Thursday, December 15, 2005

SuSE v. Ubuntu

My latest battle seems to be surrounding on which version of Linux I want to use as the main distro in my household. I enjoy dabbling with various versions of Linux but always find myself coming back to SuSE and Ubuntu. I’ve been trying to convince myself to adopt one distro and fully commit to it but both of these versions of Linux have their appeals that have made it difficult to abandon one or the other.

I am a big KDE fan and that is a huge draw for me to SuSE. The eye candy appeal of SuSE is second to no other distro in my opinion. I like the “look over the shoulder” appeal SuSE commands when someone realizes that I’m not using Windows. I consider Novell/SuSE to be the stand along side Red Hat enterprise distro. That being said, SuSE is has the “look” appeal to pull a Windows user into a Linux environment. As for the normal use, it is not that difficult to toy with the repositories and add what I need to get the multimedia goodies I need along with most other packages I’d want to add to my operating system. I’ll admit that the look and feel is the paramount draw to SuSE but GUI ease of use for wireless networking is a strong sell as well. If I stumble along the way, there are quite a few strong forums available to aid me.

While I’m drawn to SuSE, Ubuntu is so hard to pull away from due to the overall ease of use. The apt-get package management is second to none and the wealth of packages available easily satisfies any user needs. I am not a fan of GNOME but KDE isn’t a far stretch away with Kubuntu but I’ve been forcing myself to use GNOME again lately. I began with GNOME desktop in Red Hat 9 but slowly abandoned it for KDE after some time. Ubuntu has oddly drawn me back to GNOME and it easily runs better on older systems than KDE. Unfortunately, not every PC in my house is of Pentium 4 Hyper Thread processing capacity and KDE doesn’t play as nice on the older less RAM machines. I’ve also come to find that sudo is a very nice friend in the computing world of Linux. While I realize that sudo is available in SuSE, you have to jump through a few more hoops to get it functioning to your needs. The biggest appeal of Ubuntu is the support. The Ubuntu forum is the single best support I’ve ever seen for a Linux distro and it’s free.

As you can see, each has their strengths and either of their weaknesses are so trivial or easily circumvented that it doesn’t permit complaints. Currently, I find myself dual booting most machines in my house. The older machines though typically get the most Ubuntu use while the newer machines access SuSE. If I didn’t have such an eclectic hardware environment, I may be running SuSE only but that’s hard to say because so much time is spent in Ubuntu as well. It really comes down to the plunge as I can do what I want in either. Until then, I will continue to enjoy the beauty of open source and run two operating systems at the cost of zero dollars. I don’t know what’s better, that fact that the choices are so good or the fact that I don’t have to make a choice at all.


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