openSUSE: A Great Choice For Novices And Developers Alike

When most people talk about installing Linux, they are almost certainly referring to installing a Linux distribution on your computer. Linux distributions are complete operating systems based on the Linux kernel; the wide variety of free and open-source applications that they contain allow you to immediately begin being productive on your desktop. The Linux kernel is renowned for being incredibly stable, and Linux distributions in general are very secure. One of these Linux distributions is openSUSE, notable for its YaST system configuration tool that makes configuring your system easy. openSUSE is one of the more popular Linux distributions, and is the base for SUSE Linux Enterprise, which is for corporations who wish to bring Linux to their business environment and need to have extensive technical support.

History Of openSUSE

SUSE Linux logo

SUSE Linux logo

SUSE Linux was started by SUSE, a German technology company, with the goal of developing a Linux distribution to be used in corporate environments. SUSE Linux was designed to be at home on both servers and on workstations. The SUSE Linux brand was acquired by Novell in 2004. Soon after the brand was acquired, SUSE Linux was entirely open-sourced and released to the community as openSUSE. openSUSE has an open development model, and welcomes contributions and input from third-party developers. At the same time, many corporations (including AMD and SUSE) hire developers to work full-time on improving the distribution.

How Does openSUSE Differ From Other Linux Distributions?


Official openSUSE logo

Official openSUSE logo

openSUSE is most notable for YaST, which is a central configuration tool for the entire operating system. Instead of editing configuration files (mostly found in the /etc directory on Linux systems) by hand, YaST allows users and system administrators to easily configure every aspect of their system. Many system administrators, however, preferred editing these files by hand since they felt they had greater control over them this way. The main goal of YaST is to provide a graphic interface that makes changes to these configuration files in a way that does not interfere with editing them using a text editor; operating in this way makes it easy for novices to configure their system via the graphical interface but makes it possible for experts to understand the changes that were made.

openSUSE is also notable among Linux enthusiasts for having one of the best KDE implementations of any Linux distribution. KDE, also known as the K Desktop Environment, is an entire suite of applications along with a window manager whose stated goal is to make using your computer easy and productive. Between the excellent KDE implementation and the easy-to-use YaST system configuration tool, openSUSE is a great Linux distribution for novices who want to try out KDE.

Also notable is the openSUSE Build Service. This tool is excellent for Linux application developers; it allows developers to build packages for all major distributions, such as Ubuntu, Debian and Fedora, on the same machine. Since one of the major headaches for Linux developers is having to package your software for so many distributions, having this is a great boon for all Linux developers.

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