19 February 2013

openSUSE 12.2 redemption

I feel like I have done something wrong. I feel like a bad boy. This will be a clarification post about an old post I wrote about openSUSE 12.2 back in September last year. In the time the post has been up it has been my most popular post thus far. Unfortunately, it wasn't seen as a positive post. To this point the post has been viewed 489 times of which 45 views came from a link in forosuse , a Spanish Speaking users forum. That is dangerously close to 10 percent of the views coming from a forum post that describes my openSUSE review as a negative one. Unfortunately it wasn't my intent to make it a hit peace against my favorite distro.

So what is really going on with 12.2? Nothing, it just works. I have been using openSUSE 12.2 on my home rig and on the office workstation. I also have a development server running it at work and a virtual development server at home. I am surrounded by lizards. And I wouldn't say that it has no issues, it has. But choosing a distro isn't as simple as finding one that doesn't have problems, they all have problems. And that isn't to say that all Linux distros are broken or problematic, if it were so we would all be using windows. We are not using windows. Linux is an OS that can do everything, windows can't do everything. And the few hiccups that you need to go through, to get an all powerful desktop or server or cluster is well worth it. So if we compare Linux to windows it is a question of technology. But if we compare one flavor of Linux to another it is a question of expertise and taste.

What is openSUSE? It is one of the easy distros, easy to setup and easy to use. It is not a new user distro and it's not a windows replacement. If you need a windows desktop replacement you use Ubuntu. openSUSE is a Linux for Linux users or a windows server replacement. When learning Linux administration you need to learn some simple principles. Install, enable and allow. Whatever the distro you use you do these steps for every service. A new web server needs Apache to be installed, then enabled as a service and the allowed through the firewall. This is traditionally done with the various config files, although most of the time there are tools to automate this. More often than not when you install something like samba or apache it sets itself up. The case with openSUSE is that it has YaST to help you with that stuff and it works with the .conf files and you can look at them and learn. But this is on the server side. On the desktop, openSUSE is not ideal for a new user. Linux is for everybody. Your grandmother can use Linux. For many years the push has been towards the desktop, and not all distros are there. But when we go for that evaluation we are making a grave error. When Linux comes into the house it comes as a downloaded ISO file. When Windows or OSX come into the house they are already installed. In order to gain equal footing Linux needs to be easier to install and to configure. And this is why I always hate heavily on little issues that prevent your grandmother from setting up the system. Thus the heavy review.