openSUSE is a popular Linux distribution developed by the community-supported openSUSE Project. The openSUSE main goals is to make openSUSE the easiest Linux for anyone to obtain and the most widely used Linux distribution.
The openSUSE project is a community program sponsored by a SUSE Software Solutions Germany GmbH and number of other companies and individuals. Promoting the use of Linux everywhere, this program provides free, easy access to openSUSE, a complete Linux distribution.
The history of openSUSE
openSUSE history began in Germany in 1992 when four Linux enthusiasts set up a small company. Their name at founding was “S.u.S.E.”, the German acronym for “Software und System-Entwicklung” which means “Software and systems development” in English. Although the full name has never been used, however. “S.u.S.E.” was shortened to “SuSE” in October 1998 stylized “SUSE” in 2003.
The company started as a service provider, regularly releasing software packages for Slackware and printing UNIX and Linux manuals, and offering technical assistance. The first version of SUSE Linux, S.u.S.E. Linux 1.0 was released in 1994. It was basically Slackware scripts translated into German. In other words, it was a German version of Slackware Linux.
After that, in 1996, the first distribution under the name S.u.S.E. Linux was published as S.u.S.E. Linux 4.2, a reference to number 42, the answer to “The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe and Everything” from the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
SuSE then adopted a system of packaging with RPM format followed by the launch of a graphical system administration tool YaST which became one of the backbone and advantages of the SuSE Linux until today.
In a move to reach its business audience more effectively, SuSE introduced the SUSE Linux Enterprise Server in 2001, and a few months before Novell’s purchase, changed the company name to SUSE Linux. SUSE is now a name, not an acronym. The official logo and mascot of SUSE is a chameleon officially named, “Geeko”.
In January 2004, Novell acquired SuSE Linux AG for $210 million.
On 4 August 2005, Novell announced that the SUSE Professional series would become more open, with the launch of the openSUSE Project community. The software always had been open source, but openSUSE opened the development process, allowing developers and users to test and develop it. Previously, all development work had been accomplished in-house by SUSE.
In 2015, the openSUSE project restructured, creating two versions: Leap and Tumbleweed. Tumbleweed is a rolling release, so users always have access to the newest Linux packages. Leap is openSUSE’s regular-release, with guaranteed stability.
Which is the difference between openSUSE Tumbleweed and Leap?
The openSUSE Tumbleweed distribution is the rolling release version of openSUSE containing the newest stable applications. It is a popular choice for power users and software developers who need to develop using the latest software stacks and IDEs. Users of the Tumbleweed distro need to have advanced skills. It’s just like Arch Linux and the other rolling distributions. You get the software as soon as its ready in the repositories. For experienced and adventurous GNU/Linux users who want to take risks with their operating system and live on the bleeding edge, openSUSE Tumbleweed is the right choice.
The openSUSE Leap is more stable and only uses the well-tested base of SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE). This means for enterprises or data centres running crucial applications that need the reliability of the operating system, they can go for OpenSUSE Leap. openSUSE Leap uses a core system from SUSE Linux Enterprise but with up-to-date hardware support, desktop environments and graphical applications. Every year a major service pack is released. Also every 3-4 years there is a major new release where also the core system will be upgraded.
Both Tumbleweed and Leap are created by the openSUSE project. It is part of the worldwide free and open source software community.
In the Linux distribution world, native software comes packaged. RPM which are pre-compiled archives is created by Red Hat Linux. It’s used by many Linux distributions as their packaging system nowadays, including openSUSE.
YaST is the key differentiator for openSUSE compared to other Linux distros. It is an installation and configuration tool for openSUSE and the SUSE Linux Enterprise distributions. It is popular for its easy use and attractive graphical interface and the capability to customize your system quickly during and after the installation. YaST actually stands for “Yet another Setup Tool”. YaST can be used to configure your entire system. Setup hardware, configure the network, system services and tune your security settings. All these tasks can be reached from the YaST Control Center.
Zypper is a command line package manager in openSUSE. Zypper provides functions like repository access, dependency solving, package installation, etc. It can handle any ordinary package management task like installing, removing and updating packages. In other words, Zypper is also used instead of apt-get in Ubuntu.
There are a lot of features which make openSUSE a remarkable Linux distribution. openSUSE is a very capable multi-purpose distro, with a stable, reliable, rock solid release (Leap), a rolling release (Tumbleweed) for those who prefer the bleeding edge software packages. There are options for most of the popular desktop environments not limited to but including KDE, GNOME, and XFCE. It is perfect as a desktop OS, and will effectively serve your server needs.