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Old 10-06-2005, 09:16 AM   #1
Registered: Jul 2004
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Question coming from Mandriva

**** This is not intended to be flamebait, simply asking for opinions for only myself ****

I've been using Mandriva/Mandrake for about the last 4 years. I've stuck with them because the distribution has been the best for me. With the release of 10 and mandriva 2006, Im looking at my options now. Instead of googling, I come to you as I think the users know a distribution best.

I would like some comments and feedback about how the distributions differ on the following points:

x86_64 package management & tools ....
I use a tool called urpmi very often, I find it a charm to use. It can handle x86 & x86_64 packages at the same time. Are there any equivelants for Suse? Do they have biarch support?

Supporting tools...
I use the mandrake control centre. It makes things much simpler. I know that Suse has Yast. Is this as advanced? I also use mandriva on a server which uses msec. Again, is there something equivelant?

Package QA....
It seems that some mandriva packages are released without testing or put together slap hazardly. Do Suse users get this too?

Mirrors & distro....
There is no good mirror for Mandriva in the whole of Australia, much less in Perth. It seems that Suse will be mirrored locally by my provider, but thats just the DVD. Mandriva has a cooker, is there something similar for Suse? Would need this for those few packages that need updating between major version upgrades.

I read and hear a variety of people that say that Mandriva always seems 'snapier'. Is this actually the case or is it the other way round?

And for those that have used both, why do you prefer Suse?
Old 10-06-2005, 09:45 AM   #2
Registered: Nov 2004
Location: Texas
Distribution: openSUSE 10.3, Yoper Linux 3.0 , Arch Linux 2007.08
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Let me take a run at answering some of your questions. I came to SuSE 9.3 after using Mandrake 10.1 CE as my prime Linux env't for about 3/4 of a year. Prior to that I had been using SuSE 9.0. Thinking that the grass was greener on the other side of the hill (Mandrake) I moved over to Mandrake 10.1. As you can see, I am back to SuSE.

1) x86 and x86_64 - can't comment. I have a trusty old 3.0 GHz Intel P4 and it meets all my needs. I have never used a x86_64 chip and can't comment on SuSE support for x86_64.

2) Mandrake Control Center vs. YaST. By definition this is just personal opinion, but I have always found YaST to be superior. I no longer have a bootable Mandrake to look at, but my recollection is that YaST provides control over a much larger range of things, and in a more obvious way. For example, I don't believe Mandrake has any equivalent to YaST's run level editor, which lets you exhaustively and individually tweak what services are started at boot time, via an incredibly conveniant GUI interface. Another example: the 2.6 kernel insists on flushing dirty cache pages to disk every 5 seconds or so. You will have noticed (I sure did on Mandrake 10.1) that your hard disk blinks on and off every 5 seconds or so. YaST provides a control to change the frequency of this update, allowing you to greatly decrease it. This is important just to avoid the annoyance factor, AND if you have an older system, the decrease in duty cycle on the hard drive will likely extend its life.

3) Package Management - SuSE's package management works very well. So does Mandrake's. I would call it "a wash" there. Both have lots of mirrors, lots of software, and lots of external sites building custom versions of things for them.

4) Mirrors - There are lots of good mirrors out there for SuSE. Are there any in Australia? I don't know. I am in the USA, and oddly, one of my favorite mirrors is in Germany, because it is so high speed. I am not sure it matters that your mirror be geographically colocated as long as it is accessible and fast.

5.1) Snappiness - In operation, I don't notice a difference between SuSE 9.3 and Mandrake 10.1. Of course, my "trusty old 3 Ghz Intel P4" isn't really that old. It is a very snappy machine to start with. However, both SuSE and Mandrake seem equally responsive to my subjective opinion.

5.2) Boot Time - you didn't mention this explicitly, but it is a variant of "snappiness". SuSE 9.3 is slower to boot than Mandrake 10.1 on the same machine. If I have one "bone to pick" with SuSE it is boot time. On this machine, Mandrake 10.1 booted from Grub prompt to KDM in about 45 s. SuSE 9.3 takes about 55 s to achieve the same result. This is annoying, but not a show stopper, since I only boot once a day. It is also worth noting that SuSE is now working on a technology they call SUPER (SUse Performance Enhanced Release) which I expect to see go mainstream around SuSE 10.1. SUPER promises to roughly halve this boot time, via use of InitNG, prelinking, and other assorted technologies. If you want an early look at how this works, try out Yoper. The key architect from Yoper was hired by SuSE and is now the driving force behind SUPER.

Finally, there is the general "it just works" nature of SuSE 9.3. I can honestly say that SuSE 9.3 is the best linux release I have ever worked with. I had to fight with a lot of stuff to get it working in Mandrake 10.1. Such things as ATAPI Zip drives (I have an internal ZIP-250), scanners, microphones, even webcams - I got them all going in the end, but it took a lot of work. By contrast, everything just worked on SuSE 9.3. I can honestly say that I was a "delighted customer". This is the first release of linux I have ever worked with where everything just works! Amazing! Ultimately, I voted with my pocketbook. Even though SuSE 9.3 is available for free download, and I had in fact downloaded it free and installed it on two machines, I went out and bought the boxed set. They deserve to be rewarded for such an excellent release.

So, there you have it - that is my very subjective comparison of the two. Like you, I do not intend this as flame bait. Linux is all about choice, and I celebrate the fact that two such excellent releases as Mandrake and SuSE exist (along with many others). We are all free to choose the release(s) we want - I have chosen SuSE, and hopefully illustrated a few of the reasons why. Good luck!
Old 10-06-2005, 09:47 AM   #3
Registered: Jan 2003
Location: Indiana
Distribution: Centos, RedHat Enterprise, Slackware
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I started on Suse because my company uses them for 95% of their servers. I ended up really liking the professional presentation Suse displays not to mention most of our consulting firms will support their software if it runs on Suse. I can't speak to any comparison to Mandriva, but Suse has been a god-send for us "early-adopters". Very professional and "just works" for the most part.

We have several x64 servers running Suse. They also have a "current" section for new software although we don't use it. Suse doesn't support every package out there, but the ones they do support run flawlessly 99% of the time. Third party packages are hit and miss, but aren't included on the main repos. Yast works great, but I have no idea what it can or can't do compared to MCC.
Old 10-06-2005, 09:51 AM   #4
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Distribution: Mac OS X Leopard 10.6.2, Windows 2003 Server/Vista/7/XP/2000/NT/98, Ubuntux64, CentOS4.8/5.4
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I go with pretty much with what mac57 posted.

Like you, I also have used Mandrake (since 9.1) and all the way up to Mandriva 2005LE. I like SUSE and Mandriva very much. In my opinion, you can't go wrong with either one. If you've been satisfied with Mandriva, you should continue sticking with it. But, if you have some spare time and a spare comp to experiment, then SUSE should be the next distro you try.

Last edited by Micro420; 10-06-2005 at 09:53 AM.
Old 10-06-2005, 08:52 PM   #5
Registered: Jul 2004
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Thankyou all very much, especially mac57. I still have questions about x86_64, but I might take to IRC...
Old 10-28-2005, 03:20 PM   #6
Registered: Dec 2004
Location: Florida, USA
Distribution: Suse 10.0, OSX.4, Solaris 10
Posts: 163

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Hi Quad Four,

I have had some experience with X86_64 in SuSE. However, I have never had the chance to try Mandriva's 64bit implementation but did dabble a little around version 10. In my expierence, SuSE 9.3 and 10.0 are both excellent 64 bit OSs. I did have some issues with SAX2 in version 10 that caused me to go back to 9.3, but for the two weeks I used 10 it was awsome!

(some Highlights of 64bit SuSE)
I was able to notice a pretty large decrease in boot time as compared to 9.3 (10 - 15 sec). -This may also apply to 32bit as well but I don't know- However, this isn't a big factor for me since I reboot about once or twice every month or two.

64bit Packaging and install from SuSE are very well laid out and implemented

I personally like SuSE's fit and finish a little more that mandriva (or should I say the mandrake 10 that I tried)

SuSE's management system (YaST) also seems to be implemented better for my taste.

Personally my only gripe is SuSE lack of Multimedia support... But I think I can see where they are coming from and can't blame them for it.

I can second SuSE mirror selection. I have two favorites one in the US and another in germany that are screamin'! (I can't remeber what Mandrake's selection was like). And also don't limit yourself to your continent. there may be a little latency, but I find the some of the best mirrors are on the opposite side of the globe. Especially when it is 1 - 2am on their side of the world.

That's about it for now
Good luck,
Old 10-28-2005, 04:15 PM   #7
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Between SUSE 9.3 and Mandriva LE 2005 I would say the gap was down to personal preference. SUSE just shades it.
Old 10-29-2005, 08:47 AM   #8
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aussie mirror for most distros is
Old 10-29-2005, 09:24 AM   #9
Registered: Jul 2004
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Originally posted by aus9
aussie mirror for most distros is

Ummm... Planetmirror is one of the poorest excuses for a mirror I've ever seen Their mdk mirror is about 3 x times the size than it should because of duplicate files, not to mention its horrendously out of date and unmaintained. They should be removed from the Mandriva mirror list period. Oh, and they don't reply to emails.
Old 10-29-2005, 01:45 PM   #10
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I find choosing between Suse and Mandriva more of personal preference because they are both good distros. I would say urpmi is a lot better than yast (more features and works great in gui mode or command line), but the Mandriva urpmi mirrors are not always reliable and this can be a bit annoying. In Suse you can also use smart , apt and yum (all available for Mandriva as well) although there arent as many repositories compared to YAST repos. On my system Mandriva 2006 boots a lot faster than Suse 10, but this could be different for other individuals. Suse is better at automounting and recognizing devices such as usb sticks, cameras etc (its a suprise because Mandriva used to be good at this but seem to lag behind now).

mac57 Mandriva has a runlevel editor (Services under System in the MCC).

Last edited by reddazz; 10-29-2005 at 01:47 PM.


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