Of all the major Linux distributions, openSUSE and SUSE seems to always get the slight; which is a shame, considering how powerful the platform is. There are so many reasons why either openSUSE or SUSE should make their way into your operating system rotation. One reason is how user-friendly the platform has become over the years. One quick way to demonstrate that is with the ability to install patterns from the command line.

The best way to explain this is by demonstrating the installation of a LAMP server. You may be familiar with this on the Ubuntu platform. From the command line, you can issue the following to install a full-blown LAMP stack on your server:

sudo apt-get install lamp_server^

Once the command completes, your LAMP stack is ready to go.

Both openSUSE and SUSE have offered very similar functionality for some time now; by way of patterns. A pattern is used with the zypper command line tool and makes it very easy to install an group of applications based on a pattern.

What is a pattern?

On the openSUSE and SUSE platforms, patterns are a group of software packages that can be easily installed. The *SUSE patterns are something similar to groupinstall option, found on Redhat and Fedora systems. Using patterns can save you significant time by installing a related collection of software, without having to install them one at a time.

Unlike Ubuntu’s ability to install patterns, without having to use extra command line arguments, with *SUSE you must alter your command line somewhat. Let’s take a look at how this is done.

The command structure

The way you install patterns on either openSUSE or SUSE is simple. The structure of the command looks like:

zypper in -t pattern PATTERN

Where PATTERN is the actual pattern to be installed. Let’s stick with our LAMP server example. To achieve a successful installation of the LAMP pattern, the zypper command would be:

zypper in -t pattern lamp_server

The above command will install everything you need to get the LAMP server up and running.

But what about other patterns? You certainly don’t want to have to guess at what patterns are available for installation. If you issue the command zypper search -t pattern, you will be rewarded with a complete listing of available patterns that can be installed (Figure A).

Figure A

With a quick command, you can install any one of the above patterns. Here are a few quick examples:

zypper in -t pattern voip
​zypper in -t pattern gateway_server
​zypper in -t pattern mail_server
​zypper in -t pattern office
​zypper in -t pattern print_server
​zypper in -t pattern

And that’s the gist of simplified package installation with patterns on openSUSE and SUSE.

Always more to learn

One of the first things you should do is open up a terminal window and issue the command man zypper. From there you will find a considerable amount of information, all of which will go a long way to aid in your Linux education. Read through the zypper man page and you’ll have a much better understand of not only patterns, but the package manager as a whole.