About the openSUSE Tumbleweed recommendation

Hello, the documentation in this link is for openSUSE Leap and not for Tumbleweed. There doesn’t seem to be any Tumbleweed specific documentation, I’m not sure how much there is a need for it, but that’s the situation. There seems to be only a portal page for Tumbleweed and a few reference (under the navigation) links within that page.

The transactional update mentioned in that link is also a method that Tumbleweed has not supported first hand for some time. I’m linking to a discussion thread about it. The community’s recommended system upgrade method for Tumbleweed is briefly described on the portal page, and there is a somewhat detailed guide on the reference page.


On the other hand, I think that Tumbleweed, out of the box, is designed in a sloppy way for newcomers and casual home PC users, in a way that could make their systems unstable and problematic, maybe even break them in the medium or long term.

openSUSE’s own software tool (YaST Software) is designed for openSUSE Leap, not Tumbleweed, because it runs the zypper up command not zypper dup and is a GUI. The Software (GNOME) and Discover (Plasma) apps are both GUIs, even if they run the command that is appropriate for Tumbleweed. None of the GUIs are recommended in the links I shared above because they are likely to crash in the middle of the upgrade process.

This being the case, for GNOME (YaST Software, GNOME Software), Plasma (YaST Software, Discover) and XFCE (YaST Software) desktop environment installations (the most popular ones) users are receiving upgrade notifications prioritizing the use of the wrong and unrecommended GUI tools. What’s even stranger is that in GNOME, upgrades are done automatically via GNOME Software.

I don’t really see what the issue is. I get an update notification in the tray, clicking on it starts Discover, I click “update all” and Discover runs zypper dup (and also updates Flatpaks and firmware at the same time). Looks all good to me.

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The main issue is that the information on the page where the distribution is proposed now describes an invalid and not recommended upgrade method, and that the documentation link is for another distribution (Leap). Everything else is just my personal opinion about why the distribution is designed bad.

No GUI is recommended, which means that one day you will have problems with a system upgrade. The most recent example of this was experienced by many people during the Plasma 6 upgrade and was reported on the forum. Dozens of people who had problems tried to upgrade via Discover or with the terminal.

Officially the atomic update method is implemented by the openSUSE MicroOS variants, which are still in the early development phase. Therefore, I think the Tumbleweed mentioned in the description on this page should also be removed. Apart from my personal opinion that the OS is badly designed out of the box, am I wrong in any way?

Mostly.

  1. GNOME Software doesn’t break Tumbleweed. In fact, it’s the safest way to update your system, as unlike sudo zypper dup, the update is not applied at runtime. Furthermore, zypper have been conflicting with PackageKit for years.
  2. If I remember correctly (I don’t use KDE, but saw the thread on Reddit), the issue with KDE 6 upgrade on Tumbleweed only happened to people who upgraded their system at runtime, not through KDE Discover.

It should be noted that both GNOME Software and KDE Discover are the default upgrading methods of the system, which means the system won’t become unstable or break out of the blue on anyone’s grandma system. None of other update/upgrade options, i.e. command line, YaST, etc. are running by default.

Especially with the command line method that has so many advance and dangerous options, zypper dup --allow-vendor-change that could break the system’s functionality if you’re lucky, or worse otherwise, for example.

I have been using Tumbleweed for 2 years, upgrading through GNOME Software. My system is 100% fine, had never crashed in the middle of upgrading.

  1. YaST Software Management, and YaST modules in general work on Tumbleweed without issue. I use them all the time on my Tumbleweed. Especially, YaST Software Management that can search for packages, change packages’ vendor, block packages, launch YaST Online Repository to manage repos. You can even enable PackMan repo inside YaST without ever having a chance to add a wrong/malicious repo. YaST Firewall is very useful as well, and etc. All of them are very powerful on Tumbleweed.

  2. Due to the previous point, I believe that out of all Linux distros, Tumbleweed is the easiest to use. And that’s not only from the tools that it provides, the system also set to withstand failures in almost every way, from Btrfs snapshot and rollback system out of the box, and the sane snapshot management that won’t ever fill your drive, to the package pattern system that will automatically install recommend packages in pattern (annoying sometimes) to minimize the chance of breakages. Tumbleweed users could be the last group of users that moves to immutable OS, as everything here is working pretty close to that already, i.e. if you use Flatpak, containers, with Btrfs that could rollback if things go wrong, plus a flexibility maneuver before most apps moved to immutable environment in mind, or containerized tech is more advanced.


In short, people often break their Tumbleweed on daily basis, not the system. Maybe, due to hearsay on Reddit, forums, etc.

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Honestly, I expected this reply to clarify which suggestion I made about Tumbleweed on privacyguides.org about changing or removing information about another distribution’s documentation and system upgrade methodology was incorrect, but unfortunately I didn’t see it. Did I miss it?


On the other hand, my personal opinion that Tumbleweed is badly designed out of the box -based on the practice of system upgrades, not other YaST tools- is more than romanticized and personal experience. On the distribution’s portal page and, as mentioned here, on the TTY and tmux sessions logged in with a root account, it is clearly written that the system should be upgraded with the command “zypper dup” and that no GUI should be used. These instructions are not mine. There is no official documentation of the distribution, but these are first-hand sources that users can follow. But what really happens is that users are directed to GUIs.

The system upgrades you have done over the 2 years with GNOME Software have, I assume, been done by offline installation. As just a few days ago there was a suggestion in the community forum to set this as the default system upgrade method. If offline system upgrades like in Windows and Fedora provide a stable experience for Tumbleweed, they should adjust their user guides accordingly.

This is about openSUSE Leap, not about Tumbleweed. It’s really unbelievable, it’s funny that I shared links to first hand sources about Tumbleweed and you say the opposite.

Oh, my bad. I didn’t read the source. Ignore what I said. I use Arch anyways.