The overall feel of the two desktop options, really seem to center around who they're trying to target. In my opinion, openSUSE is working very hard to appeal to the enterprise user. Ubuntu is targeting newbies by offering lots of glitz and glamour with additional Unity lenses and their new web apps integration.
With the bulk of openSUSE's features described above, let's look at Ubuntu's new feature set.
- Unity previews: Now right clicking on an icon within the Unity dash provides you with additional preview information on the selected item.
- Photo lens: This gives the end user access to image previews of photos stored locally, in addition to those stored through cloud-based accounts.
- Ubuntu One offers sharable links: Taking a page from Dropbox, Ubuntu One now allows you to share files from within its cloud space.
- Install software from the dash: Despite being fairly cynical myself, I was rather taken by the option to install software via the dash in Unity. While I prefer using a terminal for speed, I can see this as being a neat feature to show off to people.
Long story short, unless you spend a lot of time in the Unity dash or enjoy integrated web apps, these features offered by Ubuntu 12.10 may be considered mere window dressing when held against the behind the scenes features offered by openSUSE.
Software and updates
Overall, both distributions offer something unique to their individual audiences. Ubuntu is offering a lot of glamour and neat GUI functionality with its latest changes to the Unity dash, lenses and Ubuntu One features. On the other side, we have openSUSE with its focus on polish, speed and stability.
But how do the two distributions compare when it comes down to software availability and smooth updates?
Sadly with openSUSE, my efforts to update my system took three attempts. By the third try, the errors stopped and the updates went through. Compare this to Ubuntu's beta release, the updates I ran went smooth as butter and at no time was I given an error called "Failed: Failed."
Had openSUSE 12.2 also been a beta release, this might not have been such a big deal. Unfortunately, though, this wasn't the case.
The next item on my list was to see what kind of software availability was out there between a brand new openSUSE and the still-in-beta Ubuntu 12.10.
I tested a couple of random software titles, just to see how things would turn out. First I went to openSUSE's awesome package repository found at software.opensuse.org. I searched for Kazam, located it and was able to install it easily with the one-click installation.
When I compared the results of the two tests, I was surprised. The only thing openSUSE was missing that I was able to find in Ubuntu was OpenShot. All the other applications were readily accessible. My only gripe is that I would like to see software.opensuse.org integrated into openSUSE somehow. It's such a great resource, I'd hate to see users unaware of the fact that there are great software titles in this repository.
And the winner is...?
Now it comes down to the big question – which distribution is the best of the two? In all honesty, my answer might seem a bit cryptic.