I have a question for SysAdmins who know many flavors of Linux. I need to be familiar with SUSE Enterprise for a job, but I currently have no access to the enterprise edition. I also would prefer to learn Ubuntu. So how similar is ubuntu to SUSE Enterprise in terms of the commands, etc.


As it happens I'm currently going the other direction, coming from a SLES-based office to an Ubuntu one.

The difference is quite significant and they do not share much in the way of distro-level commands. The commands that differ:

  • Service start/stop/management
  • Runlevel editing
  • Package management
  • Config-file management (though the "just directly modify files" methods work on both)
  • sudo/su config differs
  • Network configuration

In short, nearly everything is different. I'm still learning how to do things the Ubuntu way and it has been several months. The linguistic analogy is the difference between German and English.

If you need access now, I suggest downloading the latest OpenSUSE release as that's what SLES is based on. The newer OpenSUSE releases do differ from the SLES version in some interesting ways, but how you interact with the overall system doesn't change a lot. Again with the linguistic analogy, this is US English vs UK English; it's a different dialect but still intelligible.

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    you can actually download SLES11 from Novell site and get an eval license. Of course, you won't get updates after 30 days, but if it is for the purpose of learning how SLESS11 work, it will work. – Rilindo Oct 15 '11 at 13:20

Why not download OpenSUSE and give that a try? It's the free community "development" edition of SUSE Enterprise, similar to how Fedora and RedHat work together.

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  • You can also download SLES for free at Novell's site. For updates etc. you need a 60? days test account, and I am not sure if it's possible to keep it running legally after this time is up. – Sven Oct 15 '11 at 10:32
  • Answer on asked question, not give useless and obvious "recommendation" – Lazy Badger Oct 15 '11 at 11:39
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    @Lazy it's not so obvious to everyone. This is a perfectly valid answer – squillman Oct 15 '11 at 12:20
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    @LazyBadger: You're new here, you haven't learned much of our culture, may I suggest that before you start throwing your weight about you sit back and learn how we do things. I'd also request that you tone down your language it's far too aggressive and not how we like things here. – user9517 Oct 15 '11 at 12:45
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    @Lazy: For me, the purpose of this site is to solve problems, not just to answer questions. The OP's problem is that he need to know SLES for a job. Knowing some differences from a web site is only part of the solution, experience is the key. You get experience only when using it so telling the OP how he can get this experience is contributing (big time) to solve his problem. – Sven Oct 15 '11 at 12:57

Ian Murdock posted a Linux Family tree on his blog a while back. http://ianmurdock.com/linuxfamilytree/ This should give some idea on the history of the major distributions. Generally the closer the relationship the more similar distributions will be.

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SuSE has free training for SuSE Enterprise 10:


For SuSE Enterprise 11, you can go here:


As I pointed out to @sysadmin1138, you can download the SuSE 11 for Eval purposes, with 30 days of updates. This is probably your best option.

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    • Ubuntu - apt-get
    • SUSE - YAST (which I consider more weak, than apt-*, but it's IMNSHO)
    • Ubuntu - no root in desktop builds (all root actions sudo'ed)
    • SUSE - normal root
    • Ubuntu - deb-packaging
    • SUSE - RPM
    • Ubuntu - grub2
    • SUSE - grub
    • Ubuntu - upstart
    • SUSE - sysvinit

Anybody can expand list, can't recall more on the fly

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  • downvotes, why??? – Lazy Badger Oct 15 '11 at 13:21
  • "Anybody can expand list" then why didn't you make your answer a community wiki answer? – mbx Oct 15 '11 at 17:47
  • Maybe because a) I don't know how to do it b) haven't rights c) list can be continued in comments or d) additional answers. I think so – Lazy Badger Oct 15 '11 at 18:19
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    Poorly formatted, scant detail, just a subpar answer overall. – MDMarra Oct 15 '11 at 20:42

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