linux, opensuse, distro

As I wrote in last post, Fedora 34 has major problems that may not be fixed until the next release. That’s a pretty big problem! So, since my last distrohop I’ve tried Opensuse (I normalize capitalization in names) since then, and its pretty good! Especially now that my mediacenters Ubuntu install has somehow developed corrupted repositories, I switching my two mediacenter/room laptops over to Opensuse. Now, there are two main versions of Opensuse: Leap and Tumbleweed.

  1. Tumbleweed is a rolling release with the latest and greatest, and I can confirm it has very recent stuff in its repos. It was stable too for the few weeks I used it, but it also developed a repo-problem that I didn’t know how to fix. It’s important to know that having third party repos is essential when using Opensuse, so it may be its actually such a third repo that was at fault. It seems like a good candidate to replace Fedora on my main system and work-laptop. Depending on if Fedora 34 will be fixed, or Fedora 35 will be botched as well, this distro is the first candidate for replacing Fedora.
  2. Leap. It’s Opensuse’s stable, which seems to have a major update every 8-12 months. Leap 15.3 is about to come out, and will be based on Suse’s commercial distro SLES, which sounds like a good guarantee of its continuing stability. Leap 15.3 still has a version of kernel 5.3, with which 15.0 initially shipped. User facing software sees more updates though. For instance KDE Plasma was updated with every point release, OpenSSH is at 8.4 in the 15.3 RC, Thunderbird is at 78.10.0, Chromium at 90. Firefox seems stuck at 78 though, and Texlive at 2017.

Let’s go into the bad: for some software, even VLC, you’ll need to configure third party repos. VLC is shipping with Opensuse, but due to being overly cautious they have ripped out most of its codec. Weird right? Weirder still, the wiki page that details how to get a, you know, workable copy of VLC, contains instructions that do not work here (yes, I correct the repo for Leap 15.3), that Packman repo option to be precise. Use the VLC repo, that’ll work.

Although it worked earlier, currently the Resilio Opensuse repo does not seem to work. Their rpm package does, and works.

One nice thing that Fedora has is Chromium Freeworld, which is a sort of Ungoogled Chromium but with the good-bad DRM bits left in. No other distro has it 😞

Then some ugly: disk encryption. Opensuse encrypts boot as well, unlike Ubuntu and Fedora. There is a very good reason for this: it ensures that an attacker can’t install a malicious kernel. Very theoretical, but sure, this is strictly speaking more safe. However, it results in having to enter the passphrase twice! Fortunately, there is a functioning workaround, which should be standard really.

All in all, very acceptable, and if Fedora does not shape up (I’ll sit 34 out and use 33 until 35 is released) perhaps my new default.