Tuesday, June 27, 2017

openSUSE "Tumbleweed"

Since I've given openSUSE "more of a chance" on my Dell Inspiron 5558 laptop than I have any other hardware, probably dating back to the days when I used to write distribution reviews for Extreme Tech (and that was about 15-16 years ago), I have, nevertheless found the recent SUSE releases to be more "stable" than one of my desktop favorites in those early days.

Mandrake (then renamed Mandriva), and there are a few derivatives today, Rosa, OpenMandriva, used to be a favorite of mine.  I used to be in the original forum, I was using their test and early update versions and I always found it easy to install and generally reasonable compared to other distributions of its time.  But when the founder, Gael Duval, left the company, things changed.  Less and less I was interested in what they did and how they did it.  The software became less stable, and the company became less stable as well.

Fortunately by then I found a "new Linux home" in Debian-based distributions.  Libranet was an early Debian favorite, as was Xandros and Corel Linux, but it didn't take long to get into the pure Debian approach either.  KNOPPIX was one of my "Swiss Army Knife" live implementations, but then Debian Live came along, and once again the main Debian distribution did the trick for me.

The MEPIS-based distributions from Warren Woodford, and later antiX the from Thessalonica and "anticapitalista" survived longer than many of those early Debian-based systems, but MEPIS was taken over by antiX and the project now produces one of my current generation favorites MX - currently MX-16.1.

openSUSE really got on my radar because the GPT (partition) and UEFI (boot loader) features, even several years after their initial introduction, are not handled very well by many systems, including many Linux distributions.  Now that I have it "set up" several distributions can "change it", but they usually do not recognize all of my installed systems.  openSUSE is one of the distributions that gets booting 100% correct, so even if I'm not always using it, I have "put in in charge" of handling my booting needs.

PCLinuxOS, Fedora, and Devuan, along with the latest Debian release have shown themselves capable of updating and managing the boot loader, but I still trust openSUSE most, because it got things right for me and did it better than anything else.  Fedora got it right first, but finding and updating it, and gaining quick access to the Fedora booting tools are more complicated than necessary, and since openSUSE does it easily and well, it "wins".  If I were tweaking my systems every day, things may be different, but life is different for me these days too.  I'm working quite hard every day on the job, and often work extra hours with little "down time" to simply rest - and when I do, most of the time I spend with my wife.  Why not tonight?  She was extremely tired, also having worked hard and seems to be suffering from recent "sleep deprivation" from a night earlier in the week where sleep was elusive after a particularly difficult day... so I have the rare moment to write.

As usual, the post ended up being a jumble of random thoughts, but I did cover some past background, the systems I have used most in the past, and those I use most often these days, outside of times with a Chromebook or a phone with Internet-based applications.

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