The OpenSUSE and Linux Mint Linux distributions (distros) were introduced to the market at around the same time—Mint in August 2006 and OpenSUSE in October 2005. Both solutions are open-source and free, except for the OpenSUSE Enterprise Edition.
They are some of the best Linux-based operating systems (OS) available today, leveraging some of the best Linux features. While the two distros may be similar in several ways, they are very different when it comes to design and functionality. For instance, both support Timeshift—a functionality that allows you to take snapshots of the system and roll-back to them at a letter date.
However, the Timeshift feature on Mint features a more appealing graphical user interface (GUI). Of the two distros, Linux Mint is relatively easier to install, but SUSE features a more advanced installer. In addition to these, this guide explains the various similarities and differences between Mint and OpenSUSE.
Both Linux Mint and OpenSUSE are excellent Linux distros, but Mint is specifically designed for new Linux users. The OpenSUSE distro, on the other hand, is best suited for intermediate to advanced Linux users who need a stable workstation distro. The SUSE enterprise version offers 24×7 paid support that requires you to pay a yearly subscription fee.
While Mint dies not offer paid support, it has one of the best online community support available for Linux distributions. While Mint is based on Ubuntu and Debian, all OpenSUSE distro editions are based on the factory SUSE Linux Professional.
As for the package manager, SUSE offers the YaST Software Management as default, while Mint uses the Mint Software Manager. By default, Mint supports the amd64 and i386 processor architectures while SUSE features support for ppc64, arm64, and amd64 architectures.
What is OpenSUSE?
OpenSUSE distribution is an intuitive, stable, and complete multi-purpose Linux distribution by the openSUSE project—a world-wide effort that promotes the use of Linux. The core distribution software was developed targeting home owners ad well as developers on desktop, or server environments.
The latest release of the software, the OpenSUSE Leap 15.2 version, features new, extensive improvements to all the useful desktop and server applications. The distro comes with more than 1,000 open-source applications. The software is offered in two main versions: OpenSUSE Tumbleweed, and OpenSUSE Leap.
Tumbleweed is essentially the rolling release version of the OpenSUSE distribution software—featuring the latest upstream software updates that have passed testing. Again, OpenSUSE is also used as the core in the development of the award-winning SUSE Linux Enterprise products.
- The OS is rather versatile, suited for programming and home computing applications alike. Additionally, the provider offers an Enterprise version of the distro, but this is a paid version.
- Though harder to install and use, OpenSUSE features a more advanced installer with more personalization options for the installation
- Supports Timeshift that may be used to capture and store snapshots of the system. Thereafter, you can roll the OS back to the snapshots backup should anything go wrong. The functionality of this feature is similar to that of the Timeshift app on Mint.
- As compared to Mint, the OpenSUSE Linux-based operating system is more stable especially when it comes to the stability and reliability of upgrades.
- The OpenSUSE packages repositories have a larger number of updated packages and software, as compared to Mint and Debian repositories.
- You will find the SUSE distro to be more lightweight, especially for server applications.
The Opens use community is great, but is not as larger and diverse as the Linux Mint community. As compared to Mint, OpenSUSE is comparatively harder to install and features a longer learning curve. This makes the distro only suited for intermediate and advanced Linux users.
What is Mint?
Developed and released by Clement Lefebvre, Linux Mint is one of the leading community-driven Linux distributions available today. The OS is based on Ubuntu and Debian, and the various Mint desktops come bundled with an array of open-source and free applications.
Having been designed for beginners, the software is ready to use for normal home computing and gaming as well as mild programing applications out-of-the-box. Should you choose to include proprietary software like multimedia codecs with your installation, Mint will offer you complete multimedia support.
Despite having a simple interface that is easier to navigate, you will find Linux Mint to be an elegant, modern, and comfortable OS choice. Regardless of the edition you choose, you will find the software to be powerful and relatively easy to use.
- As opposed to SUSE, Mint is supported by both the Mint and Ubuntu communities. As such, the OS benefits from broader community support.
- The various Linux Mint OS editions and desktop environments are designed to allow for easy installation. Mint packages are also easy to configure and install. The OS features an interactive GUI, making it easy even for beginners to install and use.
- As compared to SUSE, the Timeshift feature on Linux Mint has a better GUI, but the functionality is more or less the same.
- Features sleek, lightweight and task desktop environment environments
- Relatively reliable and stable
- Perfectly suited for beginners changing from Windows or macOS to Linux
- When compared to OpenSUSE and many other distros, Mint is easier to navigate and use, regardless of the application.
The Mint distro has been proven to have some security vulnerabilities, hence is not as secure as the Opens use distro. The release cycle by Mint is very long, taking too long for the developers to avail stable updates. As a result most of the apps on the Mint repositories are not up to date.
Similarities and Differences Between OpenSUSE and Linux Mint
As mentioned earlier in this guide, the Linux Mint and OpenSUSE distributions are developed differently. While Mint is based on Ubuntu and Debian, SUSE is built on the factory SUSE Linux Professional core. This being the case, the two distros appear and function differently.
Discussed below are the key similarities and differences between the Linux Mint and OpenSUSE distros:
How do they Compare?
Software Editions and Supported Desktop Environments
Both openSUSE and Linux Mint offer multiple editions for their operating system software, with support for different desktop environments. Here is a detailed comparison of the software editions offered by Mint and SUSE:
OpenSUSE Software Editions
Like many other Linux distros, SUSE offers both a default GUI and command line interface options. Just as is the case with Mint, SUSE supports such desktop environments as MATE, Cinnamon, XFCE, and GNOME. The software is offers in two main operating system versions, the openSUSE Leap and openSUSE Tumbleweed versions.
Two more editions of the software—the openSUSE MicroOS, and OpenSUSE Kubic editions—are essentially built into the two main desktop versions, as explained below:
This is the pure rolling release version of the openSUSE distro. It features all the latest stable software versions as published by the developers. The development of Tumbleweed is based on the Factory openSUSE Tumbleweed. This version is only updated after the SUSE Factory bleeding edge software has been integrated, stabilized and tested.
Tumbleweed is suited for users who wish to have newer packages and apps than the ones on the openSUSE Leap repositories. These include an updated Linux kernel, git, SAMBA, office applications, and desktops among other packages. It presents you with a reliable platform that is both usable and as close to openSUSE Factory as possible.
With the Tumbleweed, the Linux kernel is update frequently. As such this edition is not suited for users who rely on third-party kernel driver modules, including graphic drivers. This makes Tumbleweed a popular distro among software developers, and power users who need access to the latest software stacks and IDEs.
Leap is the LTS-style edition of the distribution that shares a code base with the renowned SUSE Linux Enterprise (SLE). This makes the Leap distro somewhat a non-commercial version of the openSUSE enterprise-grade operating system. It is the stabilized version of the openSUSE distro that offers you a usable, and stable OS with regular updates.
This edition of the software is a preferred distro for Linux developers, software vendors and administrators. Leap is released once every year and in between bug and security fixes. The distro has been proven to be a great server as well as desktop operating system.
This is a Micro Service operating system developed by the openSUSE community. It is essentially designed to host container workloads using automated patching and administration. Installing this OS offers you a small environment for quick deployment of containers—or any other workload that features Transactional Updates.
MicroOS is a modern and lightweight distro that is specifically designed for specific use case deployment. It is also available to accommodate single machine as well as large deployments. Should the system encounter a problem, it is designed to automatically roll back to the last working version. This makes it one of the most resilient Linux-based operating systems available today.
With regards to versatility, the OS is designed for, but not limited to edge devices and container hosts. Additionally, the software is designed to be self-contained and transactional. In this regard, it uses an all-or-nothing approach to update itself automatically. It is compatible with all Tumbleweed and comes with the podman Container-Runtime.
OpenSUSE Kubic is essentially a certified Kubernetes—an open-source system for automated deployment, management and scaling of containerized apps—Distribution that is based on openSUSE MicroOS. The Kubic edition of the software features kubeadm, which allows for easy configuration of Kubernetes cluster across several machines.
The MicroOS base of this distro will automatically keep the OS updated, and also allows for fully atomic rollbacks, when the need arises. You can find much of the source code and Kubic-related tooling on the Kubic GitHub Project.
Linux Mint Software Editions
Similar to openSUSE, Mint is also offered in multiple editions, and supports different desktop environments, including:
Cinnamon is the most modern, innovative, and full-featured Linux Mint edition. It is also the flagship edition for Mint, which makes it one of the most popular Linux-based operating systems for beginners. With the Linux Mint Cinnamon Edition (LMCE), you will get an intuitive, Windows-like desktop environment.
Having been developed by the Linux Mint development team, Cinnamon is basically a fork of the Gnome 3 environment—but is designed to run with fewer3-dimension visual effects. While it is the best-looking desktop of the three Mint editions, Cinnamon is comparatively heavy on resources (especially after you have enabled many visual effects).
By default, the software ckmes with only a few effects enabled for optimized performance. Cinnamon is compatible with both Mint and Ubuntu repositories as well as PPAs.
As compared to Cinnamon, the Linux Mint MATE desktop is faster and more stable. MATE is essentially a continuation of GNOME 2—which was offered as the default desktop environment for Linux Mint between 2006 and 2011. The development of MATE is relatively slower. As a result, the desktop lacks some of the features found on Cinnamon.
However, the Linux Mint MATE Edition (LMME) requires fewer resources, hence runs faster even on older hardware. LMME is designed to offer an experience similar to that of the older Ubuntu versions, but with a Windows-like layout.
Mate uses Caja—a fork of the GNOME file manager Nautilus—as the default file manager. It comes pre-loaded with the essential apps to get you started, but also supports Mint as well as Ubuntu repositories.
This is the most lightweight desktop option of the three Linux Mint editions. Just as is the case with other Mint Editions, XFCE is designed to look like a Windows desktop. In this regard, it features a Start Menu—which may be launched using the Super key or from the desktop layout.
Linux Mint XFCE is based on the Ubuntu core, hence is compatible with Ubuntu repositories. As opposed to the other two desktops, XFCE uses Thunar as the default file manager. Linux Mint LXFCE comes with the basic apps like Thunderbird, LibreOffice, and Firefox pre-installed.
Every Linux distribution has a package management system—a collection of tools that offer a consistent way of installing, removing, and upgrading software. Linux Software solutions are mainly distributed through packages that are linked to metadata. Such packages are provided by repositories, either online repositories or local media (CD, DVD or hard drive).
The Linux Mint and OpenSUSE distributions use different package managers, as explained below:
OpenSUSE Package Manager
Regardless of the edition, openSUSE operating systems use YaST Software Management as the native package manager. It serves as the default installation and configuration tool for both the SUSE Linux Enterprise and openSUSE distributions.
Not only does YaST have an appealing graphical interface, but also allows you to customize the system during or after installation. This tool may also be used to setup the hardware, and configure system services, network, and security settings. It may even be used to configure the entire system.
The YaST Control Center supports thousands of packages form an array of free and open-source platforms. In addition to this, openSUSE also offers the software.opensuse web portal—a remarkable software delivery method for the distro. You can use the search box on this portal to search for any app you need to install on your OpenSUSE distro.
Linux Mint Package Manager
As opposed to the openSUSE distro, Linux Mint supports both the distro-specific and Ubuntu repositories. To allow for seamless installation, removals and updating of software, Mint features a built-in GUI package manager that is very easy to use—the Mint Software Manager, which is accessible from the Applications Menu.
The package manager tool may be used to install apps from the Linux Mint as well as Ubuntu software repositories, and Launchpad PPAs. Starting with the Mint 18.3, the Mint software Manager supports package installation from Flatpak remotes as well. The package manager on Mint comes configured with Flathub by default.
Just as is the case with openSUSE, Mint also supports other package management tools like the Synaptic package manager—which can be installed from the Ubuntu repositories.
Both openSUSE and Linux Mint distros function as full desktop operating systems. For enhanced usability, both distros come with a couple of pre-installed apps. However, the scope, number and nature of pre-installed software differs from one distro to the other, as follows:
OpenSUSE Pre-Installed Apps
The openSUSE distro has everything you need to work and even play out-of-the-box. It comes bundles with a wide range of apps within the entire scope of free software and open-source development. Some of the basic apps you will find pre-installed on this distribution include:
- Mozilla Firefox – the default web browser that feature alerts for known phishing websites
- LibreOffice – a complete suite of office tools, that are compatible with documents created using Microsoft Office
- Amarok and Dragon Player – the default media players
- GIMP and digiKam – Photo editors and viewers
Should you require additional software/apps, you can install them from the openSUSE Official package repositories. These offer a vast array of tested and supported packages for this distribution. The distro also supports the leading third-party repositories, including the Build Service and Packman repositories.
Linux Mint Pre-Installed Apps
Similarly, the Linux Mint distro ships with a wide range of apps pre-installed. The various Mint desktop environments come with such apps as Firefox, LibreOffice, HexChat, Thunderbird, Transmission, VLC media player, and Pidgin. If the OS does not come with your desired app(s) installed, there are several ways you can download and install it.
You can download and install additional apps to your Linux Mint OS using the Software Manager. Alternatively, you can do this by adding the appropriate PPA or by adding a source to your sources file—located in the etc directory. Linux Mint can also run many of the apps designed for Windows OS, including the Microsoft Office.
You can install Windows apps onto the Mint distro using the Wine Windows compatibility layer app or with the help of virtualization software like VirtualBox, and VMware. Starting with the Linux Mint version 18.1, the OS installer offers an option to add third-party as well as proprietary software.
The Linux Mint operating system offers a rather intuitive Windows-like desktop to suit new Linux users. The openSUSE distro, on the other hand, presents a more stable workstation OS option that is suited for intermediate to advanced users.
One of the great things about openSUSE is that it is updated regularly. This ensures that you always have access to stable versions of the latest features, whether you are using Tumbleweed or Leap. The Mint update cycle is based on the Ubuntu LTS release model.
Even so, Mint falls behind Ubuntu with update releases. Again, openSUSE ships with more advanced development and gaming features out-of-the box. Therefore, the right distro will depend on the intended application and your level of experience.