Battle Royale: Ubuntu 8.04 vs. openSUSE 11

Posted by jun auza On 6/28/2008
All things are set for today’s epic battle. Two major release versions of two major Linux distributions will take the stage for what could be the fight of the year. Dubbed as the Battle Royale, it’s Ubuntu 8.04 vs. openSUSE 11 for our mega main event.

Please pay attention for the formal introduction:

This distro has a long standing record of excellence. It is widely known for its beauty, usability, and features. Fresh from its highly successful key release, please welcome the #1 challenger, the green mean distro fighting machine, openSUSE!

This distro has taken Linux to the next level. Its fast rise to fame can be credited for its user-friendliness, stability, and outstanding community support. Riding high from its recent LTS release, please welcome the defending world distribution champion, the distro Superstar, Ubuntu!

Now, let’s stop this silly intro and get down to business. I know that all of you are already excited to witness this historic match-up. So without any more delay, let’s get ready to rumble!

Tale of the Tape:

Distro Name:openSUSE| Version:11| Weight:664MB| Country Origin:Germany| Distro Origin:Slackware| Package Mgt.:RPM| Default Desktop:KDE-Gnome| Distrowatch Rank:#2

Distro Name:Ubuntu| Version:8.04| Weight:699MB| Country Origin: Isle of Man| Distro Origin:Debian| Package Mgt.:DEB| Default Desktop:GNOME| Distrowatch Rank:#1

Note: I tested the GNOME 32-bit version of openSUSE 11 to match with Ubuntu 8.04

Distrowar Arena (Test Machine Specs):
Board: Intel Corporation D102GGC2
Processor: 3.40 GHz Intel Pentium D
Hard Drive: Samsung 80GB ATA with 8GB allocated to VM disk
Memory: 2GB DDR2 RAM with 512MB allocated to VM memory

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

Installation Speed:
We have carefully timed the installation from start to finish, and Ubuntu 8.04 finished faster than openSUSE 11. It took only 17 minutes for Ubuntu to completely finish the installation, while openSUSE needed 22 minutes to complete.

Boot/Start-up Speed:
We have meticulously measured the boot/start-up speed or the time it takes for a distro to boot from grub menu to the main desktop. After 3 tries, Ubuntu’s start-up speed average is around 41 seconds. openSUSE meanwhile came close with an average of 43 seconds flat. So, Ubuntu has a slim advantage over openSUSE in this category.

They are both wicked fast and responsive in their GNOME desktop so I had to call it a draw for “Responsiveness”.

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

Default Theme:
Both Ubuntu 8.04 and openSUSE 11 have a sleek and polished default theme, but I had to pick a winner on this one. I picked openSUSE because I think the elements of its default theme have blended well with the overall desktop look. --whatever that means ;-)

Artwork is judged based on the appearance of distro’s default boot slash image, login menu screen, and wallpaper. I handed it to openSUSE 11 because it has a more professional appeal. I also love the new green and black combination.

Another openSUSE 11 win for “Extras” because I’m judging this category based on the added eye-candy that a distro can give you out-of-the-box. I just think Ubuntu lacks a bit of X-factor.

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

Pre-installed Applications:
Since both Ubuntu 8.04 and openSUSE 11 comes with outstanding selection of free and open source software and has some equally amazing list of custom applications, I decided to give a draw verdict for this category.

Available Packages from the Repo:
Both Ubuntu 8.04 and openSUSE 11 also have plenty of available packages from their respective repositories, so it’s another draw here.

Ubuntu is still unbeatable in this category because of its simplified desktop and excellent community support. However, openSUSE 11 is within striking distance.

Hardware Detection- Winner, Draw!
Software Management- Ubuntu!
Error Handling- Draw!

Hardware Detection:
I can’t make a concrete judgment in this category because I have tested openSUSE 11 and Ubuntu 8.04 in VMWare only. However, they both performed remarkably well as they have properly configured all of the important VM hardware. So, I have to call it a draw.

Software Management:
Ubuntu 8.04 is the winner in this category because its “Synaptic Package Manager” performed better than the Yast2 software installer of openSUSE 11. Synaptic is much reliable in handling dependencies and it's a little quicker than Yast2.

Error Handling:
Since both Ubuntu 8.04 and openSUSE 11 handled some minor issues that I have encountered quiet well, and they are both quick to send updates and security fixes, it’s a tie for “Error Handling”.

The verdict:
Ladies and gentlemen, the gruelling Battle Royale has come to an end. Let’s now see the scorecard. In Speed Test, the score is 2-0 in favor of Ubuntu! In Aesthetics, the score is 3-0 in favor of openSUSE! In Features, the score is 1-0 in favor of Ubuntu! In Stability, the score is 1-0 in favor of Ubuntu! With the final total score of 4-3, the winner and still distro champion of the world, the distro Superstar, Ubuntu!

In my own choice of categories and tests, and in my own judgment alone, Ubuntu 8.04 has beaten openSUSE 11 but only by a very slim margin. It only shows that openSUSE is worthy to be called the second most popular Linux distribution at the moment, and Ubuntu is still the cream of the crop.

I hope you enjoyed this one. Feel free to share to us your thoughts.

PS - Anyway, I almost forgot to remind you all that our distrowar is just for the spirit of fun and should not be taken seriously. However, you can always take it seriously if you want to ;-)

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