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Centos vs openSUSE: What are the differences?


CentOS and openSUSE are two popular Linux distributions that cater to different user needs and preferences. While they share some similarities being based on Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) and SUSE Linux respectively, there are key differences that set them apart.

1. Package Management: One significant difference between CentOS and openSUSE is the package management system they use. CentOS utilizes the YUM package manager, while openSUSE relies on Zypper. Each package manager has its own commands, repositories, and workflow, leading to variations in how software is installed, updated, and managed on the respective distributions.

2. Release Cycle: Another key difference is the release cycle of CentOS and openSUSE. CentOS follows a stable and long-term support model, providing updates and security patches for an extended period, making it ideal for enterprise use. On the other hand, openSUSE has a more dynamic release cycle with regular updates and newer features, appealing to users who prioritize the latest software versions.

3. Default Desktop Environment: CentOS and openSUSE also differ in their default desktop environments. CentOS typically comes with GNOME as the default desktop environment, providing a familiar and user-friendly interface. In contrast, openSUSE offers users a choice between different desktop environments such as KDE Plasma, GNOME, and Xfce, allowing for greater customization and flexibility based on user preferences.

4. Community Support: In terms of community support, CentOS and openSUSE have distinct ecosystems. CentOS benefits from the strong backing of the Red Hat community, providing extensive documentation, forums, and resources for users. openSUSE, on the other hand, has its own dedicated community of developers, contributors, and users who actively contribute to the distribution's development and support channels.

5. System Configuration Tools: CentOS and openSUSE employ different system configuration tools, which can impact the user experience. CentOS relies on tools like Cockpit and Webmin for managing system settings and configurations, offering a straightforward and web-based interface. In contrast, openSUSE embraces YaST (Yet another Setup Tool) as its comprehensive control center, providing users with a centralized platform to configure various system settings efficiently.

6. Enterprise Focus vs. Community Orientation: While both CentOS and openSUSE cater to various user needs, CentOS leans towards enterprise environments with a focus on stability, reliability, and long-term support. openSUSE, on the other hand, emphasizes community-driven development, innovation, and user engagement, appealing to users who value flexibility, experimentation, and a vibrant ecosystem of contributors.

In Summary, CentOS and openSUSE differ in package management, release cycle, default desktop environment, community support, system configuration tools, and their focus on enterprise use versus community orientation.

Decisions about CentOS and openSUSE
Michael Fogassy

I have used libvirt in every Linux hypervisor deployment I do. I frequently deploy RHEL or CentOS hypervisor servers with libvirt as the VMM of choice. It's installable via the guided setup for EL-based Linux distros, it uses minimal resources and overhead, integrates seamlessly with KVM and Qemu, and provides powerful CLI for advanced users and experts looking for automated deployments, or via VirtManager in your favorite Linux desktop environment. Best used with Linux VMs, it allows KVM and QEMU direct hardware virtualization access.

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Jaron Viëtor

Using Arch Linux for our systems and servers means getting the latest technology and fixes early, as well as early warnings for potential future breakage in other (slower) distributions. It's been easy to maintain, easy to automate, and most importantly: easy to debug.

While our software target is every recent Linux distribution, using Arch internally ensured that everyone understands the full system without any knowledge gaps.

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Jerome/Zen Quah

Global familiarity, free, widely used, and as a debian distro feels more comfortable when rapidly switching between local macOS and remote command lines.

CentOS does boast quite a few security/stability improvements, however as a RHEL-based distro, differs quite significantly in the command line and suffers from slightly less frequent package updates. (Could be a good or bad thing depending on your use-case and if it is public facing)

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Pros of CentOS
Pros of openSUSE
  • 16
  • 9
    Free to use
  • 9
  • 6
    Has epel packages
  • 6
    Good support
  • 5
    Great Community
  • 2
    I've moved from gentoo to centos
  • 4
  • 3
    Lightweight for server
  • 2
  • 2
    Rolling release
  • 2

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Cons of CentOS
Cons of openSUSE
  • 1
    Yum is a horrible package manager
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    What is CentOS?

    The CentOS Project is a community-driven free software effort focused on delivering a robust open source ecosystem. For users, we offer a consistent manageable platform that suits a wide variety of deployments. For open source communities, we offer a solid, predictable base to build upon, along with extensive resources to build, test, release, and maintain their code.

    What is openSUSE?

    The openSUSE project is a worldwide effort that promotes the use of Linux everywhere. openSUSE creates one of the world's best Linux distributions, working together in an open, transparent and friendly manner as part of the worldwide Free and Open Source Software community.

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    What are some alternatives to CentOS and openSUSE?
    Ubuntu is an ancient African word meaning ‘humanity to others’. It also means ‘I am what I am because of who we all are’. The Ubuntu operating system brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computers.
    Fedora is a Linux-based operating system that provides users with access to the latest free and open source software, in a stable, secure and easy to manage form. Fedora is the largest of many free software creations of the Fedora Project. Because of its predominance, the word "Fedora" is often used interchangeably to mean both the Fedora Project and the Fedora operating system.
    Debian systems currently use the Linux kernel or the FreeBSD kernel. Linux is a piece of software started by Linus Torvalds and supported by thousands of programmers worldwide. FreeBSD is an operating system including a kernel and other software.
    Amazon Linux
    The Amazon Linux AMI is a supported and maintained Linux image provided by Amazon Web Services for use on Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2).
    A clone of the operating system Unix, written from scratch by Linus Torvalds with assistance from a loosely-knit team of hackers across the Net. It aims towards POSIX and Single UNIX Specification compliance.
    See all alternatives