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Thread: OpenSUSE 11 - First Impressions

  1. #1

    Default OpenSUSE 11 - First Impressions

    Intro
    Caved in and downloaded and installed openSUSE 11.0 yesterday, when I discovered they had 1-CD installers, i.e. the live CD ones (I incorrectly assumed you could only get the DVD).

    So I downloaded the KDE torrent and burnt it. However, I could not get to install it. No problems installing it after I burnt it again at a slower speed, although the LiveCD does take quite a long time to boot. Apparently the LiveCD is KDE4, which was nice to give me an idea about how KDE4 would look and work. Gave me enough confidence to install it right away.

    Installation

    The installer is superb; clean, beautiful, easy to use. The partitioner gave me the proposal I was looking for: format the root partition / and mount as 'root partition' (former openSUSE 10.3 root partition) and keep the /home partition and set as mount point for /home. One thing that would be nice to add, is to give the option import documents from other user accounts (if detected) to the new account.

    One minor 'nitpick': the dialog boxes that pop up are still quite bland/ugly especially the border, feels out of place when the rest of the installer is so slick.

    Boot

    Boot process is very slick; the boot screen is even nicer than the previous one. Was worried for a while that it did not pick up my Windows XP installation, but seems that was because it was the second part of the installation and I was kind of half-expecting a Grub 'boot choice' screen.

    It boots fast (a little under 40 seconds), even without turning off unneeded services in Runlevel manager. Personally I prefer the boot screen to 'change layouts' as little as possible, but that's nitpicking I suppose (or... almost? ).

    Login was uneventfull... I picked 'autologin'.

    KDE 4 desktop

    It took very little little time getting used to it; then again from reading kde.org and Plasma blogs I was already quite familiar with the concepts. I do feel a little disappointed that some things like FolderView plasmoid are not in there yet for me to try out, but I don't want to risk stability updating to the latest KDE 4.

    It looks very beautiful and fresh. It's all very nice but I do not know why they picked a rather non-standard windows decoration (e.g. with 'up' and 'down' arrows to minimize and maximize). I agree this should(?) be clearer, but the "_[]x" buttons are probably a very strong convention by now.

    One impression that lasted while using KDE4 is that it feels a little 'finicky'... it's hard to describe and maybe it will go away as I use it more (or, with updates?).

    I like the new layout for the configuration center as well. One confusing thing was that I was looking for the desktop effects in 'Appeareance' but they show under 'Desktop Settings' (or some name like that).

    The Kwin composite effects are beautiful, performant and non-obtrusive; perfect for me since a full-blown compiz fusion would be a little overkill for me.

    Adding Online Repositories

    Could not be easier; first time I started Yast, I got a window with a very clear list of what repos were available and what they did (although some repos could use a little longer/clearer description).

    House keeping and file managers

    Out of habit I clicked the 'Konqueror' button to start file management; I got the web browser but wanted Dolphin the file manager... which is the icon to the right of it... woops. Did not try Konqueror as a browser since the allmighty Firefox 3 is just out.

    Dolphin was pretty intuitive and (for me at least) a fresh breath of air; enough features but still clear, uncluttered and easy to use. It took a little getting used to the way navigating to the home folder (your own or some other account's home) works via the breadcrumb trail.

    Copying over files and folders was pretty easy using the 'split view' mode. However I do find the location of the 'close' button a little odd: you have to first click inside one of the 'split' windows then press the 'close' button on the main toolbar to close that (split window) view. The icon for it is also a little odd. To me it would be more logical if some kind of 'x' would appear in the top right space of each split window.

    One thing that annoyed me was the icons with a 'question mark' inside them; i.e. things that do not have a custom icon yet (for example, Digikam database files).

    The driver (and codec) dance... here we go again

    In good openSUSE 'tradition', some things do not work straight away like you would expect them to, mostly this is for legal and/or technical reasons. Things like mp3 playback, nvidia drivers, video codecs, ... in Yast however it is not very clear from the package names or even descriptions which package provides the 'nvidia' display driver (instead of default 'nv' driver).

    Luckily, using Google and the 1-click method and Yast Meta Package handler, I managed to install all I needed in half an hour (previous versions of Suse it took me a couple of evenings to get to this state).

    Installation of this stuff was fast and I did not encounter any problems at all. I also appreciate the zypper command line tool, for example to install the Wine 1.0 version I could simply do:

    Code:
    sudo zypper in wine
    Once all of this was installed, I could listen mp3's, watch videos etc. effortless using Amarok and Kaffeine (I didn't like it before, but I think I like it much better now).

    A couple of other applications: Digikam, Gwenview

    Did not use Digikam a long time, just long enough to try and import my pictures; however because it found 'old' Digikam databases, it gave a warning and insisted on removing those and the pictures associated with it... I think(?) I nearly lost my vacation pictures this way! Good thing I was careful and backed them up somewhere else first...

    Gwenview was really nice: quick, intuitive layout and everything I expect from an image viewer... I did have some trouble finding the 'slideshow' function... looked for it in the menu. Apparently you can start a slideshow with it if you choose 'View' mode.

    I also tried Okular, and it looks like a really nice PDF viewer with a lot of features found nowhere(?) else. Loads fast too, but in fact all applications loaded and responded quickly, even the much-maligned OpenOffice.

    For the rest I did not try many applications yet... well, Firefox and Amarok. But Firefox is Firefox (only 3.0 and more awesome), and Amarok still is Amarok... (1.4.4 Fast Forward version).

    Going to test it further this evening, see what gives with my iPod, USB sticks and other removable device stuff.

    Conclusion

    My first impression: 11.0 is very impressive!

    IMO it is worth 'upgrading' (clean install) to 11.0 for the improvements in zypper/yast alone.

    Even though it still has a couple of rough edges (mostly due to the brand-new KDE4, some missing features and software), it still has everything you would need for a basic home desktop: excellent file and web browsing (Dolphin, Firefox), excellent audio (Amarok), excellent video (Kaffeine) and excellent image viewing (Gwenview).

    I can see myself using this a lot. Now I'm just waiting for a newer stable KDE 4 version to come out :-)

  2. #2
    Pusherman NNTP User

    Default Re: OpenSUSE 11 - First Impressions

    Installing 11.0 was the smoothest installation EVER. Downloaded the DVD iso at 15:10 GMT and although it took several hours to download it did maintain a reasonable download rate.

    The installation process was simple and problem free, and it looked great. I got 3D acceleration to work by installing ati-fglrxG01-kmp-default from the nvidia repos.

    I have encountered a couple of problems; first is that Amarok didn't work with ogg files but when I installed the xine-amarok plug-in it worked fine, also I can't get sound from Kaffeine - it stays on mute. I haven't spent any time looking into this yet so it could be a simple thing.

    I haven't tried KDE4, keeping with 3.5 until it matures a bit further but I may give it a try on another machine.

    Overall, best installation ever and best OS ever

    Now I'm waiting for the 40gb of data to restore off my backup drive

    Pusherman.

  3. #3

    Default Re: OpenSUSE 11 - First Impressions

    I'll be honest, the install was nice and fast, and we finally have a fast package management.
    Now I'll be frank, and that's all the positive things I can say at the moment. I actually exploded in rage in the first 5 minutes(yes, I know, I have a short fuse, it runs in the family...), and if I had to attribute to anything, it's a working touchpad. I HATE touchpads. ......
    Now that I've showered (took a cold one btw), changed clothes, deodorant, kicked rear in some fighting games, slept (maybe for 5 minutes), had a real cold drink, and a go on a punching bag; I think I'm ready for hacking.

    On a completely separate note; does anyone know how KDE4 compares with KDE3 in terms of performance?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: OpenSUSE 11 - First Impressions

    Thanks for the impressions. I also had similar views in the most part, although I installed KDE-3.5.9 instead of 4.0.x

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkelve78 View Post
    Installation
    The installer is superb; clean, beautiful, easy to use.
    Agree. This was one area where I noted they did a lot of work between the alpha and the GM release.

    Perhaps the one "quirk" I noted was by default the installer gives root the same password as the regular user. Apparently this is because most users do this! I was surprised by that, and was careful to deselect this option. I also uninstalled beagle, and selected the development environment so I could compile custom applications easier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkelve78 View Post
    Boot
    Boot process is very slick; the boot screen is even nicer than the previous one.
    Agree. I had major problems with the boot because of a hardware problem. I confess I wasted the time of some people trying to sort my problem, and I feel very apologetic about this. But with functioning hardware in place, my boot is now very reliable and smooth.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkelve78 View Post
    It boots fast (a little under 40 seconds),
    Yes, boots fast (like 10.3 before it) and even more impressive is it installs incredibly fast. I can't remember the last time I've seen a Linux distribution with so many applications install that fast.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkelve78 View Post
    Adding Online Repositories
    Could not be easier;
    This is setup well for YaST.

    I also installed the Smart package manager, and I had some work there, as it came setup for factory install by default, and I had to change those repos to the nominal 11.0 repos.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darkelve78 View Post
    Conclusion
    My first impression: 11.0 is very impressive!
    My impression too.

  5. #5

    Default Re: OpenSUSE 11 - First Impressions

    My first impressions will come today after work! I hope that all is as good as it sounds. I'm actually considering doing the upgrade to 4.1, as I've heard murmurs through the grapevine that it is more stable than the current 4.0. We shall see. It's a clean install, so what if I break a couple things...

  6. #6
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    Default Re: OpenSUSE 11 - First Impressions

    oldcpu wrote:
    > Thanks for the impressions. I also had similar views in the most part,
    > although I installed KDE-3.5.9 instead of 4.0.x
    >
    > Darkelve78;1821134 Wrote:
    >> INSTALLATION
    >> The installer is superb; clean, beautiful, easy to use.Agree. This was one area where I noted they did a lot of work between

    > the alpha and the GM release.
    >
    > Perhaps the one "quirk" I noted was by default the installer gives root
    > the same password as the regular user. Apparently this is because most
    > users do this! I was surprised by that, and was careful to
    > deselect this option. I also uninstalled beagle, and selected the
    > development environment so I could compile custom applications easier.
    >

    But that is a 1 check box fix on the Users page. Once you input your
    user information , before you hit next just uncheck the use as system
    password too.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: OpenSUSE 11 - First Impressions

    Quote Originally Posted by oldcpu View Post
    Perhaps the one "quirk" I noted was by default the installer gives root the same password as the regular user. Apparently this is because most users do this! I was surprised by that, and was careful to deselect this option.
    That's essentially what Ubuntu does with their version of sudo... you enter your password, not root's. Which is stupid because if everybody's got admin access just by typing in an extra four letters and their password, they might as well be admins.
    I will not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. ... Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.

  8. #8

    Default Re: OpenSUSE 11 - First Impressions

    I agree that one of the best things is having a fast package manager... and the fact that it adds the necessary repositories. I installed it in a laptop... by default it installed b43 module for the wireless, but i guess i didn't know how to configure or use it... so i installed ndiswrapper... thats the only thing that didn't worked out of the box...

    It was little weird to me that is implemented the sudo way of ubuntu... I thing is safer having a different password for root than for users

    I installed it from network, I had a dvd burner and stuff but wanted to try and it really worked good... about 4 hours installing (consider i have not a really fast DSL connection)

    and yeah... the partition proposal was what i wanted!...

    I think now a person that doesn't know about linux can install it without much help

    I have another PC... with 10.2 (upgrading soon) and installed KDE 4.1, tho its beta its more stable than 4.0... it would not risk your system stability

  9. #9
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    Default Re: OpenSUSE 11 - First Impressions

    I still prefer the "classical" method of assigning a root password seperate from the user account (call me old fashioned or just old, doesn't matter ). Anyway, install was fast, but I got bit by the reiserfs/beagle bug, took awhile to figure that out. got it installed and WOW, never seen such speed on openSUSE. Not bad, not bad at all. Am now updating to my favorite software via repos, and Packman, (Goddess bless Packman, whoever he/she/they are!).
    Somewhere, just out of sight, the Penguins are gathering!

  10. #10

    Default Re: OpenSUSE 11 - First Impressions

    so old wise one would you recommend that i Waite a wile to get 11.0 or is it bug free enough to git right away???thanks

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