openSUSE 13.1: A Solid Linux Release With Long Term Support

Danny Stieben 14-02-2014

Ubuntu 10 Ways to Make Ubuntu 16.04 Feel Like Home Ubuntu 16.04 is an LTS release, so you get five years of updates, and not have to worry about installing a new version for a while. But what do you do once you've installed Ubuntu... Read More and Fedora Fedora 20: What's New In This "Heisenbug" Linux Release? Fedora recently celebrated their 10 years of existence with their 20th release – appropriately codenamed "Heisenbug". Read More aren’t the only major Linux distributions out there: there’s also openSUSE. This RPM-based distribution Fedora vs. openSUSE vs. CentOS: Which Distribution Should You Use? [Linux] Not too long ago I wrote a similar article about the top three distributions of the Debian side in the Linux family (Debian, Ubuntu, and Linux Mint), but as a true Linux geek I would... Read More celebrated the release of version 13.1 on November 19th, and there’s a reason why this release is so important. OpenSUSE 13.1 is considered an “Evergreen” release, meaning that it’s going to be supported for 3 years – akin to Ubuntu’s LTS releases.


Let’s take a look at what makes openSUSE 13.1 so great.

Unique Features

OpenSUSE has a lot of items in common with other distributions – KDE as the default desktop environment, Firefox as the default browser, and a good selection of software to start out with. However, there are a few things that make it quite a bit different. For instance, openSUSE boasts is own control center for system settings called YaST. This takes care of everything from software and updates to hardware to network settings and more. The user settings that takes care of customization are still found in the KDE control center.

OpenSUSE also has a repository called Tumbleweed, which turns your installation into somewhat of a rolling release. It’s more stable than Fedora’s Rawhide (which I discussed here Be On The Bleeding Edge of Linux with Fedora Rawhide Don't wait around to try the latest versions of software – try Fedora Rawhide instead. Read More ), but it’s also newer than the regular openSUSE repositories. In other words, it allows you to remain current on the software side while you stay stable on the operating system side. For instance: it will allow you to upgrade to a new major release of LibreOffice without having to wait for the next openSUSE release.

Improved Stability


The openSUSE developers pride themselves on how stable this release, mentioning it’s because of some massive improvements to their openQA testing tool. OpenQA is essentially an automated way to test certain parts of openSUSE for general stability. Once a test is run under openQA, the developers can receive pass/fail results – as well as what needs to be fixed. I have to agree with the developers that this tool helps ensure the distribution’s stability – it’s always been a pretty stable distribution to use, and that hasn’t changed one bit with this release. Now it’s just easier for the developers to maintain that stability.


Thankfully, because it’s open source, it can eventually be used to test other distributions to ensure their stability as well.

Other Goodies

Of course, as a new release of any distro, it comes with a lot of updated software. Additionally, this release of openSUSE offers new ARM ports, a new build to be used with Raspberry Pi, and experimental Wayland support. I’m especially surprised about the experimental Wayland support, since this is supposed to be a stable, long-term release that normally wouldn’t have “experimental” items in it.

Using openSUSE Daily

Using this distribution is very enjoyable, especially if you’ve used a KDE desktop before. The YaST control center does take a little getting used to, but it’s nice to use after that, especially because most distributions don’t have a graphical user interface as complete as YaST to manage everything about their system. The software selection is also more than acceptable – if you need to look up more software, you can do so by visiting the openSUSE Software search page. A lot of developers use openSUSE’s build services to make RPM packages for various distributions, so I’m sure you’ll find plenty of software here that you can use.

Besides this, using openSUSE is the same as using an Ubuntu system or a well-configured Fedora system. You’ll quickly find yourself being productive with available software rather than tinkering with the system. OpenSUSE also has a corporate sponsor, Attachmate Group, much like its top two competetors (Canonical for Ubuntu, Red Hat for Fedora). OpenSUSE is more like Fedora than Ubuntu, however, in that openSUSE is primarily community driven.


Ultimately, differences come from the community, the openSUSE infrastructure, and the tools like YaST that make openSUSE unique.

How To Get It

You can download the latest release of openSUSE from their download page. You can then burn the resulting ISO image file ImgBurn - Easy & Free CD and DVD Burner App Read More onto a DVD or a USB stick with sufficient capacity Linux Live USB Creator: Easily Boot Linux From Your Flash Drive Read More . You can also just use the ISO image file with a virtual machine such as VirtualBox.


If you’ve never taken a look at openSUSE before, I definitely recommend that you do in some way. I wouldn’t call openSUSE quite as easy as Ubuntu and Linux Mint, but it’s a bit more stable than both of them. Also, there’s plenty of software available for openSUSE, so you should rarely feel left out.

Are you a fan of openSUSE? What do or don’t you like about it? Let us know in the comments!


Image Credit: xenne

Related topics: KDE, Linux Distro, openSUSE.

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  1. Z. Schultz
    August 3, 2014 at 7:21 pm

    "I wouldn’t call openSUSE quite as easy as Ubuntu and Linux Mint, but it’s a bit more stable than both of them."

    I like your review, but I would just like to ask what you mean by your above cited statement. I read that so often in sidenotes, but mostly reviewers do not explain what and in which way was more stable. Does it mean that a certain programm chrashes more often on one OS than on the other, does one init system have more errors in the log than the other. I really have no clue and find some problems in all of the OSs and its very subjective.

  2. James V
    February 25, 2014 at 1:26 am

    After years of Ubuntu and Mint, I'm trying openSUSE and find that there's lots you can fiddle with, and it's all in different places than the others. There's more similarities than differences between distros, despite what the fanatics claim. Still, I'm waiting to see what the Gnome improvements look like; I may switch back.

    • Danny S
      February 28, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      That's very true. There's a handful of underlying changes, but the things you actually see (the desktop environment, your common apps) are all the same. That's the most of what you'll be messing with on a daily basis.

  3. dragonmouth
    February 21, 2014 at 4:50 pm

    Good start, Danny! I know it was hard for you to admit publicly that Ubuntu is NOT the only Linux distro out there. Now that you've broken the ice, how about articles about Debian, Gentoo, Slackware and Mandriva/Mageia? LOL

    • Danny S
      February 28, 2014 at 11:38 pm

      I've actually written an article about all of them except Gentoo. I can do Arch, but Gentoo is even weirder. ;)

  4. Jim Clark
    February 14, 2014 at 7:24 pm

    LinuxMint 13 is a long term support distro. Released in Apr 2012 is supported 5-years; till Apr-2017. Built from Ubuntu 12.04 is also supported till Apr-2017; 5-years.