most integrated and well done KDE experiences I’ve used. The team’s guiding rule of stability and maturity in packages where appropriate, and cutting edge where needed, balanced by their 8 month release cycle could be a model for other distros to look at.

openSUSE does feel a bit weighed down by some legacy, with some tasks seeming overly complex (even if just in appearance or UI function). YaST could once be defined as the definitive tool to use for any type of system change, from your X11 resolution to package updates. But today more and more functionality is leaving YaST as the desktops start to integrate these tools.

This leaves a powerhouse of a tool less and less functional.

openSUSE 12.2 looks like a race car, and drives like a race car. But when you open the hood, you discover it’s sitting on top of a semi truck engine with all the good and bad.

The result is a bit of a mixed message, I don’t see openSUSE as a strong contender in the server rack (when up against RHEL, SLES, and Ubuntu LTS) and it’s loaded with desktop goodies. And while I think they’ve got a great desktop, it feels like it could still use a bit more attention and focus to really make it a standout experience. I think the openSUSE team has the talent to pull it off, but I think the question is if they want to.


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30 Responses to “openSUSE 12.2 Review | LAS | s23e06”

  1. Marco Shamas Says:

    About Wikimedia stats read what Jef Spaleta replied to me days ago:
    “By default the browsers in Mint still use a user agent string with Ubuntu in it. I know, I checked. I booted a Mint 12 installation and checked its useragent string myself. I guess I should check Mint 13 now as well. Wikimedia can’t tell the difference between a typical Ubuntu and a typical Mint client, making any comparison between the Ubuntu and Mint numbers suspect. Based on what I know of the default useragent strings, and my review of the scripts wikimedia uses to digest their logs.. I will say that noone really has any idea how much of that Ubuntu usage in the stats is really Mint usage. Noone.”

  2. ChrisLAS Says:

    Well that would make quite the difference!

    The reality is, Mint Linux is obviously a really strong distro, and has a lot of people using it.

    But I suspect the results are the same, perhaps the difference is just less dramatic.

  3. Felix Nielsen Says:

    Where is that poll?

  4. undefined Says:

    Where is the poll?

  5. undefined Says:

    Found it ^^ you spelled gento with one o missing, so searching for gentoo didn’t work 😀

  6. jason Says:

    yast2 is extremely usefull, especially from the command line when running a server. try setting up or Integrating a LDAP server on the command line on ubuntu 12.04. plus the clustering tools ( gfs , ocfs2 , pacemaker etc) actually work on opensuse compared to ubuntu.

  7. Matt Hartley Says:

  8. Marco Shamas Says:

    As far as I can see only very old Mint releases had a different user agent string. I’m on Linux Mint 11 right now and my browser has the same string of Ubuntu Natty (I don’t know about Mint 13, maybe someone that is using it can go here and tell us:

    Without the right user agent string in Firefox it’s impossible to compare the Mint’s popularity with Ubuntu.Also Google Chrome just shows Linux (x64)
    Mint popularity increased a lot after Unity became the default desktop for Ubuntu, but there is no way to know how much. If Mint 13 uses the same Ubuntu’s user agent string the only thing we know is that 0.01% is refereed to people that are still using very old Mint releases.

  9. Steevu Says:

    That image on the Ubuntu Tablet you didn’t like, It’s an icon set not a screen. Did you not notice on the image with the calendars and Andre Agassi that they were icons along the top and bottom of the screen?

  10. ChrisLAS Says:

    Oh that’s what I get for doing that while on air! Brain fail.

  11. Matt Hartley Says:

    Ah, thanks for the heads up. I was wondering about that! :)

  12. Mohan Says:

    Would love it if you guys review PC-BSD and bring Alan on that episode for it.

    Edit: Great episode BTW!

  13. Charles Lanman Says:

    Please do a review on Peppermint OS Three!

  14. Lachlan Holmes Says:

    I can’t wait for the PC-BSD reveiw!

  15. Harald Hoyer Says:

    About the browser statistics of Linux distributions: Not all distributions include the distribution in the “User Agent” ID of the browser. For example Fedora does not do this since Firefox 4. So all Fedora statistics in web page statistics are users with Firefox <= 4. The rest ends up in "Linux Other".

  16. greg k-h Says:

    I think you are missing 90% of what yast is for. The only thing you discussed for X11 resolution and software management. You should take a look at the other functions, such as the server add ons, /etc/sysconfig, kiwi, add on, profile, iso, managers, or something beyond simple tasks that admins do not need to touch.

    Yast is great for admins, and I do agree, for end users, most of that functionality has been integrated in the DE’s.

    But don’t forget about remote administration, where you can use yast from ncurses over ssh to help the end user change these simple things that most users can not figure out on their own.

    I believe that you might be taking for granted that you actually “know” how to change the resolution. Deploy _any_ OS in a real use environment and take a guess how calls the help desk will have to field about how to change the resolution. Do you want to instruct the user how to right click, click this option, that option, or drill through a menu in the DE — or ssh + yast to change these “simple” tasks.

    But — the GTK software manager bites, I’ll give you guys that, beyond that, I think you were overly critical. For as “nick picky” as you on openSUSE, if you were to apply this same cynicism towards Ubuntu, it would end up in the trash.

  17. Matt Hartley Says:

    Well as I said on the show, I’ll be spending more time with the release. And we did harsh YaST’s calm a bit, no question. And I was being overly kind. YaST today is really poorly thought out and in dire need of a refresh in my opinion. The areas we were harshest on, were the areas where it needed the most work. Everything else was, YaST-like — nothing to write home about.

    We do agree on this –Yast is great for admins. And that’s about it. YaST is great for the enterprise desktop. It’s horrid for newbies and casual users, though.

    I will say I LOVED the installation, I loved the speed, and I will be spending more time with the release.

  18. Matt Hartley Says:

    Yast is great for admins. YaST is painful for casual users, though. And a few threads I’m following from users on G+ appear to agree with this perspective.

  19. DF Says:

    Where’s Chris’ reviewer hat?! :)

  20. Las Says:

    Alll this week Bryan is no longer on the Linux action showwwwwa

  21. ChrisLAS Says:

    I think I have to save that for my Fedora reviews, to keep it special!

  22. ChrisLAS Says:

    I don’t totally disagree, but have you tried the latest YaST? There is just not much going on in there any more.

    Sure I can tweak sysconfig, or change my grub settings. And that is VERY valuable. But compared to what YaST used to be, it’s just not as feature rich.

    Still useful tho.

  23. Mattt Says:



  24. Rob Williams Says:

    I agree with most of what’s said about openSUSE in the show, and it’s a little unfortunate. I started out Linux life with a bit of Red Hat and then Caldera, finally moving onto SuSE – and it’s what made me love Linux. While I don’t use it on a regular basis now, I’ve always had a soft-spot for it.

    Unfortunately, lately I haven’t really been able to recommend it to folks as often as I once did, and I do believe YaST has a lot to do with it – well, that and the fact that I can’t seem to install it without encountering some bizarre issues that makes me want to reinstall and start fresh again (I can’t get NVIDIA drivers working properly in 12.2, for example). I do hope things improve in the future though, because I want to see the distro thrive as it once did.

    As for Gentoo, I’d love to see a multi-show review of it. I’ve been using it full-time for the past six years, so I’m obviously familiar with it, but I love seeing other opinions of it, and maybe even learn something I didn’t clue into before.

    And I’m of the camp that the big show is better now than ever before. Definitely keep up the good work (and don’t you dare go anywhere, Matt).

  25. Jason Says:

    I installed openSUSE 12.2 last night and I loved the installation. I had been using Ubuntu (you guys said to try Unity for a week and give it a chance and it kept crashing on me whenever I’d try and fiddle with it). But tonight I installed Slackware 14 RC 4. I want a stable KDE, I want a stable distro. I’m not entirely sure that Slackware is any more stable than openSUSE but in my mind it is. I’m sick of distro-hopping, I’ll leave that up to you guys. BTW, I voted for the multipart Gentoo review. I installed it recently and you learn a TON. I think it is as polar opposite of Ubuntu or Mint as you can get in Linux. I’d be really interested in what you two have to say about it.

  26. dreff Says:

    chris you need to see a doctor your pronouncing of words on the show’s are getting to a level that i have to listen twice to understand i think you either ask how to say some words or dont bother because its kinda worrying your level of decline over the past 12 months

  27. tin Says:


  28. Matt Hartley Says:

    ???? Are you referring to a typo or something else? Without some context, you lost me.

  29. Jack Says:

    It pains me to hear you guys rip on tablets so hard. I’m holding out for a good GNU/Linux tablet (Not Android, I mean the real deal), because I really love using a machine in that context. I hated the netbook I had, and while an Ultrabook might be better for “productivity,” I do a lot of actual work on my Nexus 7. For me, it’s not a toy…it’s a better way of looking at work-related materials than on my phone, and it’s so much lighter than my ThinkPad that more often than not, I’ll bring my tablet to a meeting than my laptop. I think you guys (read: Matt) are missing the point of what a tablet is supposed to be for. It’s not for writing code, working in GIMP or anything like that…it’s for web browsing, reading and other low-power tasks that require more screen real estate than a phone. Just think about it, is all.

  30. Symon Hambrey Says:

    I’m loving Glances! Run it in a full screen, semi-transparent Guake terminal and you’re only F12 away from your system stats. Nice pick Chris!

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