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Now that SUSE is doing Gnome as well.. I'd say you can choose either. Both are good distributions. Both are pretty easy to use. Both can be lightweight or heavy depending on what you choose to install. Ubuntu's default is probably lighter than SUSE's though. But I won't swear to that. Try Ubuntu first (I think). Then you can decide if openSUSE is something you want to try or not.
You can select to install either Gnome or KDE during the install of OpenSUSE.
For media programs, you may want to use the unofficial packman rpm packages. I just took a look at the rpm.pbone.org website and did a search for "xine-ui". To get to the packman rpm for xine-ui for ppc, I had to first select a package for the intel architecture. On the left hand side of the info page for that package are links to other architectures including ppc.
If you decide on SuSE, look into the Xgl and compiz packages. There is a SuSE cool solution on installing it for both gnome and kde.
My opinion is that for the slower or older computers, Ubuntu and Kubuntu have an edge, since they recognize odd hardware a little better. I recommend the "alternate install CD" if you go that way. Incidentally, openSUSE 10.2 is quite fast if you have enough memory--and 768MB is enough. I am guessing that with the same desktop environment, it is the same speed as Ubuntu (Gnome) or Kubuntu (KDE). It is also my opinion that SUSE is a lot more polished than either of them.
The best solution is to always try the distros and make up your own mind. Peoples experiences, preferences, etc differ, so its better for you to try things out on your own and make such important decisions on what you thing works best for you based on the results of your tests.
I always see posts such as this, but Ubuntu runs perfectly on my PC's...(both over 2ghz). OpenSuse, I literally could have read Moby Dick while opening programs or letting the OS load. It was just awful, like i said above, very similar to my Linspre/FreeSpire experience.
I know the original poster wants to use Gnome, but given the speed of his PC, he might be better served by using Xubuntu. The Xfce environment is known to be lighter than the Gnome/KDE interface. While not an exact match, Gnome and Xfce are fairly similar... I prefer Gnome over KDE/Xfce, and Xfce over KDE. I know I might be in the minority, but I don't know how anyone uses KDE....
I think those who state that openSuse is "bloated" are being somewhat misleading. Both Ubuntu and openSuse can be as bloated as each other. Yes, if in openSuse you choose to install all the packages which come on the DVD, then it'll certainly be bloated in comparison to the one CD of Ubuntu, but doing so is equivalent to downloading all the programs found in Ubuntu's repositories -- You just don't do it because there's no need.
It is very possible to run openSuse on a machine slower than yours. Indeed I did so myself without problem and it wasn't aching slow as some here seem to make out.
I think it would be best for you to try out both distros and see which suits you best. You can also see whether you experience openSuse as being any slower than Ubuntu.
Everything is dependend on the hardware you use. SuSE and Ubuntu have both lots of extra features and add-ons, which make the system slow. You cannot compare the low speed of a Ubuntu/Kubuntu/Edubuntu install with a pure Debian or Gentoo install.
I totally agree with the suggestion of trying both distros, I currently use opensuse 10.1 but with KDE. I tried it with gnome but you still get a fair bit of KDE installed anyway especially if like me you use KDevelop.
I found that the system would do things like try opening Kwrite instead of Gedit and crashed (not fatally) with an error.The whole experience is more polished with KDE -Maybe 10.2 is better
my experience with Ubuntu on hardware as low as 128mb ram and 700MHz duron (alternative text based install) was very positive, I just prefer KDE and an rpm based distro so use open suse.
I'm wondering which to use for my computer. I don't care about the Microsoft/Novell deal, so don't figure that into your decision.
My computer is a 400mhz PPC G4 (remember that that is equal to about 800mhz in Intel or AMD chips) with 768 mb RAM.
Hard drive space isn't an issue, except I want the installer to recognize my firewire drive.
By the way, I want to use Gnome, not KDE
Depends on what you are going to use it for. General desktop usage? Software development? Any servers running on it, like web, samba, firewall, proxy, etc.
This is a good thread. I'll have to agree with most of the responses. I use both suse and ubuntu. I load suse on the servers, and ubuntu on the slower desktops. I'd say try both of them.
SuSE is bloated true, but like windows, they pack alot of stuff in, to make sure your hardware is supported. I tell people if they have the hardware, suse is a solid choice. Unfortunately, your hardware is a little dated. You will definitely take a performance hit choosing suse, noticeable too.
If you are using it for general desktop, then ubuntu will definitely be noticably faster. You will most likely have to fiddle with drivers, and tweak it to the way you like, but once it's done, it will be nice. Ubuntu isn't as mature as suse. If you have a new ati or radeon video card, you will be manually reconfiguring those. Wireless in ubuntu is also a hassle. I'd recommend version 6.06 LTS (Dapper) over 6.10 for stability reasons, unless you dont mind bleadingware. Use the alternate CD install.
If you are running any services, and need reliability, then suse is definitely the way to go. It is WAY more polished and solid. Install ubuntu and suse side by side, and you will see suse is years ahead. Use the opensuse 10.2 DVD install (it includes everything, even non-OSS drivers you might need for your hardware). The new 10.2 is faster than the previous version.
Try them both. Install them both. Have Winblows, suse and ubuntu on that harddisk. Later, you can delete one, and use it's disk space in the other.
Don't bother with the live cd's. They don't perform like a hard disk installation.