Fedora Core 3 has one big pro in my opinion: the huge repository of add-ons at freshrpms.net! And with others such as kde-redhat, etc, I can have all the newest goodies whenever I want them. Suse doesn't seem to have as big a following and thus their add-on repositories are fewer and contain fewer applications. But FC3 isn't without its cons too. To get everything working, I had to install modules and kernel tweaks for my wireless, suspend-to-disk, and VPN. This means that anytime the FC3 update channel releases a new kernel, I'll need to make sure each of these still works and/or re-build them. And for any that are kernel version specific, I'll have to wait for the package maintainer to make a package for the specific kernel. Suse 9.2 Pro seems to have better out-of-the-box support. My wireless and power management worked immediately. They also include three thinkpad specific packages: tpctl, tp buttons, and configure-thinkpad. I'm sure Suse put a lot of work into making 9.1 run on the Compaq/HP NX5000 and those changes definitely made it into the 9.2 release. However, the available 3rd party add-ons seem a bit lacking. But, at least if Suse releases an updated kernel, I only have to worry about my VPN kernel module working.
I guess it comes down to completely free vs convenience. Fedora Core promises to be a completely free operating system which speaks loudly for the FSS/OpenSource groups. Suse seems to be about 95% free. But that 5% is made up for in convenience. And, sure, I can always go the "configure, make, make install" route, but why? If I want to go down that road, I'd go all the way with the LinuxFromScratch project.The Fedora/RedHat team have a long history with Gnome, but with Novell owning Ximian (which also has a good history with Gnome) and Suse (which has a good history with KDE), I personally see Novell as having the better platform opportunity if they can make the sales. They definitely have the server OS history and the "fight the big dogs" history. In conclusion, I guess I'm torn. Both systems worked well as a replacement for Windows XP for me. So on one side I have Fedora, which is closer to the RH systems I support, completely free, and with a large and diverse add-on repository(s). On the other side is Suse with Novell backing, better out-of-the-box support, better looking, and seemingly better polished. Which one am I going to use? I don't know yet.
About the author:
I'm a Sr. Level SysAdmin with 10+ years of experience, on a path to CTO (hint, hint to any readers). I've worked in many different sectors, consulted, and watched the dot-com rise and subsequent implosion. I have experience with everything from Novell to Windows to Solaris to Linux to HA Clustering to end-user desktop support and all the networks, routers, firewalls, etc that connect them. I am neither pro-Windows, nor pro-Linux. I believe each OS has its place and purpose, though where either can do the job, I'll go with Linux. Presently I work for a biotech in the Carlsbad, CA area.