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GeckoLinux Review: A Hassle-Free openSUSE Spin

GeckoLinux is an openSUSE spin that is available both in static and rolling editions.

It comes in two flavors, the Static editions for GeckoLinux are based on openSUSE Leap 42.2 with its periodic life cycle and long support lifetime while the rolling edition is based on the stable openSUSE Tumbleweed release.

GeckoLinux screenshot
GeckoLinux GNOME screenshot

More of a refined edition of openSUSE, GeckoLinux uses the official repo with modifications to the theme, patterns and allows installation from additional repositories. openSUSE uses Patterns that install a lot of applications that most of us don’t need it. GeckoLinux tries to solve this problem as it comes with very minimal usage of patterns to avoid extra packages that keep coming back even after uninstalling in the former.

Let us look at the features, installation steps and also see how GeckoLinux is different than openSUSE.

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Features of GeckoLinux

  • GeckoLinux comes with offline installation live DVD / USB image for both static and rolling editions.
  • It offers various customized editions optimized for different desktop environments. There is a Cinnamon, XFCE, Gnome, Plasma, Mate, Budgie LXQt and Barebones edition for both static and rolling editions.
  • It comes with various pre-installed open source applications and proprietary ones like media codecs saving you from the pain of manual installation.
  • GeckoLinux supports packages from the Pacman repo.
  • It comes with a better font rendering and does not force the installation of additional recommended packages after system installation.
  • Desktop programs in GeckoLinux can be uninstalled with all their dependencies.

Download GeckoLinux

You can grab a copy of GeckoLinux from its download page:

Download GeckoLinux

There are different flavors for both static and rolling release.

Installation

I grabbed a copy of GeckoLinux Rolling Gnome edition, Gnome is always the second best for me after Unity. The installation process was simple and without hassle in a Virtual Box. Once I was done with the initial VM set up of assigning memory and hard disk creation, I went on to boot the VM with the ISO downloaded.

Calamares Installer was there on the Desktop, which while running shows the openSUSE installer title. It took another 30 min to install everything up.

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Restarting and selecting “Boot from Hard disk” took me to the login screen. The experience thereafter was smoother and soothing.

As I said, it uses the openSUSE tumbleweed installer, and hence the final screen :)

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Difference between GeckoLinux and openSUSE

  • openSUSE requires you to have the minimal understanding of installing patterns and packages for a desktop environment while GeckoLinux offers several desktop environments which do not require you to learn additional skills.
  • Proprietary media codecs and other necessities are pre-installed in GeckoLinux whereas, in openSUSE, you have to do it manually.
  • openSUSE is strict with proprietary software while GeckoLinux uses packages from the Pacman repo when they are available.
  • GeckoLinux has a better font rendering than openSUSE default font configuration.
  • While uninstalling a desktop program, GeckoLinux removes it along with their dependencies while openSUSE’s pattern sometimes causes uninstalled packages to be reinstalled automatically.

If I can summarize it in a line, GeckoLinux is an improvement to openSUSE with better font rendering, pre-configured with different desktop environments and a bit more proprietary friendly with a very less usage of patterns.

If you prefer doing things yourself, go with openSUSE. If you want to avoid it, GeckoLinux serves your purpose. To some, it fixes things which they dislike about openSUSE.

Have you tried it yet? If no, time to give a try to another Linux distribution. If yes, do share your experience in the comment section.

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  • I’ve just installed it – I was a dedicated Kubuntu user for years, then didn’t have a linux machine for a few years, came back to ubuntu studio 22.04 and didn’t love it, so then I reluctantly started considering things outside of ubuntu for the first time, and I really do adore gecko. I did a quick install of SUSE tumbleweed to compare, and while I’m too much of a novice to fully understand it just did feel cleaner and easier out of the box. Super grateful to the creator of this project!

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    Difference between GeckoLinux and openSUSE

  • I am using GeckoLinux since 2 weeks ( xfce ) I am a long time Xubuntu user , but I like Gecko quite better . What a surprise !!! very very good workflow , quality package managing and everything works with pipewire as well . Thank you :-)

  • I’m using openSUSE Tumbleweed and Leap for almost 2 decades now. I tried Ubuntu and Kubuntu as a first linux. But there were always things that did not work. So I tried openSUSE and everything worked, rock solid. I’m installing Gecko rolling now. It’s a smooth ride. Many things I adapt manually are already installed now. But I like the openSUSE way better: a small bit of elbow grease is my thing, I guess.

  • I have used Mint Cinnamon and XFCE for years. My first experience with linux was SUSE, many, many years ago. It almost made me not to want to look at linux again.
    I saw the hassle with Suse lately and saw the Gecko alternative. I am really surprised how polished and easy to use Gecko Linux is. Almost all programs I run are available. Printers set up in a snap. Keep up the good work, Gecko team. I will be with you for a long time.