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(I didn't know where to make this thread, so if it's in the wrong place, mods feel free to move it) So, it's been about a year since I started ...
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  1. #1
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    Switching from Kubuntu to OpenSuSE?


    (I didn't know where to make this thread, so if it's in the wrong place, mods feel free to move it)

    So, it's been about a year since I started using Linux, now, and I'm strongly considering trying a new distro. Of everything I've looked at, I think I OpenSuSE the best. I've done a lot of looking into how it stacks up against Ubuntu (I use Kubuntu), and just about everything sounds better, with the possible exception of package repositories (but there are programs that can convert .deb to .rpm, right?). I've been happy with Kubuntu this past year as my only OS on my laptop (I don't dual-boot; I have Windows 7 on my desktop for the rare occasions I need to use Microsoft programs), and I vastly prefer KDE to GNOME, and it seems like OpenSuSE uses KDE as its default environment the way Ubuntu default ships with GNOME, so there might be better integration there. YAST looks pretty sweet, too. All in all I think that Kubuntu was fantastic for getting my feet wet and helping me learn the ropes of using Linux, and though I still consider myself a n00b (and the idea of having to learn new terminal commands is a bit annoying), I feel like I should step out of the 'beginner' environment of Ubuntu, both at the encouragement of some experienced Linux using friends as well as personal research. Still, I want to know if this is the right decision to make.

    So I'm making this thread to basically get some more specific info on the situation...what do I gain switching to OpenSuSE, and what do I lose? What are some of the major differences you think might be hard for an Ubuntu user to adjust to? How's the support for OpenSuSE compared to the Ubuntu Forums? Things like that. I want to talk to other users who have tried both distros and get some more feedback and opinions on the differences between the two, positive and negative.

    Please don't discuss other alternative distros here - I don't want to hear things about Fedora or Arch or Gentoo - but specifically Ubuntu and OpenSuSE, because of all the other distros I've researched I feel like these two are going to be the best for me, and I want to know a little more about making the switch or if I shouldn't do so at all.

    And as a supplementary question, if I installed OpenSuSE on a partition alongside my existing Kubuntu partition to be able to alternatively test both (I'd rather not use VirtualBox), would I be able to, should I later decide to switch to OpenSuSE, remove the Kubuntu partition and have the OpenSuSE partition fill up the rest of that then-available space? I don't know much about partitioning and how it works, but it'd be nice if I decided to do that and didn't have to do a fresh format and reinstall of OpenSuSE if that's the one I wanted to keep. And also, how would I go about backing up my files? In my Windows days, whenever I formatted and reinstalled/upgraded my OS, I could only back up files and not programs, settings, stuff like that, which I'd have to reinstall from scratch. I'm concerned not so much with apps as I am with things like my desktop settings and MP3 codecs or things like that which I installed when I first installed the OS, because quite honestly I don't remember what I had to get that wasn't shipped default, just that it took me two days of installing programs and drivers and such...or would OpenSuSE have entirely different parameters for things like that where I wouldn't need to, or should just start installing those things from scratch, and only back up my personal files? Would backing up my entire Home folder and then overwriting it on OpenSuSE cause any problems? Sorry if these are stupid questions, I just want to make sure I know what I'm in for if I decide to remove my Kubuntu partition...I've got a month left in the semester, and I may want to wait until summer break starts if it'll be a lot of work, just in case.

    So I guess just...discuss these things, and help me out if you could?

  2. #2
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    (but there are programs that can convert .deb to .rpm, right?)
    Yes, but it's not perfect and not generally recommended. There's really almost no reason to do so anymore. Unless you're using some pretty esoteric software, opensuse should have everything you'd want available in their repos.

    So I'm making this thread to basically get some more specific info on the situation...what do I gain switching to OpenSuSE, and what do I lose? What are some of the major differences you think might be hard for an Ubuntu user to adjust to? How's the support for OpenSuSE compared to the Ubuntu Forums?
    My impression is that the Ubuntu forums are much larger and there seems to be more information generally available for Ubuntu compared to opensuse. In large part, the experience will be similar. KDE is KDE is KDE. The last time I tried opensuse, though, when 11.2 came out, I had no end of trouble with my ATI xpress 200 graphics card and for some reason I was never able to get the login manager working properly, even though I could start an X session from the console without a problem. Ubuntu has never given me such trouble. That said, your mileage may vary. Many people feel Ubuntu more frequently breaks things with upgrades and is slow to fix bugs.
    Ubuntu Is A Poor Standard Bearer For Linux - O'Reilly Broadcast

    The biggest difference, I would say, is in package management. But I would classify one as particularly better than the other. I quite like opensuse's zypper tool. It does seem a bit slower than apt, in my opinion.

    I'm concerned not so much with apps as I am with things like my desktop settings and MP3 codecs or things like that which I installed when I first installed the OS, because quite honestly I don't remember what I had to get that wasn't shipped default, just that it took me two days of installing programs and drivers and such...or would OpenSuSE have entirely different parameters for things like that where I wouldn't need to, or should just start installing those things from scratch, and only back up my personal files?
    You'll need to reinstall all the codecs and things in opensuse. As I recall, they do not have a simple metapackage to get all that stuff like Ubuntu does (ubuntu-restricted-extras). I think you'll need to figure out what you need more specifically. You can look at what ubuntu-restricted-extras pulls in and search those out in suse individually.

    All user settings are stored in your home folder. You can back that up and use them in opensuse. There shouldn't be a problem as far as various application settings or KDE themes, etc. If some unforeseen conflict occurs, you can always delete the config file - it will be regenerated with the default settings when next you launch the application.

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    Linux Guru gogalthorp's Avatar
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    The biggest problem is that if you did a default Xbuntu install you get only a single partition In Suse the default and recommended way is to have a separate partition for your /home directory. This makes upgrades reinstalls change of OS much simpler since you have a logical separation between your data and the system data. Of course you can and may have installed home in a separate partition in Ubuntu and you can install home in the root partition in Suse.

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    I can still test it via the LiveCD though, correct? Maybe it would be a better option than toying with partitions if I did that to get a feel for things and then ultimately decide if I want to format Kubuntu and install OpenSuSE instead on the full partition.

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    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    Yes, you can definitely run it as a live CD to test. If your computer can boot from a USB drive, I would recommend making a live USB instead. Performance of a heavy weight distro like opensuse is pretty poor off a CD, and a little better off a flash drive.

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    How large would a USB have to be to hold it? The biggest I have is 2 GB and I assume I'd need more, though would an external HDD work?

    I did get the live CD version for KDE, but after booting from it, before going to the desktop, it asks me for 'linux login' and...I don't know what it wants me to type there. I've never run off a live CD before, but I mean, I don't have a login for it, so what does it expect me to type there? I'm confused.

  8. #7
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    2 GB is enough. You just need as much space the as the size of the iso file. opensuse if what, ~700 MB?

    You can use a tool like unetbootin to easily create a live USB.
    UNetbootin - Homepage and Downloads

    Hrm. Last time I tried opensuse, I thought the live CD automatically logged in. Try username linux and no password, or password also linux.

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    Nothing I type into the login is working. And I've also had little luck getting it on my flashdrive. This is the result of trying to boot from my USB:

    [Edit: Won't let me post links to pictures because I don't have 15 posts -_- see attachment #1]

    And booting from the CD, after I get past the graphical screen with the options to run the live CD and install and etc, it takes me to a text output screen where it starts loading...takes me to another graphical screen with the SuSE logo and a load bar...then back to the text output and stops on 'linux login'. I can't get past that.

    [attachment #2]

    No matter what I type there, it spits this back at me:

    Welcome to openSUSE 11.2 "Emerald" - Kernel 2.6.31.5-0.1-default (tty1).

    Then I stopped typing and let it sit idle for a moment and it gave me:

    linux login: /usr/sbin/stop_preload: line 4: /usr/bin/killsll: Input/output error

    In any case, there is no graphical login screen nor a redirect to the desktop. I can't get past this 'linux login' business (in the second photo above, that's what the last line on the screen is). So this is a little frustrating, as I'd like to test the OS out a bit before I decide to install it, and I didn't want to settle for VirtualBox...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  10. #9
    Linux Guru reed9's Avatar
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    I would check that your iso image is good.

    If that all checks out, I'm at a bit of a loss. I had trouble with opensuse last time I tried it as well and never was able to resolve the issue. Though for me the live CD was fine, it failed after install.

    Read about it here if you like: http://www.linuxforums.org/forum/cof...e-11-2rc1.html

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    I think that did the trick...I redownloaded it and was able to boot into the Live CD successfully. Thank you so much for your help, reed, if this board had karma I would definitely give you some for your assistance.

    Back to the original topic...having played around a bit with the Live CD, I have to say I quite like zypper's functionality compared to apt-get. YaST looks pretty cool, too, though it's so loaded that it'll take some time getting used to it. I've made a complete backup of my Kubuntu system to my external HDD, and I'm going to do a full install of OpenSuSE to my laptop tonight and play with it over the weekend in between assignments for class. Worse comes to worst and I decide I don't like it, or I'm not ready to make the adjustment just yet (month left until summer break), then I'll just go back to Kubuntu until I change my mind.

    I think I'm going to like this, though. Only time will tell, but it seems like a fairly solid distro, at least in comparison to the 'Buntu's.

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