I’m eagerly awaiting my AMD 13" Laptop. Just can’t decide which distro to slap! I’m deciding between OpenSUSE Tumbleweed (with KDE) and Fedora Kinoite.
What I’m looking for is a distro that has a relatively up to date KDE Plasma desktop. I want something that can be installed and configured once but then can run for years and years without needing a reinstall or breaking itself, and also a system that can undo bad updates so that if an update breaks something I can get back to work after a rollback and reboot. I’m happy to use Flatpaks or Distrobox so the number of packages in the repo doesn’t matter to me.
officially supported by Framework (although not Kinoite, but Workstation)
immutability should lead to great reliability, in theory
people say it has saner defaults (e.g. Tumbleweed’s firewall blocks all network printers by default)
less bloated, comes with barely any apps installed
as it’s not immutable, complex things can become easier - for example some apps just won’t work on an immutable system (e.g. some VPN apps) or it’s more complicated to set up (e.g. installing Virt-Manager: 2 clicks in Yast when using Tumbleweed, vs manually installing an basically undocumented list of packages via rpm-ostree on Kinoite)
Snapper rollback could mean it’s just as reliable as Kinoite in the long run, despite being mutable? idk
people say OpenSUSE has a better KDE integration and KDE polish, whatever that means. I guess SUSE is a KDE patron while Red Hat is not, but besides that I’m not sure what the tangible differences would be.
I’d be interested to hear people’s opinion, especially if you’ve run both of these system. And also any experiences on the Framework laptop specifically.
Not preferring one or the other, but you may want to consider the responsiveness of their respective community. When choosing distros, I always have to assume that I’d be running into issues somehow, hopefully minor ones. It helps keep me at ease when I know that I have a circle of support I could relatively rely on.
I don’t have a Framework notebook yet but I will be buying a Framework AMD Ryzen 16” notebook.
I have been using SuSE and openSUSE for the past 27 years. I’ve tried Fedora over the years but have found that, for me, openSUSE worked better and was easier to use than Red Hat distros. I’ve also been able to find every program that I ever needed in an rpm or other format which I could easily install on openSUSE versions. The excellent YaST configuration and software installation utility is one of the reasons that I started using SUSE instead of Red Hat or other distros when I first started using Linux in 1996.
I usually use the openSUSE Leap distros but I did use openSUSE Tumbleweed for about a year and a half during the time that the AMD integrated Vega graphics for the Ryzen cpus had not yet been backported to the kernels used in the openSUSE Leap versions. Certainly if you have brand new hardware, Tumbleweed is a great choice. Installing the various multimedia codecs isn’t quite as easy as it is on some distros but there are easy ways to install them on openSUSE and plenty of instructions for doing that.
I provided tech support for a number of friends who also had AMD Ryzen cpus with Vega graphics and I had all of them using openSUSE Tumbleweed until the drivers for the AMD Vega were backported to openSUSE Leap.
During the times I’ve used openSUSE Tumbleweed I’ve found it quite stable and quite reliable, despite being a rolling release. In the very few instances where an update caused a glitch, the glitch was usually fixed by another update in a day or two. I never had enough of a problem to require a reinstall of Tumbleweed.
One of the big advantages of running Tumbleweed is that you get the device drivers for new graphics, processors, and other hardware very quickly. For me the only downside, and it was a minor downside, was the great number of updates because every installed program was updated every time there was an update. Fortunately, I have a very fast fiber optic Internet connection with unlimited downloads, so even a large number of updates were downloaded and installed very quickly. You could probably do an update every week or every few weeks or even every month to reduce the size of the downloads and you could also download only the security updates or updates for specific apps.
The openSUSE forms are very active and friendly and have been very helpful when I have run into issues that I needed some help to resolve.
I periodically try other distros and I’ve helped friends who are using other distros but the dozens and dozens and dozens of friends and relatives that I’ve set up with Linux are all using openSUSE and they are very pleased with it. I’m also very pleased that they are using openSUSE because they have far fewer problems than when they were using Windows or the Mac OS so they need much less support. I have several friends who were delighted to discover how well Linux ran on their older Windows PCs or Macs which were no longer supported.
I would certainly suggest that you give openSUSE Tumbleweed a try.
Thank you all. I think I’ll attempt Kinoite first, as Fedora is officially supported by Framework, and see how it goes with a Flatpak-only system. If it doesn’t work for me, Tumbleweed is my Plan B (rather than normal Fedora, which doesn’t have the benefit of snapper rollback)
Just a point of important clarification, Fedora workstation is officially supported, Fedora immutable projects (Silverblue and Kinoite) are far less tested, but should be fine once you understand that Fedora workstation documentation will not apply - however we lack the documentation for Kinoite and Silverblue as these are community efforts.
I have been running OpenSUSE Tumbleweed (Gnome) for a few days now, and it’s working pretty much flawlessly since the firmware upgrade. Issues that’ve come up so far (but that could be because I’m no linux pro):
Fingerprint doesn’t work for sudo
sometimes the battery drains a lot over night. Mostly it doesn’t, but I’ve had it happen twice and don’t know why. I think I left signal open over night on those days.
Full disk encryption requires me to enter my password twice, and it’s slow as heck. EDIT: theres a nice tutorial to fix this on the opensuse wiki, I just followed it and it works wonderfully
other than that, I fully recommend tumbleweed over leap because of the newer kernel. I absolutely love this device and have been shuffling around the expansion cards when needed, it’s an absolute blast. I’m not fully used to the screen aspect ratio, sometimes it feels good to program on, sometimes I feel like I need more space.
The battery life is (except for those two nights) really good (I’ve locked it to a max of 85%) and I barely hear the fan spin up outside of games. Oh btw, Trackmania works with Lutris, The settings aren’t the highest but it’s very playable and even autodetects my controller over bluetooth.
I wonder about the two times where you had a battery leak while the laptop was sleeping. Why do you think it’s got something to do with Signal? Shouldn’t all apps be frozen while the laptop is sleeping?
I think it’s Signal because it’s an electron app and I’ve read multiple times that they are battery drainers. And signal being a messenger I could imagine a lot of update requests that take the laptop out of sleep. I don’t have any evidence though.