GeckoLinux relies on a high “out-of-the-box usability” on the desktop and thus makes installation and first steps easier not only for beginners.
All common Linux Distributions today come with easy-to-use graphical installers. That’s not enough for the developers of GeckoLinux: Based on openSUSE, they provide a selection of installation images with which complete desktop systems can be installed particularly quickly and easily. The developers have also tweaked the package selection in favor of convenience.
Version 152 of the “Static” variant of GeckoLinux has now been released, which is based on openSUSE Leap 15.2, which is also still quite fresh. We tried them out as part of a short “tried” scrutinized.
Two strands and two variants
GeckoLinux is basically not a separate distribution, but an openSUSE structure with its own installation media. The developers do without creating their own package directories and creating their own packages. Instead, they rely on a kind of “package compilation”; from the official openSUSE and some additional repositories from the PackMan package source with a modified installer. Like openSUSE, GeckoLinux is maintained in two strands: In addition to the main branch, there is a “NEXT” branch that uses the current Leap distribution as a basis, but loads more recent KDE packages from the openSUSE build system.
The “Rolling” variant of GeckoLinux follows openSUSE Tumbleweed and continuously receives current packages from there. The “Static” variant, on the other hand, is based on the current version of openSUSE Leap. Who GeckoLinux “Rolling” uses, so has little of the new static version, because Tumbleweed is usually far ahead of Leap. GeckoLinux Static users, on the other hand, now get all updates from openSUSE Leap 15.2 in one go.
Just get started
For the ISO images that can be used to put GeckoLinux on the hard drive , the GeckoLinux developers rely on the generic Calamares installer, unlike openSUSE with its Yast. It is used directly from a running GeckoLinux system. GeckoLinux images are therefore always live systems, from which the system can be tested first before the installation takes place. GeckoLinux 152 brings updated images, giving users a new kernel and implicitly better support for current hardware.
With openSUSE, the user chooses which desktop he wants during installation. No problem for experienced Linux users – often a big challenge for inexperienced users. GeckoLinux solves this by providing images with different desktops that users can try out first and install immediately if they like it.
GeckoLinux also relieves other challenges (not only) for newcomers. For example, problems with missing media codecs: For legal reasons, openSUSE does not include these, although they are available on PackMan as a finished package. GeckoLinux, on the other hand, automatically installs the packages ex works. It also installs various programs with higher priority from PackMan – such as those that require the media codecs. GeckoLinux thus implicitly replaces the less functional versions of the respective programs in openSUSE with the more powerful variants from the PackMan directories.
Conclusion: all-round carefree package for SUSE newcomers
The compilation was quite convincing in the test: The selection process of the “right” Desktops made easy for beginners.After the installation, GeckoLinux scores above all in comparison to the classic openSUSE environment because you don’t have to deal with missing codecs for audio and video. On top of that, GeckoLinux prevents the automatic installation of the “recommended” Packages, so that the system remains much more compact than a pure openSUSE.
Especially for SUSE-interested newcomers, a look at GeckoLinux is definitely worthwhile. Downloads and documentation are available on the GitHub project page. The announcement for GeckoLinux 152 provides information on the available fresh ISO images and the versions of the respective desktop environment.