October 5, 2023

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, openSUSE Leap or openSUSE Tumbleweed: A Complete Guide

Explore the world of SUSE Linux: from its history and impact on the enterprise sector, to the key differences between SUSE Linux Enterprise Server, openSUSE Leap and openSUSE Tumbleweed.


SUSE Linux is one of the oldest and most respected Linux distributions in the computing world. Founded in 1992, SUSE (Software und System-Entwicklung, which is German for “Software and Systems Development”) was one of the first companies to focus on the commercialization of Linux and open source software. Headquartered in Germany, SUSE has a strong global presence and offers a variety of products and services, including the popular SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES).

Over the years, SUSE has expanded its offering with other distributions such as openSUSE Leap and openSUSE Tumbleweed, each with specific features and usage scenarios. In this article, we will explore the history of SUSE Linux, its diffusion and use in Enterprise, and discuss in detail the differences between SLES, openSUSE Leap and openSUSE Tumbleweed.

History of SUSE Linux and diffusion in the enterprise sector

Founded in 1992 by Roland Dyroff, Thomas Fehr, Burchard Steinbild and Hubert Mantel, SUSE was one of the first companies to recognize the revolutionary potential of Linux as an enterprise operating system. Starting with a small team of passionate developers, the company quickly gained popularity, becoming a point of reference in the Linux landscape. Its growth was so exponential that in 2003 it was acquired by Novell, another giant in the operating systems and networking industry. Under Novell's umbrella, SUSE has continued to expand and develop innovative products.

In 2014, another significant change occurred when Micro Focus acquired Novell and, subsequently, SUSE. This acquisition led to further investment in research and development, solidifying SUSE's position in the enterprise market. However, in 2019, SUSE gained its independence when EQT Partners acquired it from Micro Focus, allowing the company to focus even more on its core competencies.


SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES)

SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES) is the flagship of SUSE's offering. This Linux distribution is designed with a focus on robustness, security, and performance, and is widely used in enterprise environments for a variety of applications. From web server infrastructures to databases, from computing clusters to storage and backup systems, SLES is a constant presence. One of its strengths is scalability, which allows companies to adapt the system to their specific needs. Additionally, SLES offers long-term support and a wide range of customization options, making it an ideal choice for organizations that need a reliable and adaptable system.


  • Stability: SLES is designed to provide a stable and predictable environment, ideal for mission-critical applications.
  • Long Term Support: Provides up to 13 years of support, extendable further.
  • Certifications: Wide range of hardware and software certifications, ensuring compatibility with a variety of environments.

Pros and Cons

  • Pro: High stability, long-term support, enterprise support.
  • Cons: License costs, fewer updates than other distributions.

Ideal Usage Scenario

  • Enterprise environments with high availability and stability requirements.

open SUSE Leap

OpenSUSE Leap is one of the most popular and respected Linux distributions, developed and maintained by the openSUSE community. Born as a bridge between the enterprise world and that of the open source community, Leap shares many of its packages and features with SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES). This makes it an excellent choice for developers, system administrators and users looking for a stable, well-supported environment, but without the licensing costs associated with an enterprise solution.


  • Common Base with SLES: Shares many packages with SLES, making it a good choice for development and testing.
  • Community-Driven: Developed with input from the openSUSE community.
  • Regular Updates: Regular releases offering new features and improvements.

Pros and Cons

  • Pro: Stable but with more frequent updates than SLES, free.
  • Cons: Less enterprise support than SLES.

Ideal Usage Scenario

  • Development and testing of applications that will then be deployed on SLES.

openSUSE Tumbleweed

If you are passionate about technology and always looking for the latest news in the Linux world, openSUSE Tumbleweed is the distribution for you. Unlike openSUSE Leap and SUSE Linux Enterprise Server (SLES), which follow a more traditional release model, Tumbleweed is a rolling release distribution. This means it is constantly updated, giving users access to the latest software versions almost as soon as they are released. It is an ideal distribution for those who want to keep up with rapid developments in the world of open source software.


  • rolling release: Continuous updates offering the latest software versions.
  • Cutting Edge: Ideal for those who want to use the latest technologies.
  • Community-Driven: Like Leap, Tumbleweed is also developed with community input.

Pros and Cons

  • Pro: Access to the latest technologies, continuous updates, free.
  • Cons: Potential instability, less suitable for enterprise environments.

Ideal Usage Scenario

  • Development and test environments where it is important to have access to the latest technologies.


SUSE is a major player in the enterprise Linux world, with a history dating back more than three decades. While SLES remains the preferred choice for enterprise environments requiring stability and long-term support, openSUSE Leap and openSUSE Tumbleweed offer flexible alternatives for various usage scenarios. Leap is ideal for development and testing, thanks to its close relationship with SLES, while Tumbleweed is suitable for those who want to explore the latest innovations in the Linux world. Each of these distributions has its pros and cons, and your choice will depend on the specific needs of your environment.

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