Compelling Reason To Upgrade?

I have a fully patched/upgraded version of 11.0 on my laptop that works very well. Is there any compelling reason to upgrade to 11.1 when it’s released? I have looked through the list of main programs that 11.1 is being released with and I am already running the same versions or newer. If I do not upgrade will I begin missing patches to these programs in the future?

The reason why I am asking is that this is my work laptop and doing a fresh install of 11.1 would take hours to get it back into a usable state. Would doing a dist upgrade through zypper be viable?



A dist-update is generally not a good idea. A lot of things change besides package versions (config files and such), and it’s not uncommon to get system instability after such an upgrade. The updates for 11.0 are designed for 11.0; the same is not true for 11.1. In short, it might work fine, but it’s not best practice.

If you were still running a 10.x system, I would say that the improvements the 11.x series has made are well worth the upgrade trouble. However, if you are running 11.0, and there is nothing in the new version that particularly interests you (for instance, you have some hardware support issues that might be addressed by a newer kernel) then there is little reason to upgrade. If you don’t really want to, then you probably don’t really need to.

I have found that, even with a brand new system, it rarely takes me more than an hour of work to get a system from bare metal to running with all my preferred software and settings (though it may in reality take longer because of the time needed to download updates and extra software). However, I’ve used linux for a while now, and I generally am familiar with my hardware requirements.

If you are happy with 11.0, then if it were me, I would not update.

For my main PC (and not my test PC), what I typically do, is take a look at what comes with a new release, and base my upgrade decision on that. For openSUSE-11.1, here is a list of

One then has to consider the changes to the kernel and the various apps, in case any of them are highly desireable.

In the case of our new family laptop (a Dell Studio 15) it must have a 2.6.27 kernel for the wireless (an Intel WiFi Link 5300 AGN) to function. I am not into running custom kernels on my main PC (although on the rare occasion I will do this on my test PC). Also, the audio works best with the 2.6.27 kernel and an alsa 1.0.18a update (as packaged in openSUSE-11.1). Hence that meant openSUSE-11.1 was the easiest approach for the new family laptop. So I have 11.1 on that laptop.

I am currently running openSUSE-10.3 on my main PC. I probably will update to 11.1 on that PC, as I have time off over the Christmas break to tune it. BUT a lot depends on some video apps (kdenlive or equivalent, dvbcut or equivalent) that are a must have for me. If those are not functioning on 11.1 then I will not upgrade.

My mother’s PC is running openSUSE-10.2, and since openSUSE-10.2 is no longer supported, I would like to upgrade her openSUSE to a supported version. Since she lives a continent away, I only visit once/year, which means I will upgrade her PC to the newest openSUSE version. Thus I will put openSUSE-11.1 on her PC when I visit her in January 2009.

Now our old family laptop is running openSUSE-10.3. I may not upgrade that as it is running well and my wife uses it at the office, and I have no reason to update it. I might wait for 11.2 for that, when 10.3 is no longer supported.

My wife’s PC is running openSUSE-10.3 also. But she has a tablet device that I have never tried to get functioning under openSUSE. Tablet support (in YaST) was significantly improved in openSUSE-11.0, and I believe further improved in openSUSE-11.1 (I need to confirm this) so I will likely update her PC over the holidays to openSUSE-11.1.

Now my test PC can have any Linux version running on it, at any given time. Currently it has a dual boot setup between Fedora-10 and openSUSE-11.1. I suspect I’ll keep that configuration until openSUSE-11.2 alpha 4 or 5.

In your case, since you have checked the updates, and you can see no obvious reason to update, then if I were you, I would stick with 11.0. The hardest part is to ignore the enthused posts of users playing with the new 11.1, … but experience has shown me, if it is not necessary to update, then do not do so.

Thanks for the replies!! I think I am going to download a copy and run it in VBox just to take a look at it.

Zak89: I can get the system up and running in about an hour or so, however, this machine does a couple of “abnormal” things. First, it authenticates against Active Directory so I have to be in the office to set that up (it allows for offline authentication as well). It also maps drives to our Windows servers via pam_mount which means a lot of the pam cfg files have been modified by me to fit our environment. Second, I use CrossOver Office to run Outlook to connect to our Exchange server which also requires that I be in the office (or connected to VPN). Finally, my development environment has been tailored to closely match our SLES 10 SP2 servers so that a minimum of fuss is needed to move stuff from development, to testing and then into production. I just have to be very choosy about when to upgrade because getting everything installed, upgraded and configured can take a long time.


I’m happy with 11.0, but it’s going to be really hard to resist as you say.

I think we should help newcomers appreciate that openSUSE versions are supported for some time after the later versions are released.

If I were using my current setup I probably wouldn’t bother.

I am using 11.1 as an opportunity to start using 64bit and KDE4.

I was going to use 11.1 as an excuse to clean things up a bit. I was going to buy a boxed version but I’ve heard now (via el Reg) that the boxed version won’t have all the non-OSS codecs, which is a disappointment.

Can anyone tell me if this is true?


If your laptop works now well don’t! 11.0 will be supported for another 18 months, 10.2 has only just been dropped in the run up to 11.1 release.

There’s issues in 11.1 with some Intel ingtegrated grafix, and that does effect some Dell laptops (you can check in the Factory mail list archive).

My impression of 11.1-RC1 was pretty good, the KDE4 was pleasant enough for basic use (but configuration of it appeared problematic), the graphical configuration and administraton with YaST was a dream (though experienced, I deliberately tried out all the graphics and not once on 4 different boxes did I have to resort to commandline).

Generally 11.1-RC1 worked far better for me than 10.3 initially did, which took about a month after GM to become solid.

I should wait, and if you start feeling urge to “clean up”, start off with new release by creating a test partition.

I certainly wouldn’t risk doing an upgrade with installation media, until after a few months, and having researched the likely issues encountered.

In future you can plan for upgrades, by creating unused space for an extra backup of the system partition, using a seperate /home, and seperate filesystems (which can be untouched by installs) for things like music files and videos.

The LVM is very nice for data areas, but I don’t like it for the root filesystem because it makes recovery harder, should kernel upgrades, or tinkering go wrong at a later date.

It’s true, non-OSS makes copying of the disks by 3rd parties for wider distribution problematic. Patented codecs risk severe legal problems, if you live in the wrong countries.

The multi-media stuff you want, will be available by getting DVD decryption from the Videolan repo, and other goodies from Packman.

Now there is almost no benefit to buying the boxed version (for me anyway), these forums and the web provide excellent answers to my problems, so email support is probably not much benefit…

Hummmm - to buy or not to buy - that is the question


I was thinking about switching over to 64-bit as well. I think the last couple of obstacles in the 64-bit realm have been/are being removed (Java & Flash) so hopefully it will be a better user experience. I know I would have to do a complete re-install for that though.

I run KDE 4.1.3 as my main desktop and find it extremely reliable. I don’t have any real issues with it whatsoever. I don’t run Compiz or any other compositing software other then what is built into KDE 4. Maybe that’s why i don’t see the issues.

The only problem I do have with openSUSE 11.0 is that when I log into the desktop it doesn’t give me access to KNetwork, Volume Control or other stuff sometimes. Everything appears to work normally, I just don’t have access to them via the applets. It happens in KDE 3,4 & Gnome and has happened with 10.2 & 10.3. I tracked it down to a dbus issue with active directory logins, but no one seems to have any answers.To fix it I usually just wait a few minutes, logout then back in and it usually is fine until I reboot.


Speaking of the network manager. In one of the betas i saw that a new manager had been introduced in KDE4. Now i cannot find any evidence for it anywhere. Does anyone know what happened there?

I think that comes out in KDE 4.2 which is due out in January.


Sorry to interject again, but why 64bits? Do you have more than 4GB RAM? I remember the move to 64bits in the commercial world 10 years back and the 64bit versions of the Unix I was using ran slower than the 32bit. At the time the argument for 64bit was the addressable memory, e.g. you could have a whole database in memory.

So if you don’t mind asking, why 64 bits?

Cheers and regards

Sorry to interject again, but why 64bits? Do you have more than 4GB RAM? I remember the move to 64bits in the commercial world 10 years back and the 64bit versions of the Unix I was using ran slower than the 32bit. At the time the argument for 64bit was the addressable memory, e.g. you could have a whole database in memory.

So if you don’t mind asking, why 64 bits?

Cheers and regards

Well, it’s not only the addressable memory argument. I “only” have 2 gigs in my machine, But I’ve noticed speed-ups in cpu-intensive programs. I haven’t performed any benchmarks or anything, but there certainly is a noticable difference (at least on my machine) when I use say mandvd or kdenlive now compared to when I used 32bit.

Besides, if the programs you need are available in 64-bit (and most linux-programs are, even the proprietary ones I use are. Granted, those are limited to the nvidia-driver, the flash-plugin, Maple XII, and Nero Linux) at worst the program should run at the same speed as its 32bit equivalent. Certainly not slower, although there may be exceptions but I haven’t run across one.

It’s available in the 4.2 beta that you can get from the unstable repos. You have to download it seperately from the rest of KDE4.2 for the time being though, and so far it shows that it is not finished. It’s in my experience VERY unstable.

64-bit is the wave of the future :wink: My laptop is a Dell D620 with 4GB of RAM and 32-bit Linux only sees 3.2GB.

Also, I work for a large auto parts manufacturer as the developer for internal applications. During a “normal” session I’ll have Firefox (multiple tabs), Crossover Office (Outlook), Apache, MySQL, AquaData Studio, Unison and NetBeans 6.5 with multiple source code files open. Sometimes, depending on what I am working on, I’ll also have Vbox running with a Windows XP VM running Visual Studio 2008. I really wish Mono was a little more advanced so that I could port those VB & C# apps over completely to Linux.

Since 64-bit would utilize all of the memory and do it more efficiently, it would probably be a decent productivity booster.

I think I just talked myself into installing 64-bit 11.1 over the Holidays. hehehe


The increase in pointer size, lead to greater executable sizes, and disks were slower and most machines had less memory than 4GB.

32 bit RISC instructions sets had plenty of registers, and were not carrying compatability limitations over from i386 days. They were relatively simple, but faster clocked compared to CISC CPUs, whereas now you use a 3 or 4 issue, out of order execution dual/quad core processor, with code compiled for a historic one with irksome features.

Memory speed has not increased in direct proportion to CPU capability. So modern CPUs suffer more from cache misses, L2 caches on budget chips are bigger than the original 640KB (more than enough for anyone), because of this.

With CPUs comparatively slower at time, they had less to gain from widening the data-busues. If you don’t think this is now an issue, take a look at graphics card architectures, and how wide the data paths now are on high end cards.

With the standard 3/1 split if you have a graphics card with 1GiB of RAM, it doesn’t leave much room for the kernel to be loaded into and for it’s stack and data structures (1 - 1 = 0).