During the installation process, GeckoLinux asks you to create a user and root password. Unlike Korora however, GeckoLinux simply prompts you along and it has the "administrator" box set to "checked."
GeckoLinux provides its default partition setup with a BtrFS root directory (with snapshots enabled) and a XFS home directory. This is in addition to multiple sub-volumes for /boot, /tmp, /opt and so on. The installation process takes pretty much the same amount of time as with Korora.
Upon my first boot to my now installed GeckoLinux desktop, I was not greeted by any dialogs whatsoever. For a more advanced user such as myself, this is a good thing. For the newbies unfamiliar with how OpenSUSE differs from other distributions, this might be something they miss.
Since the version of GeckoLinux I chose is based on a OpenSUSE Leap, updating meant using YaST2's online update tool. It's also important to note that since GeckoLinux uses Packman (not to be confused with Pacman) along with OpenSUSE specific repositories. I'm pleased to report that syncing repos for the first time may take a couple of minutes, but the process was indeed painless.
Once the update was done refreshing everything, the recommended updates available were broken up into two camps: Security and Recommended. None of the updates were checked off by default and installing them was a bit of a stroll through the update menu's layout. I had to go to the "Package" pulldown menu, then select "All" in the list, and finally "Install." Once this was completed, I was then presented with my packages….but they still weren't installed. They merely had green check marks next to them. Apparently I needed to click "Accept" once again, approve any "Automatic Changes," hit "Continue" once and then "Continue" one last time.
I'll be first to admit that this was pretty annoying, even for a GUI. I suspect using the command line for package management is far less dramatic. In any case, I rebooted after my updates and everything continued to work great as expected.
Running a GeckoLinux release based on OpenSUSE Leap, I found some elements of my desktop were a bit older. GeckoLinux provided me with Linux kernel 4.1.27, VLC 2.2.4 and GNOME 3.16.2. Whether or not you consider these older software packages to be more stable than their newer counterparts available with Korora depends on how you measure stability. Historically, I've found OpenSUSE Leap to be quite stable whereas Fedora releases always had minor issues that needed to be ironed out.
With my GeckoLinux installation, I was presented with YaST2 as my default software manager. Software discovery is comparable to what one might find with Synaptic. So if you aren't familiar with application titles by name, you may need to browse through the RPM groups tab of the software manager.
As mentioned previously, Packman repositories are included with GeckoLinux by default. So just about any software title you can think of is available from YaST2. Should you find yourself missing some popular titles, you can also head over to software.opensuse.org and follow up with a quick search. Both with YaST2 and software.opensuse.org, my application installations went off flawlessly.
Years ago, I never thought I'd see the day when I was recommending non-Debian based distributions. After all, Debian, Ubuntu and other related distros have always been my goto recommendations for most people. Flash forward to 2016 and I find myself comfortable in recommending both Korora and GeckoLinux to anyone who's willing to try something new.
To be clear, there are definite differences and some "gotchas" to be aware of if you're new to Linux. But for anyone comfortable with using Linux as their daily driver, you'll find both of these distributions great to use.
At the end of the day, each distro hits on the stuff that I care about: Software availability, restricted codecs/drivers installed or available from the repos. And while neither distro offers a dedicated GUI for video driver installation, it's easy enough to do from a terminal once you've read through the documentation for both distros.
Are either of these right for you? That depends on what you want. For newbies….despite Korora's best efforts and polish, I feel GeckoLinux based on OpenSUSE Leap wins because of the following:
1. Based on OpenSUSE Leap, which happens to be very stable. It shares a lot of its core with SLED (SUSE Linux Enterprise Desktop) which is known for its rock solid stability
2. A Dedicated home directory by default. Some will disagree, however I personally won't use any environment without a dedicated home directory. That way if I hose a Linux install, I shrug and reinstall...without losing my settings/docs/etc.
3. The update GUI for GeckoLinux actually works. When I tested out Korora, their updater wasn't working with my main user...despite giving that user administrator privileges. DNF worked fine in the terminal. Fine for me, not compatible with newbies.
4. Administrator privileges by default. GeckoLinux had this box checked off by default. Despite the security advantages of restricting a user's administrator privileges, setting this as "off" by default is not a good idea for casual users.
And there you have it: For newbies, GeckoLinux will provide the best experience out of the two distros. However, for users such as myself, I could be very content with either distribution. What say you? Perhaps you disagree with my recommendations? Maybe instead, you have something to add? Hit the Comments, share your thoughts.