OpenSUSE LEAP: A Great Free Linux Server Distribution

OpenSUSE LEAP: A Great Free Linux Server Distribution

Well, it’s finally happened. OpenSUSE has finally thrown their hat into the ring of free enterprise Linux distributions. It’s known as LEAP. Does it have what it takes to replace CentOS and others like it? Let’s find out!

What is LEAP?

So what exactly is LEAP? What’s it for? The easiest way to approach something like OpenSUSE LEAP is to think of it like a beefed-up, more stable Fedora-type thing. The main goal of this Linux distribution is to create an enterprise grade distribution designed for workstations and servers free of charge.


And when it comes to being an enterprise workstation distribution, LEAP doesn’t disappoint.The main goal of LEAP is to create a stable, enterprise grade distribution designed for workstations and servers free of charge. From there the code is taken and put into SLE (Suse Enterprise Linux) and released alongside it.

When they say stable, they mean it. To mitigate package breakage, LEAP only provides programs in their repositories that have been heavily tested. This means you can count on it working from day to day. In an environment where you’re trying to get serious work done (or just want things to work well), this is a huge plus.


Like all Linux distributions, OpenSUSE LEAP needs to be obtained via downloading. Head over to this page here and get yourself the latest ISO file. There are two different ISOs to choose from. If you have spotty Internet, grab the 4.7 gigabyte ISO. It has absolutely everything you’d want to install on your LEAP install. If your network is speedy, get the network version.


Once you have it downloaded, head over to this guide to learn how to make a Live USB disk. Alternatively, open your favorite disk-burning program and make a live DVD. After that, configure your BIOS to load the live USB (or DVD). Once it’s booted, you’ll be taken through the setup process.


The setup is LEAP’s strong suit. It shouldn’t come as a surprise as Open SUSE has always had a fairly easy to understand installation process. When you load it, everything is incredibly detailed and is a very straightforward process. All a user would need to do is a bit of reading. Following the instructions inside the installer is very easy. It’s truly impressive stuff.

During the installation process users aren’t taken to a live environment. This might be a negative for some, as almost all Linux distributions feature one. Instead, you’re taken to a chooser. This chooser takes you through picking a desktop environment. All of the standard, popular desktops are accounted for: Gnome Shell, KDE, LXDE, XFCE, and even Mate.


When you boot it up, it works exactly as you’d expect it to. You get a fully functional desktop with all the packages that a Linux distribution should have (along with ones that correspond with your desktop environment). The repositories will have just about everything you could ever want. There are some packages that are lacking though.


It’s not all just workstation focused. LEAP can be a serious contender for a home or enterprise grade server operating system. Imagine booting up your home server and setting up Samba with the ease of the YaST interface (or any of the other impressive tools that LEAP offers).


Who is it for?

If you’re looking for a Linux distribution you can use at home, at a workstation and servers, LEAP is a great choice and hardly any negatives come to mind. There is one major negative: Package availability. This is a major weakness if what you’re looking for is access to a bunch of packages on your workstations – then this distro isn’t for you. On the other hand, if you’re just looking for a good, professional, possibly enterprise desktop or server experience and don’t care that much about packages, LEAP is a solid choice for you.


If you’re a Suse fan, or even just someone looking for a great, stable desktop or server experience, LEAP is a no-brainer. With this distribution you won’t get the same robustness as something like Ubuntu, but it does the job well. Nonetheless, OpenSUSE LEAP is a highly recommended choice for enthusiasts, developers and Linux professionals of all types.

What are your thoughts on OpenSUSE LEAP? Tell us below!

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Derrik Diener
Derrik Diener

Derrik Diener is a freelance technology blogger.

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