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Thread: Impressions of openSUSE 11 so far

  1. #1
    tlhzero NNTP User

    Question Impressions of openSUSE 11 so far

    Hey all, thought I would share my thoughts on openSUSE and linux to see if people agree or not, or possibly highlight a few things I might have overlooked

    Firstly let me explain where I am coming from: I have used Vista for a while now, due mainly to getting a free copy from university for my course. I mainly use it for internet, multimedia, and a little gaming (Company of Heroes and WoW). I have been interested in linux since way back when I was trying to find something to replace XP, and after reading around and testing a couple of distros, found that openSUSE 10 offered a lot more polish, stability and a somewhat easier learning curve into linux.

    I gave openSUSE 11 a week or two to settle before trying it out, and I do have mixed feelings about the result. Now I understand that linux offers a lot more customisation which is one of the things that interests me, and I do also understand that its very very hard to make something so complex as an entire distro that "just works" on the huge array of machines people own. So after a few teething problems, such as getting WiFi to work with madwifi (very hit and miss, and still dont remember what I did or didn't do to get it working in the end) and sorting out music and video codecs, I ended up with something I felt a lot more comfortable with, capability-wise. However, I am a lot less comfortable with the overall experience of using linux.

    This is mainly due to the general lack of unity in GUIs. openSUSE is an "everything including the kitchen sink" distro, and thats great for its flexibility, and I am very impressed with the level of polish that openSUSE has achieved in its menus, configs, etc. Apps themselves are the issue though. I have always preferred KDE over Gnome (dont know why), yet apps that seem to be almost universally accepted as the most "capable", "best" or whatever, in their field are left terribly disjointed with the rest of the system. I am the kind of person who loves having one program for a set task, not 3. For example, Pidgin is widely regarded as one of the best IM clients for linux, yet its integration into KDE looks seems horrendous. Same goes for open office and GIMP. Aside from the splash, Amarok does a good job integrating. But still, I am left feeling a complete lack of unity between all these apps despite the common DE. Have I just missed some amazing menu somewhere that brings it all together, or am I just being overly critical of something that is essentially free and very functional?

    Would love to hear your thoughts, comments, or suggestions about this

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Impressions of openSUSE 11 so far

    Thank you for participating in our forum.

    I'm trying to put your "integration" comments in perspective. Did you install KDE-4.0.4 ? or KDE-3.5.9 ? or both? and which KDE are you referring to in your comments?

    I have 11.0 KDE-3.5.9 running on a test PC. I have not put it on a main PC, as not all the 3rd party applications that I use are available yet for 11.0.

    I confess, I found openOffice works well in 11.0. Talking to friends from other distributions, openOffice is one of the areas where they grudgingly have to agree Novell/SuSE-GmbH have done a good job. But I can't compare to Vista, as I have never run Vista. Are you comparing openSUSE-11.0/OpenOffice combination to Vista/Microsoft-Office, or to Vista/openOffice?

    Quote Originally Posted by tlhzero View Post
    I am a lot less comfortable with the overall experience of using linux.

    This is mainly due to the general lack of unity in GUIs.
    Since Linux (and not just openSUSE) have GUI's that are developed and tuned/tweaked on a variety of desktops, I think this is a fair observation. But I see this "lack of unity" simply part of the character of Linux.

    From my view, there is no central individual with a big stick threatening coders if they don't develope their "free GPL" software in a certain way. Instead, since the software is mostly "free" (per the free software foundation definition of free) released under the GPL, the software can be structured any way the coder feels fit.

    Quote Originally Posted by tlhzero View Post
    Apps themselves are the issue though. ... yet apps that seem to be almost universally accepted as the most "capable", "best" or whatever, in their field are left terribly disjointed with the rest of the system. ... I am the kind of person who loves having one program for a set task, not 3.
    I think that is the nature of the free software beast. Take a look at the openSUSE concepts guide: Concepts - openSUSE Note that by free software I do NOT mean "free" in terms of only price. Rather I mean:
    * "free to copy",
    * one has "free access to the source code",
    * one is "free to modify the code",
    * one is "free to give away original version", and
    * one is "free to give away their modified versions".
    Hence most programs are written by volunteers in their spare time. This often means, to save time and not have to re-invent the wheel, a Linux software developer will often base their software on other Linux programs or libraries, created by other users. The reason is, that the programmer wants to save development time/effort. This can cause interdependancies.

    It also means a BIG integrated package is often well beyound the capability of a volunteer, or even a group of volunteers. By necessity, the free software developers have to scope their software into something achievable. In the most part, they don't get paid for their efforts.

    That's not to say there can not be big packages. There can be. BUT they are IMHO less common.

    Also note that Linux programs are often NOT driven by a profit motive. Which means if another package does a side task well, there is less motivation to duplicate that package in an overall package.

    However, the beauty of Linux, is if a team of programmers "happen" to have the same view-point as you, they can take all the work done in a series of small disjointed software, and combine them into one open Source GPL piece of software, for all to use.

    Maybe you need to form your own team and manage the creation of the integrated packages that you want to see.

  3. #3
    tlhzero NNTP User

    Default Re: Impressions of openSUSE 11 so far

    Thanks for your reply

    Sorry - didn't specify that I have tried both KDE 3.5 and KDE 4.0 (KDE4 is stable enough for what I use it for), though KDE4 is what I have mainly been using.

    I respect that this is all work done for free, both in terms of finance and intellectually, and that there is little point in writing duplicate code/programs for different things. I also understand that there is not the scope to do large packages that encompass everything - I was trying to explain that there are for example, several different programs for IM chat but that they all function to a similar level.

    With the increasing popularity of linux for netbooks and other low cost solutions, I see a great opportunity to solidify linux as a real competitor to Windows. I interpret the term "Desktop Environment" to also cover the GUI, and yet with only two major choices for DE, I felt dismayed that the people who do write these great programs dont collaborate to better intergrate them into the system. Im not suggesting that KDE or Gnome, or anyone else, lay down a strick code of laws that people should adhere to, merely suggesting that a more unified system would go a fair way towards boosting the popularity of linux in my opinion.

    But still, thats the good bit about linux, I've found - there really is a huge choice. So maybe I just havnt found that magical setup that suits me yet!

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    Default Re: Impressions of openSUSE 11 so far

    Quote Originally Posted by tlhzero View Post
    But still, thats the good bit about linux, I've found - there really is a huge choice. So maybe I just havnt found that magical setup that suits me yet!
    Some good advice is to find a flavor that is functional for your needs/wants, and stick with it by contributing what you can, requesting what you would like to see improve, and respond by filing bug reports on what does not work.
    <>---><^>

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Impressions of openSUSE 11 so far

    Pretty much all the packages that come preinstalled with a DE will use the same libraries, so will look similar. GTK apps will look well integrated in gnome, qt apps will look well integrated in kde. There are a bunch of different desktop environments with different looks specifically because people have different tastes. Linux is all about choice and imho, standardization would turn linux into a shadow of what it currently is.

    It's great that you can run kde apps in enlightenment, gnome, icewm, fluxbox, etc etc etc and mix and match any way you choose. But, you're using a library that, by design, was made to look different, so looks-wise, applications will not integrate properly. Pidgin stands out like a sore thumb in kde. Amarok stands out like a sore thumb in gnome... heck, amarok 1.4 stands out like a neon sign in kde 4 because it is using kde3 libs.

    In the end, it's all a matter of personal preference. I honestly cannot stand the gtk look, but I prefer pidgin to the kde equivalent (kopete) so I use it anyway. If you want a standardized look for all programs on your current system, stick with qt/oxygen apps. You may miss out on some functionality though.
    Unintentionally left blank...

  6. #6
    zolookas1 NNTP User

    Default Re: Impressions of openSUSE 11 so far

    I've been testing OpenSUSE 11.0 for a week or so and here is my opinion.

    Things that i liked:
    1) Bootscreen, installer and other artwork is very beautiful.
    2) Fast system boot.
    3) Yast allows to select some third party repos so i don't have to hunt them.
    4) Slab allows to add application to startup easily.
    5) Policykit integration in updates.

    Things that i didn't like:
    1) Slab should have and option to edit menu when right clicking "Computer", i know i can do it via control center, but that's a little but nice thing to have.
    2) Real player is used to play mp3 files by default when there is other much better audio players installed by default and there are no issues using fluendo mp3 decoder.
    3) Gnome/kde settings could be displayed in yast or vice versa getting rid of two control centers. I am fine with it, but having two control centers leads to confusion for newbies.
    4) openSUSE Help displays help in russian, does it assume that all people living in lithuania know russian?
    5) One click gnome codec install didn't install gstreamer-bad, gstreamer-ugly and gstreamer-ffmpeg packages, but it installed win32 codecs and other stuff.
    6) Where is my /etc/rc.local?

    Bugs i've ran into:
    1) Special lithuanian letters worked only after changing keyboard preferences in gnome keyboard preferences, previously buttons did not do anything. Also after every change i got error message about xkb, even if everything worked fine.
    2) Tried installing new flash player beta from rpm and it failed because of dependency problem, but later it showed that version from repo is installed (even i've uninstalled it first), strange... Didn't try to install any other rpms.
    3) System update fails because of dependency problem (libpurple-lang-2.4.1-28.1.i586 requires libpurple = 2.4.1, but this requirement cannot be provided) and after it it shows that selected updates have been installed which is not true.
    4) Pulse audio volume control fails to start (Connection failed: Connection refused)

    Overall openSUSE 11.0 left very good impression and the only thing it lacks (imho) is more packages provided in default repos. I have no third party repos in ubuntu, except wine to have the latest version.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Impressions of openSUSE 11 so far

    Thread moved to Soapbox
    Last edited by kastorff; 06-Jul-2008 at 12:24.
    Keith Kastorff

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