Thursday, November 25, 2010

openSUSE: A difficult Distribution or a user-friendly distribution? (Part 1).

 Finally what kind of distribution is openSUSE? Is it a distribution that demands from the user to have some basic knowledge around Linux? is it a distribution unmanageable or by now its development has reached that level that has become a stable but yet friendly to the user of every level? Finally is openSUSE a distribution that you would recommend to a user that starts now with FOSS?
 The easy way to write that article is to present you the advantages of the distribution noting for you that openSUSE is really the easiest distribution on the world.But something like that would not be interesting for no one and I believe neither it would convince anyone. Another way would be to emphasize the disadvantages of the other distributions but I find that immoral and again I wouldn't convince anyone.Of course at some point I'll have to make some comparison with other distributions but that will only serve my intention to define the position where openSUSE stands and under no circumstances I have no intention to undermine any distribution because that would undermined the work of other people like me who make a try to support FOSS and FOSS is above all.

 As we start lets try to define what user-friendly is. At that point let me tell you that my personal opinion is that user-friendly really cannot be defined exactly since every user is a different person and has a certain, different way of thinking than all the others so there are different interpretations about it and none is really mistaken or right.
 The interpretation we get from explains:
-easy to use, operate, understand
 At Webopedia we find a slightly different interpretation for the same thing explaining to us that:
-Refers to anything that makes it easier for novices to use a computer. Menu-driven programs, for example, are considered more user-friendly than command-driven systems. Graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are also considered user-friendly. Online help systems are another feature of user-friendly programs.
Although the term user-friendly represents an important concept, it has been so overused that it has become something of a cliche.

 So accepting the point of view where refers to anything that makes it easier for novices to use a computer and the Menu-driven programs are considered more user-friendly than command-driven systems. And also the fact that graphical user interfaces (GUIs) are also considered user-friendly we go to the Linux Management Tools. OpenSUSE uses as a Management Tool YaST. YaST is that tool that you can do almost anything in your system. From adding a user, install software and add a repository until to 'play' with the kernel modules of your system. What makes YaST friendlier to the user than all the other management tools available for the other distribution is that the user has less complicated menus and the user gets into even fewer menus than other popular distributions so he/she stays focused on what he/she really wants to do with the system. Also the design of YaST is also a strong point since its designed that way that you will find exactly what you are looking for in the less possible time, let's be honest, we all want to finish the set up as fast as we can so that we can focus at our real work and no one wants to get lost at menus and sub-menus.

 Another big advantage of openSUSE against the other distribution is the usability and user friendliness of the choice of GUI. If you ask an old Linux user about openSUSE he will tell you that openSUSE is a distribution that is closely intertwined with the KDE GUI. Of cource as all other great distributions gives you the privilege of choice among KDE, GNOME, XFCE, LXDE and other popular GUI's. Though from version 11.2 and later, the default GUI is KDE, unlike other distributions who have different GUI options but support properly only that GUI which comes as a default with the distribution, openSUSE distribution provides equal support and to the GNOME GUI. Both desktop environments are mature and feature-rich so that the user can choose what it believes to be appropriate for him. Also there is a try to do the same and to other popular GUI's.

 I think that I must end that first part of my search for what kind of distribution openSUSE is right here. I hope that I gave you some useful information and of course I hope I convinced some of you to give openSUSE a try at your Desktop/Laptop, if not I hope to make it in the next part(s).

Kostas "Warlordfff" Koudaras

This article can be found in Greek at here at

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