Battle of the Elite: openSUSE vs. Mandriva

Battle of the Elite: openSUSE vs. Mandriva - Mandriva and openSUSE are two well-established Linux distributions worthy to be considered elite. Both of them have successfully conquered the hearts of many Linux enthusiasts long before Ubuntu and PCLinuxOS took the stage. With their latest releases namely Mandriva Linux 2008 and openSUSE 10.3, they remained a force to be reckoned with.

In case you are wondering which is better among the two, then you are in luck because it is time once again for our distrowar. It’s Mandriva Linux 2008 vs. openSUSE 10.3 for today’s main event!

I experienced installing and using these distros not-so-long ago, so that kind of gave me the authority to be the judge at this moment. But, let me again remind you that this is purely for entertainment and should not be taken seriously. So if you are ready, “It’s Showtime!”

Distrowar Arena (Test Machine Specs):
Board: Intel Corporation D102GGC2
Processor: 3.40 GHz Intel Pentium D
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB ATA
Memory: 2GB DDR2 RAM
Graphics Card: ATI RADEON X1050
*Note: For fairness sake, I recently installed and tested the KDE versions of Mandriva Linux 2008 and openSUSE 10.3 ‘once again’ using the the test machine listed above.

Tale of the Tape:

Distro Name: openSUSE/ Weight:695MB (KDE-i386.iso)/ Country Origin:Germany/ Distro Origin:Slackware/ Package Mgt.:RPM/ Default Desktop:KDE-Gnome/ Distrowatch Rank:#3

Distro Name: Mandriva Linux/ Weight:694MB (One KDE-CDROM)/ Country Origin:France/ Distro Origin:Red Hat Linux/ Package Mgt.:RPM (urpmi)/ Default Desktop:KDE /Distrowatch Rank:#8

Speed Test:
Installation Time- Winner, Mandriva!
Boot/Start-up Time - Winner, Mandriva!
Responsiveness- Draw!

Mandriva Linux was completely installed with less time consumed compared to a rather long process in openSUSE. Mandriva also boots faster which took around 48 seconds to reach the main desktop from the Grub menu, while openSUSE took about 57 seconds. They were both responsive and I saw no considerable differences that separated the two.

Default Theme- Winner, openSUSE!
Extras- Mandriva!
Artwork- Winner, openSUSE!

For “Default Theme” and “Artwork” I picked openSUSE as the winner because I prefer the color green over Mandriva’s blue as it has a much cleaner and sleeker appeal. Mandriva’s desktop is also well polished but I just love green, that’s all. For “Extras”, the 2D effects of Mettise gave Mandriva the upper hand over openSUSE.

Pre-installed Applications- Draw!
Available Packages from Repo- Draw!
Ease of Use- Winner, Mandriva!

Both have a good line-up of pre-installed software applications and both also have plenty of available software packages from their respective repositories. I considered Mandriva a lot uncomplicated to use compared with openSUSE, based on the ease of installation and its straightforward approach in software and hardware maintenance. Mandriva is also very easy to tweak and I find its graphical configuration tools ideal for Linux beginners.

Hardware Detection- Winner, Mandriva!
Software Maintenance- Draw!
Error Handling- Draw!

They were both running smooth and steady on my test machine so it is kind of hard for me to decide which has the clear advantage. So, I just gave a draw verdict on “software maintenance” and “error handling” just to be safe. However, Mandriva won “hardware detection” because it properly detected my graphics card and then flawlessly installed the necessary device driver to make it fully functional.

Final Score:
Mandriva Linux = 6
openSUSE = 2
*Winner, Mandriva Linux!

Mandriva Linux 2008 may have convincingly won the battle against openSUSE 10.3 but not unanimously because there’s only one judge and that is me :) So, to those who have experienced using these two distros and can compare which of them is better, feel free to give us some feedback.


  1. How do those feel in real long-term use ? How do you feel about OpenSUSE update speed ? (see )

  2. Mandriva is a fusion between both Mandrake and Conectiva, therefore it's not only a French, but also a Brazilian distro.

  3. and that is relevant... how?

  4. Quite agree on what this article described after cycling the switching mode of Mandriva and OpenSuSE of all the variants they have, including x86 and x64. Clearly Mandriva have all he advantages said above.

    There is only 1 drawback of Mandriva being he champion is OpenSUSE does have a better graphical design in terms of desktop and other aspect of look-and-feel.