Language Selection

English French German Italian Portuguese Spanish

Battle of the Titans: Mandriva 2008 vs openSUSE 10.3

Filed under
MDV
SUSE
-s

I've followed development of openSUSE and Mandriva fairly closely over the years, albeit a bit closer of openSUSE. I write about how nice they both are. I pick out the new features and test basic functionality. I see what's included and what makes up the base system. I like them both. But a visitor and contributor here at tuxmachines asked which would be better for his laptop and that gave me the idea to compare these large multi-CD Titans of Linux development.

In the blue corner weighing in at 4.3 GB, Mandriva 2008.0. In the green corner weighing in at 4.2 GB, openSUSE 10.3.

Installer

Both have a pretty graphical installer that walks the user through configuration by asking for user input in easy to understand / easy to answer formats. Both have advanced options available for those with more individualized needs. Both offer differing levels of user input for package selection either by main desktop, area selections, or individual packages. They both take roughly the same time to install. Both install a bootloader of your choice while detecting most other systems on your machine. In all these areas, I'm going to declare a tie.

Mandriva has a wonderful graphic partitioner. It lays out the hard drives in an image to represent the size, type, and placement of each partition in differing colors for each filesystem type. Options and choices are input from the same screen so you can always refer back to what's there. This is great for new users and the experienced alike. openSUSE's partitioner is text listing of the partitions in tree form. The edit/create/other buttons are at the bottom, and editing or creating a partition opens another window. Hands down, Mandriva's partitioner wins this round.

Both offer excellent hardware detection and auto-configuration and both have a summary screen for user changes. Both detect and correctly set-up all the same hardware on my test system and neither can set up my Windows dependent wireless ethernet chip. Mandriva does offer to use Ndiswrapper and allows for graphical navigation to the driver on my Windows partition. It doesn't work for me this release, but I think it'd work for some others. If your device is detected, both offer a convenient wizard for setting up the options. It's close here, but Mandriva takes it because of the wizard that includes the Ndiswrapper choice.

So Mandriva is the winner of the installation phase.

Winner: Mandriva

Curb Appeal

This area is going to be highly subjective. Both openSUSE and Mandriva appear to spend a lot of time and effort to make their operating system pretty to the eye. Both have lovely customized Grub screens, silent splashes, desktop splashes, nice icons, customized panels and menus, and lovely Wallpapers. openSUSE's tend to be a bit more understated while Mandriva's offer a bit more flash. Again, subjective, but I think Mandriva is just a tad prettier than openSUSE.

Winner: Mandriva

Installed Software

openSUSE 10.3 was released a few weeks before Mandriva 2008.0, so Mandriva might have a bit of an unfair advantage when considering the versions of components used. Also, it's a misnomer to assume the latest is always the greatest, but generally we tend to feel that way.

Both offer KDE and GNOME as the main desktops while offering to install some of the smaller choices. Both have software for all the tasks commonly accomplished with computers. But let's compare a few version numbers:



openSUSE 10.3 Mandriva 2008.0
Kernel
2.6.22
2.6.22
Xorg
7.2
7.2
GCC
4.2.1
4.2.2
KDE
3.5.7
3.5.7
GNOME
2.20
2.20
OpenOffice.org
2.3.0
2.2.1
Firefox
2.0.0.6
2.0.0.6
The GIMP
2.2.17
2.40 (rc2)
Pidgin
2.1.1
2.2.1
qt
3.3.8
3.3.8
gtk
2.12
2.12
apache
2.2.4
2.2.6
php
5.2.4
5.2.4
mysql
5.0.45
5.0.45


As you can see, there isn't a whole lot of difference in software offerings. Mandriva offers the newer GIMP and Pidgin, but then makes a serious faux pas sending out OpenOffice.org 2.2.11. The updates to it were for security vulnerabilities and it probably should have been updated. So, I'm going to say openSUSE takes this one.

Winner: openSUSE

Software Management

Both Mandriva and OpenSUSE offer a graphical software manager and a seperate online update with system tray applet. Although the same functionality exists between the two, Mandriva's software manager has a cleaner, easier-to-use interface. It seems openSUSE's interface is more cluttered and busy, and takes a bit of investigating to reach the same level of comfort and ease found in Mandriva's. In addition, I prefer the commandline functionality of urpmi to that of zypper. Both the online updates go out and fetch a mirror for you. Both show the updates and allow the user to decide if to apply them or not. As far as the updater, it's a tie. But, for me at least, I like Mandriva's software management system better.

Winner: Mandriva

Hardware Support

Again, the two contenders are almost equally competent in this area. For me, both offered my preferred screen resolution by default using "nv," both configured my touchpad and add-on mouse correctly, both configured my sound, and offered to mount removable media in KDE and just mounted them in GNOME. Both will allow me to set up my wireless chip using Ndiswrapper at the commandline. The only difference I found was in the area of laptop hibernation features. Both had CPU scaling out of the box, but neither could suspend to ram. Only Mandriva could suspend to disk and wake up properly. (Mandriva Power Pack could do both). So, only by a hair does Mandriva win this round.

Winner: Mandriva

Stability

I always kinda hate to talk about stability in a distro. Loading a distro and using it for a few hours or even a few days to open the apps, test a few file formats support, and surf the internet some doesn't really tell the tale. One really needs to use a distro for an extended period of time for everything they do to get an accurate picture. I try to always qualify my stability reports with something like "for the time I tested" or "the small amount I tested." So, for the small amount of testing in these distros, a few days of light tasks for each, I found them to be equally stable.

Winner: Neither (tie)

Performance

One of the new features of openSUSE was a faster boot process. But in tests here, I didn't find it any faster than previous versions really, it was always fast here. It seems both distros are running fairly close on this race as well. Let's look at some numbers in seconds:



openSUSE 10.3 Mandriva 2008.0
Boot up
38
52
KDE
10
12
GNOME
25
7
OpenOffice.org
7
7
Firefox
3
5
The GIMP
3
4
Shut down
17
19


As you can see, the numbers are pretty close. openSUSE seems to edge Mandriva out of a few seconds here and there, but really drops the ball with GNOME. I tested this several times, including rebooting. I don't know if this GNOME figure is universal or just me. Assuming it's not an anomaly, openSUSE still wins by my unscientific method of adding up how long it takes to get to each desktop with the above listed apps open and dividing by two. openSUSE scored a total of 65 seconds and Mandriva scored a total of 77 seconds.

Winner: openSUSE


Overall Winner

In our little just-for-fun comparison, we the judges find that Mandriva wins by 4 categories to 2. But to the original question the answer would be to go buy the Mandriva Power Pack2 or try PCLOS or ALT Linux in which advanced power saving feature do work out of the box. Also, YMMV.

However, don't forget that both openSUSE and Mandriva are both nice distros. This little article is highly subjective and you may not agree. That's okay. I love them both.


Winner: Mandriva 2008.0






UPDATE 1: Adam Williamson, of Mandriva, has written to inform users that their version of OpenOffice.org has had update backports to close any known vulnerabilities. More information available at Beranger's Blog. Fri, 10/19/2007 - 17:38

UPDATE 2: Or if you have an NVIDIA chip, install the NVIDIA proprietary graphic drivers from Mandriva's non-free repository. Suspend to disk will work with the NVIDIA drivers installed. Users of other graphic chips may have the desired results out of the box. Sat, 10/20/2007 - 00:18




Well, OpenSUSE 10.3 didn't

Well, OpenSUSE 10.3 didn't even install on a VirtualBox Disk.
Among all distros i have tested so far on this environment, this is really the only one that has failed to install.

Starting from Susan's Mandriva vs. openSUSE...

Susan's comparative review Battle of the Titans: Mandriva 2008 vs openSUSE 10.3 is not perfect, but not that bad either. I would have preferred some numerical values, and a final score for each of them. But anyway...

Anyway, the sad part is an unexpected secrecy with Mandriva: try a search for http://qa.mandriva.com/show_bug.cgi?id=CVE-2007-2834 and you will get a blunt:

You are not authorized to access bug #33759.

Huh?!

More Here

There no hidden bug and the bug has been fixed

Quote:

[root@info1 network-scripts]# rpm -q --changelog openoffice.org | grep CVE-2007-2834
- Added patch openoffice.org-2.2.1-CVE-2007-2834.patch. Closes: #33824

[root@info1 network-scripts]# rpm -q openoffice.org
openoffice.org-2.2.1-3mdv2008.0

So Mandriva OpenOffice.org package is not vulnerable and the bug report is accessible, it's #33824 :
http://qa.mandriva.com/show_bug.cgi?id=33824

--
Close the World, Open the Net : http://www.linux-wizard.net
http://guevara-cafe76.blogspot.com/

OpenOffice.org security

As Fabrice noted, the OpenOffice.org package in Mandriva Linux 2008 has all security fixes from 2.3.0 backported. It is not vulnerable to any known security issue.
--
Adam Williamson
Mandriva
Community manager | Newsletter editor | Bugmaster | Proofreader | Packager

Suspend / resume

There's no intentional reason Powerpack would work for suspend / resume on your system but Free / One would not. It's not a feature we've disabled in Free / One, or anything. I suspect it comes down to some kind of incidental installation detail, it might be hard to figure out what, though. I wouldn't expect this to be something consistent (i.e. it's not like suspend will *never* work on Free / One, but will always work on Powerpack).
--
Adam Williamson
Mandriva
Community manager | Newsletter editor | Bugmaster | Proofreader | Packager

re: Suspend / resume

Oh no one thinks, I wasn't trying to imply, it was intentional. The only obvious difference in my Power Pack and Free installs I can think of is some of the "extra" apps and the NVIDIA drivers. But otherwise, I chose the same categories under 'Custom Install' and turned off the same services (iptables, shorewall, and netfs).

OH, another difference is that the Power Pack's bootloader is installed on the MBR and Free's is on the / partition chainloaded. But both have the "resume" parameter defined in the kernel appends.

I found it a head scratcher too.

I was a bit surprised it was broken openSUSE as well. It always worked on it before, but sure enough, on the GM install it was inoperative (for me anyway).

possibly...

It could potentially be the video driver. You could try installing the NVIDIA driver on the Free install (using the official repositories) and see if it works then. That's the only thing that springs to mind.
--
Adam Williamson
Mandriva
Community manager | Newsletter editor | Bugmaster | Proofreader | Packager

re: possibly

Yep that was it. It does work now using the NVIDIA proprietary graphic drives from the non-free sources.

I had thought of that, but then I thought I recalled suspend working with "nv" in some other distros.

okay, bingo. do you

okay, bingo. Smile do you remember on what distro suspend worked with nv, and what version of nv that distro had, by any chance?
--
Adam Williamson
Mandriva
Community manager | Newsletter editor | Bugmaster | Proofreader | Packager

Bad customer service

AdamW,
I'm posting here because that's the only way I can get someone from Mandriva to pay attention I guess. Mandriva *never* replied to any of my customer tickets (and yes [yawn] I was entitled to support).

Bought 2008 Powerpack DVD. Waited 10 days. Received an e-mail from Mandriva saying that 'their supplier' cannot send within (another) 10 days. Ooooh right - I forgot that we're dealing with Mandriva here. They took my money right away (about 50 euros) and then they SIT on it for 20 days (and maybe more) before shipping it. Not being able to burn a DVD? With respect: BS. I don't care - or need to care - about your internal problems.

So this reminded me instantly of my experiences when buying two earlier Mandriva versions on DVD. Both instances were extremely irritating at the time. So I decided to go with SuSE from then on, but seeing the good reviews I decided to try again. Third time now.

Just needed to say this.

Oh - and do something about the utterly confusing website.

Be happy with my money.

Suspend to disk/Suspend to RAM on openSUSE 10.3

My CompTIA certification book tells me that a computer with good ACPI support will have power management settings in the BIOS itself. My Presario V2000 laptop (with its ATI Radeon Mobility 200M chipset) doesn't — one drawback of buying an inexpensive laptop, I suppose. (In other words, without hardware support, suspend has to be done in software.) So, how well this works seems to depend a lot on your specific computer model's hardware.

On openSUSE 10.3, suspend-to-disk worked out of the box, with the ATI proprietary driver ("fglrx") installed, complete with a cute "going to sleep" graphic.

Suspend-to-RAM was another matter entirely. The openSUSE wiki has a few articles about it, including ACPI Suspend debugging (a good place to start); S2ram, and pm-utils.

In order to get suspend-to-ram working on my laptop, I had to:

  • delete the ATI ("fglrx") driver entirely and go back to the "radeon" driver — not just disable "fglrx" in xorg.conf, but completely remove it from the system;
  • set "vga=0" as a kernel parameter in /boot/grub/menu.lst. In other words, no more splashy; no nice 1024x768 framebuffer; just plain 80x25 text scrolling by at boot time;
  • find out the s2ram parameters that work for my laptop — "s2ram -f -a 1" in my case;
  • and add them to the "S2RAM_OPTS=" line in /usr/lib/pm-utils/defaults.

(Actually, you're supposed to make up your own configuration file in /etc/pm/config.d, because changes you make to /usr/lib/pm-utils/defaults could get overwritten by a package upgrade. But the documentation wasn't very clear about how to do that, so I'll play with it later.)

Now suspend-to-RAM works fine, at the expense of video acceleration (no great loss).

On another note, it's interesting how much openSUSE/Novell software's gone into common usage. Just off the top of my head, the grub-gfxmenu code (that enables animations), the "kickoff" KDE menu, and the Beagle desktop indexer all came from openSUSE. Debian uses openSUSE's S2ram code in its "uswsusp" package.

Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

More in Tux Machines

Python Across Platforms

  • Chemists bitten by Python scripts: How different OSes produced different results during test number-crunching

    Chemistry boffins at the University of Hawaii have found, rather disturbingly, that different computer operating systems running a particular set of Python scripts used for their research can produce different results when running the same code. In a research paper published last week in the academic journal Organic Letters, chemists Jayanti Bhandari Neupane, Ram Neupane, Yuheng Luo, Wesley Yoshida, Rui Sun, and Philip Williams describe their efforts to verify an experiment involving cyanobacteria, better known as blue-green algae. Williams, associate chair and professor in the department of chemistry at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, said in a phone interview with The Register on Monday this week that his group was looking at secondary metabolites, like penicillin, that can be used to treat cancer or Alzheimer's.

  • Chemists discover cross-platform Python scripts not so cross-platform

    In a paper published October 8, researchers at the University of Hawaii found that a programming error in a set of Python scripts commonly used for computational analysis of chemistry data returned varying results based on which operating system they were run on—throwing doubt on the results of more than 150 published chemistry studies. While trying to analyze results from an experiment involving cyanobacteria, the researchers—Jayanti Bhandari Neupane, Ram Neupane, Yuheng Luo, Wesley Yoshida, Rui Sun, and Philip Williams—discovered significant variations in results run against the same nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR) data. The scripts, called the "Willoughby-Hoye" scripts after their authors—Patrick Willoughby and Thomas Hoye of the University of Minnesota—were found to return correct results on macOS Mavericks and Windows 10. But on macOS Mojave and Ubuntu, the results were off by nearly a full percent.

today's leftovers

  • Fedora Removes 32bit, System76 Coreboot, Flatpak, Valve, Atari VCS, Docker | This Week in Linux 84

    On this episode of This Week in Linux, we talk about Fedora Removing 32-bit, well sort of. System76’s announced two laptops using Coreboot firmware. There is some interesing news regarding Docker and its future. Then we’ll check out some Linux Gaming news with some really exciting news from Valve! 

  • PostgreSQL 12 boosts open source database performance

    Performance gains are among the key highlights of the latest update of the open source PostgreSQL 12 database. PostgreSQL 12 became generally available Oct. 3, providing users of the widely deployed database with multiple enhanced capabilities including SQL JSON query support and improved authentication and administration options. The PostgreSQL 12 update will potentially affect a wide range of use cases in which the database is deployed, according to Noel Yuhanna, an analyst at Forrester Research. "Organizations are using PostgreSQL to support all kinds of workloads and use cases, which is pushing the needs for better performance, improved security, easier access to unstructured data and simplified deployments," Yuhanna said. "To address this, PostreSQL12 improves performance by improving its indexing that requires less space and has better optimization to deliver faster access."

  • Olimex Launches NB-IoT DevKit Based on Quectel BC66 Module for 19 Euros

    There are three LPWAN standards currently dominating the space LoRaWAN, NB-IoT, and Sigfox. 

  • Intel Denverton based Fanless Network Appliance Comes with 6x Ethernet Ports, 2x SFP Cages
  • Heading levels

    the headings would be “Apples” (level 1), “Taste” (level 2), “Sweet” (level 3), “Color” (level 2). Determining the level of any given heading requires traversing through its previous siblings and their descendants, its parent and the previous siblings and descendants of that, et cetera. That is too much complexity and optimizing it with caches is evidently not deemed worth it for such a simple feature. However, throwing out the entire feature and requiring everyone to use h1 through h6 forever, adjusting them accordingly based on the document they end up in, is not very appealing to me. So I’ve been trying to come up with an alternative algorithm that would allow folks to use h1 with sectioning elements exclusively while giving assistive technology the right information (default styling of h1 is already adjusted based on nesting depth). The simpler algorithm only looks at ancestors for a given heading and effectively only does so for h1 (unless you use hgroup). This leaves the above example in the weird state it is in in today’s browsers, except that the h1 (“Color”) would become level 2. It does so to minimally impact existing documents which would usually use h1 only as a top-level element or per the somewhat-erroneous recommendation of the HTML Standard use it everywhere, but in that case it would dramatically improve the outcome.

  • openSUSE OBS Can Now Build Windows WSL Images

    As Windows Subsystem for Linux (WSL) is becoming a critical piece of Microsoft’s cloud and data-center audience, openSUSE is working on technologies that help developers use distributions of their choice for WSL. Users can run the same WSL distribution that they run in the cloud or on their servers. The core piece of openSUSE’s WSL offering is the WSL appx files, which are basically zip files that contain a tarball of a Linux system (like a container) and a Windows exe file, the so called launcher.

2D using Godot

This brings me to the GUI parts. I’m still not convinced that I understand how to properly layout stuff using Godot, but at least it looks ok now – at the cost of some fixed element sizes and such. I need to spend some more time to really understand how the anchoring and stretching really works. I guess I have a hard time wrapping my head around it as the approach is different from what I’m used to from Qt. Looking at the rest of the code, I’ve tried to make all the other scenes (in Godot, everything is a scene) like independent elements. For instance, the card scene has a face, and an is_flipped state. It can also signal when it is being flipped and clicked. Notice that the click results in a signal that goes to the table scene, which decides if the card needs to be flipped or not. The same goes for the GUI parts. They simple signal what was clicked and the table scene reacts. There are some variables too, e.g. the number of pairs setting in the main menu, and the points in the views where that is visible. Read more

Linux Graphics Stack: Intel, AMD and More

  • Intel Linux Graphics Driver Adds Bits For Jasper Lake PCH

    Details are still light on Jasper Lake, but volleyed onto the public mailing list today was the initial support for the Jasper Lake PCH within the open-source Linux graphics driver side. The patch adds in the Jasper Lake PCH while acknowledging it's similar to Icelake and Tigerlake behavior. The Jasper Lake PCI device ID is 0x4D80. The patch doesn't reveal any other notable details but at least enough to note that the Jasper Lake support is on the way. Given the timing, the earliest we could see Intel Jasper Lake support out in the mainline kernel would be for Linux 5.5, which will be out as stable as the first kernel series of 2020 and in time for the likes of Ubuntu 20.04 LTS and Fedora 32.

  • Linux Graphics Drivers Could Have User-Space API Changes More Strictly Evaluated

    In response to both the AMD Radeon and Intel graphics drivers adding new user-space APIs for user-space code that just gets "[thrown] over the wall instead of being open source developed projects" and the increase of Android drivers introducing their own UAPI headaches, Airlie is looking at enforcing more review/oversight when DRM drivers want to make user-space API changes. The goal ultimately is to hopefully yield more cross-driver UAPI discussions and in turn avoiding duplicated efforts, ensuring good development implementations prior to upstreaming, and better quality with more developers reviewing said changes.

  • xf86-video-ati 19.1 Released With Crash & Hang Fixes

    For those making use of xf86-video-ati on X.Org-enabled Linux desktops, the version 19.1 release brings just a handful of new fixes. This release was announced today by Michel Dänzer who last month departed AMD to now work on Red Hat's graphics team. Michel is sticking around the Mesa/X.Org world for Red Hat's duties but is hoping someone else will be picking up maintenance of the xf86-video-ati/xf86-video-amdgpu DDX drivers going forward. Granted, not a lot of activity happens to these X.Org DDX drivers these days considering more Linux desktops slowly moving over to Wayland, many X11 desktops using the generic xf86-video-modesetting, and these AMD drivers being fairly basic now with all of the big changes in the AMDGPU DRM kernel driver.