Re: Would you recommend openSuse?
I'll add my two-cents to the rest - A few years ago, I started my Linux experience with SuSE 9.0, and I have used it almost exclusively up through version 10.2. I do not like KDE version 4 at all!! so I stick with 10.2. I am currently using a desktop install of 10.2 for my network "fileserver" and "printserver."
In the meantime, I am learning Ubuntu on my desktop computer. I have had nothing but trouble trying to install version 8.10 on 4 out of 6 computers (one is a 64 bit machine), yet earlier versions will install and run fine on all 6 computers (SuSE also runs fine on all 6). Figuring problems with graphics support, I switched to Xubuntu and no longer have any problems. This tells me that 8.10 needs considerable work in supporting common graphics cards - assuming my mix of 6 computers is a reasonalble sample. This is of course hard to judge, but I have read in the Ubuntu forums of similar problems getting Ubuntu 8.10 to install and run correctly on a pretty wide variety of computers. Needless to say, I am disappointed in 8.10, and I am hoping that whatever the problems are in 8.10 are solved in the next release.
Actually, there are a number of things I like better in Xubuntu over Ubuntu. For one thing, the file manager has a right-click option that says, "Open a terminal window here" which I really like. Ubuntu does not seem to have that, so I have to type long change-directory commands. Xubuntu also seems to be a lot more responsive than Ubuntu. Most likely because it is "lighter weight" than Ubuntu in the GUI.
Some Linux users do not like Open SuSE because it is backed by Novell, but that doesn't really bother me too much, since it is really the open-source community that supports it.
As for which distro is better - I think the choice gets to be a bit subjective and it largely depends upon how you are using the OS. For me, there is little doubt that OpenSuSE is the better distro in terms of hardware recognition and using a GUI for setting up and administering the system, at least when using KDE. Ubuntu also requires more use of the terminal command-line. The command-line is the only user interface for the server version, although you can start up the GUI. As for the desktop install, I have come to really like the Gnome GUI too.
My main objection to Ubuntu/Xubuntu over SuSE is the odd restrictions for the admin account and the existance of a Yast-like GUI for admin/setup tasks. Ubuntu/Xubuntu wants the end user to use "sudo" exclusively. As a matter of fact, if anyone happens to post a "how-to" on setting up the admin account properly on Ubuntu, they'll be banned from the forums or some other silly punishment. Oddly enough, this restriction is built into the Ubuntu server version as well. And while the restriction is easily overcome, I find that it is downright peculiar to have that in the server edition, since if we are using Ubuntu for a server, we probably have enough smarts not to blow up the system if we logged on as "admin". I've been told that if I don't like the restriction, to use a different distro. You gotta love the control freaks; every organization has them. Oh well... If you do have questions about Ubuntu that won't be answered here, you might try asking them on www.linuxquestions.org. There, they understand the true meaning of sharing information.
I say "odd" here in light of the main mantras of Ubuntu, which used to say "...freedom to use the software however the user wants to." or words to that effect. I have noticed that the veriabage currently under the "Philosophy" section of the Ubuntu site has been rewritten latley to remove that particular part. Clearly, there are those at Ubuntu (or Canonical) that wish to be kind of like "Big Brother" and hold the user by the hand, thus keeping him/her from hurting themselves. I suspect these individuals migrated from the Microsoft camp. If you search the forums about this, you will find a number of plausible sounding reasons for this strange attitude, but most of them are not valid reasons, especially the one given for security.
All of this about the admin account is a moot point, except for security, if all the user wants to do is typical desktop tasks, like word processing, email, and surfing the Internet. Ubuntu is easy to intall and with the exception of version 8.10, it runs out of the box on most hardware. The Ubuntu server does not rate as well as other server editions according to outside Linux experts, but since I am not a server expert, I'll hold my judgement in that area. Actually, I sort of lean towards FreeBSD as a server.
Anyway you look at it, Ubuntu is a darned good Linux distro, despite any of my negative comments, and on its way to becoming a great Linux distro if not the greatest (if the Ubuntu control freaks don't run off too many people that is). It is already responsible for bringing more users into the Linux world than any other distro.
Since you already have it loaded, give it a good shake-down, and add your voice to others that seek to improve Ubuntu. I think this distro is worth the effort.