FWIW, I started my engagement with OS11.1RC1 today by D/L the x86 KDE 4.1 live iso. I’m coming from a background of using 11.0/KDE3.5 for everyday production and, before that, right back to Suse 7.x I believe. I started out on RH7, and have installed and eveluated a whole schwack of OS’s, including getting sucked in to a VERY less than satisfactory experience with OS 11.0 and KDE (“it’s really production-quality, honest” - NOT!) 4.0. Never again would I trust the KDE crew, I said, so I’m being generous and good-willed to them by evaluating the RC of 11.1 and 4.1 … you know, the “everything will be better and useful by 4.1” release mantra that we heard in 11.0 days.
The booting and the presentation of OS 11.1 to the desktop is smooth, no rough edges, and the work is clearly polished as one expects with the openSuse crew. KDE 4.1 less so, much less so. It is still what I would describe as back in beta stage. And if yesterday’s KDE announcement about 4.2 availability in late January, 800+ bug fixes so far, still missing functionality (compared to 3.5) after 4.2 release, is a reflection of KDE 4 versus 3.5, then KDE 4 will still be a true beta after the end of January. I commend Novell/Suse for their recent decision to include KDE 3.5 with 11.1 and suspect they will have to do the same with the 11.2 release, given the non-production quality of KDE 4. But I digress.
I originally booted the LiveCD, changing only the default 1600x1200 selection at the onset to 1024x768, and it seemed to boot into the desktop well at that resolution. Menu fonts were incredibly tiny and mis-shaped though, even after using the Fonts section of Personal Settings to increase sizes across the board. Of course, increasing the font size had absolutely no effect on Firefox 3’s menus or dialogues, so it remained especially useless, as usual. This isn’t a Suse/KDE issue (I think), but I am getting tired of this FF3 piece of cr#p on linux. I’m told it looks fairly good in Windows, so I can only assume Mozilla is going for the money and ditching OSS … the people that got them where they are today … as (very distant) second class users. Thanks, Mozilla. I’ll stay at FF2 or, if it becomes unsupported, migrate to Opera, rather than deal with FF3 and ruin my eyes.
Before I rebooted to let the LiveCD use my monitor’s native resolution, I played around with some KDE settings. The first, of course, was to try to reduce the size of the clock applet’s font. Maybe I’m stupid, or didn’t spend the requisite number of years studying nerdlike emulation of Gnome brain-dead design esthetics, but I couldn’t for the life of me change the font size. Funny, I couldn’t in 11.0 and KDE 4.0/4.1 either. I guess it didn’t rate enough priority over the “gee whiz” bells and whistles “needed” to make KDE4 “appeal” to the 10 or so supplicants to the Nerd God. I never got all the fonts to look remotely sharp, though … always fuzzy or reedy.
A few more notes to the KDE crew. I think the “folder view in a window” concept still sucks, big time. Personal view only. I tried to expand the default folder view placed on the desktop to make it fill the whole desktop area. All I could do is move it to the bottom-left of the screen, above the taskbar. Thereafter, it wouldn’t move an inch. Guess only one shot at moving it is permitted. As for Dolphin, does the back-and-forth "progress bar ever stop moving? Or is it a subliminal message that your system is still operating? Thanks for getting rid of the peanut in the upper right of the desktop, though.
At this point I gave up on this (1024x768) screen resolution and rebooted, letting the desktop come up at native 1600x1200. Change font sizes to produce crisper (though not sharp) displays, but Firefox3 menu/dialogues and Yast and others are still unacceptably small and, apparently, unchangeable. Query: if people can be put on the moon, shouldn’t it have been remotely possible to straighten out fonts by now? Clock font smaller, but still too large (and unchangeable). It seems anti-aliasing is enabled now … does this work?
Thinking that something between 1600 and 1024 might produce a more acceptable result, I usued Yast to adjust the monitor to 1280x960. The desktop resized fine, but the KDE takbar was an absolute mess with major (important) portions off the screen. The clock was on the left, for example. Nothing seemed to work/be available to resize it and get back the Dolphon, menu icon, etc., icons. So at this point I just gave up.
So that’s my experience with the live CD. The base Suse stuff is solid and polished, at least in my limited testing. KDE 4.1 is still rough and beta quality. Does anyone know if the DVD permits a 3.5 install at the onset, like 11.0? I sure hope so, or I won’t be migrating to 11.1 when the final version comes out. YMMV.