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Change SuSE distribution for another one

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ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13

As suggested in another post, we could dump SuSE and pick another distribution as an alternative to Ubuntu.

In my opinion, we need to keep away from Ubuntu derivatives (Kubuntu, Xubuntu, etc), so as to propose a true alternatve, keep detatched from Canonical, and avoid flaming wars and cleavages that are quite common in the Linux world. For the same reason, it would be good to have a KDE-based distro.

It is also important, I believe, to pick a distribution that is easy to access, will work really well with a wide range of computers, and has an active community.

I'd like to add that I am not a distro expert. I only used Mandriva a bit and briefly tried SuSE - nothing more.

So far the candidates I was proposed are Blag (+ FSF-recognised, - rather radical and possibly frightening for newbies?) and Ututo (+ "sponsored by the FSF"). If you can propose a favourite distro and state reasons why you believe it's suitable, please step forward!

Olivier.

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21
Helios of Lobby4Linux loves

Helios of Lobby4Linux loves PCLinuxOS. From what I've heard it's very newbie friendly and KDE based.

ariadacapo's picture
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re: PClinuxOS
tbuitenh wrote:

Helios of Lobby4Linux loves PCLinuxOS. From what I've heard it's very newbie friendly and KDE based.

Yes. Helios has been a major influence for me. I found his blog posts very inspiring and motivating to write GetGnuLinux.org.

I have a PClinuxOS CD iso on my desktop that I promised myself I would try imminently (I still struggle with time right now).
I would be personally very biaised towards this distribution even though I have not tried it yet. What do other members think?

tbuitenh's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-21
I suppose I'm biased towards

I suppose I'm biased towards it too. And at the same time I'm biased against it because I find GUIs that resemble ms windows distasteful. Maybe next to a gnome distro and a kde distro there should be something really different? I don't mean something much less newbie friendly like gentoo, just something very very different that doesn't remind of software from redmond. It would be good for showing off the amount of choice gnu/linux gives.

Anyone know a distribution that has an odd default GUI?

libervisco's picture
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I think PCLinuxOS is even

I think PCLinuxOS is even worse than SuSE regarding inclusion of proprietary software.

ariadacapo's picture
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Joined: 2006-07-13
re: distro
libervisco wrote:

I think PCLinuxOS is even worse than SuSE regarding inclusion of proprietary software.

This is too bad. If you have more information about this, please bring it forward so we can make a balanced decision. What proprietary software are you thinking about?

I had a brief look through Distrowatch's most popular distributions and was immediately attracted by two: Fedora core and Debian. Alas, they both are Gnome-based!
It is unbelievable how confusing and unclear some distro websites can be. Sometimes I have to search five entire minutes just to find a screenshot, or an explaination of freedom, or even a description of what Linux is!
I keep searching.

libervisco's picture
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Well I once tried to install

Well I once tried to install it and, if I remember correctly, it wanted to install skype, proprietary codecs etc. I can't verify that now though. They may have changed it.

Here's the current programs list. I skimmed it and it seems skype isn't there so maybe they only include some proprietary codecs. Anyone else has more experience with it?

Btw, wasn't openSUSE supposed to be all Free Software? If yes then you don't necessarily need to dump SuSE, just link to OpenSUSE. I believe Mandriva also has an all Free "Limited Edition" (formerly called "Community Edition" too.

Both are suitable for beginners.

tbuitenh's picture
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Debian isn't gnome-based. I

Debian isn't gnome-based. I guess it would be best to say it is commandline based, and you can install gnome or kde or anything on top of that.

libervisco's picture
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Debian would be one

Debian would be one candidate for a distro for more advanced people. Arch, which I use, would be another, though Archers don't separate nonfree from free, but you have absolute control over what's on your machine so you can decide what is it.

All things considered it seems to be Ubuntu really is the best first choice. Second choice would involve some sort of a compromise in some way, either about including some nonfree software or in terms of user friendliness. I am not sure if there's really a better alternative from OpenSUSE or maybe Mandriva LE (Limited Edition).

free-zombie's picture
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Joined: 2006-03-08
don't forget that ubuntu

don't forget that ubuntu ships with proprietary drivers AND installs some non-free kernel modules (like nvidia) by default !

ariadacapo's picture
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re: distro choice
tbuitenh wrote:

Debian isn't gnome-based. I guess it would be best to say it is commandline based, and you can install gnome or kde or anything on top of that.

thanks for that. This shows my complete ignorance in the subject. Smiling

free-zombie wrote:

don't forget that ubuntu ships with proprietary drivers AND installs some non-free kernel modules (like nvidia) by default !

You are right and I was already approached by someone with firm views on Freedom in computing, asking me to only point to FSF-recommended distros.
But I believe Ubuntu truly stands out in the way it keeps insisting about freedom in software, right from the cd booklets on. Some other distributions barely mention the freedom, and when I purchased a DVD of Mandriva LE2005 one year ago (my first step ever into Linux), there was no mention of freedom of GPL ever.
So I think it's a good compromise to stick to ubuntu. Note also the promising ubuntu-libre project.

Because there seems to be no general unanimous decision, I propose to stick to Suse. Specifically, from November on, the "truly free" version will be named OpenSUSE while the supported one will stay "SuSE". This will clear up everything. I will re-design the "get it" page to account for that very shortly.

I will also contact Helios from PCLinuxOS to ask specifically about their stand on freedom. This is just in case and for general information - best choice for the short term seems to be to keep to OpenSUSE.

Any remarks? Feel free to criticise!

Olivier.

tbuitenh's picture
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AFAIK Helios doesn't work

AFAIK Helios doesn't work for PCLinuxOS, also he is ill so maybe you shouldn't bother him :/

libervisco's picture
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I agree with sticking with

I agree with sticking with Ubuntu and OpenSUSE actually.

When there's such a big community around them there ought to be alot of people among them who don't like proprietary software mixed with Free Software in their system of which many would work to keep the fully free option open, as the Ubuntu-libre example shows. They're just too popular not to include the option for Free Software supporters.

AndrewB's picture
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Joined: 2005-12-18
Maybe Fedora Core as

Maybe Fedora Core as well.
Defo not PCLinuxOS its well...crap

libervisco's picture
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Fedora is a good third

Fedora is a good third option, yes. They're also undergoing a process of making sure it is all Free Software. I'm not sure yet if it is really a distro for newbies though.

free-zombie's picture
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Fedora could be seen as

Fedora could be seen as ubuntu + more choices - sane & fast package management.

libervisco's picture
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Well from what I hear yum,

Well from what I hear yum, which is used on Fedora and other RPM based distros these days, is similar to apt-get so the package management shouldn't be that bad anymore. I've never really tried it enough to have a strong opinion on it though.

AndrewB's picture
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You are correct, Yum is very

You are correct, Yum is very good now. You can also get apt-get aswell for fedora if needs be.
Redhat used to be one of the new comers distro's. I even started with it!

michuk's picture
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yum evolved...
libervisco wrote:

Well from what I hear yum, which is used on Fedora and other RPM based distros these days, is similar to apt-get so the package management shouldn't be that bad anymore. I've never really tried it enough to have a strong opinion on it though.

Yum evolved a lots since it has been first introduced. Still, it is a bit slower than Debian's apt-get (not sure why it fetches the packages update so often). Still, it's a good package manager, one of the best probably.

Still, I wouldn't offer Fedora to newbies. openSUSE is much more stable and newbie-friendly (YAST). I think offering Ubuntu and openSUSE is the right choice and it should not be changed.

AndrewB's picture
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OpenSuSE is just as unstable

OpenSuSE is just as unstable as Fedora. Remember the whole YaST errors when adding an install source??
Also remember that both of these are GUI/Resource heavy distro's. Both do have a light weight option, but if a user is to experience X they may need a distro that is lighter, such as one that comes with XFCE or Fluxbox by default.
OpenSuSE and Ubuntu are good comparisons though, they are totally different. One is RPM based the other is APT based, one uses gnome, one uses KDE [As per default installs].
Maybe have a small section for people with less computer resources. As many will try it on an old machine before their own desktop Eye

libervisco's picture
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Regarding stability I don't

Regarding stability I don't think Fedora and OpenSuSE are unstable enough not to be fit for majority of desktop users. Even Fedora isn't what alot of people think of it, just a beta testbed for RedHat. It may be bleeding edge and it may be half run by RedHat corporation, but alot of effort seems to be going into keeping it a good quality community distro. I suspect it's not any more unstable than Arch for example. Eye

A_thing uses it all this time so I think he can say a good deal on what Fedora is or isn't. Smiling

ariadacapo's picture
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okay:)

Let's stick to Ubuntu and OpenSUSE for GetGnuLinux.org, a choice that sounds reasonable and with a certain measure of abitrary decision.
I'm sure you can debate forever about the hottest distro around. I certainly