My experience with linux and Opensuse 11.2
I’ve two laptops, my main one is Dell inspiron 1545 and for experimental purposes, I use Acer Aspire 5315. I used to be a Redhat linux user from 2001 to 2003 on and off, but lost touch with linux for the past few years. I grew frustrated with windows after my Vista recovery partition in Acer Aspire got corrupted and when I took the laptop for servicing, the service person installed a pirated copy of XP. The laptop constantly overheated and I always received all kinds of warnings from microsoft about using pirated version. I finally decided to buy a new laptop and hence bought Dell inspiron 1545. Too bad I didn’t realize I could have switched to linux.
I was suspicious about Windows 7 in my new dell right from the day one and thought of checking linux options available. I was surprised to know the the most popular linux distro now was no longer Redhat or Suse but a relatively newcomer Ubuntu. I installed Ubuntu 9.10 on a 40GB extended partition and was extremely satisfied with the ease of installation. The hardware detector told me I need to install “Broadcom STA” for my wireless card to work. I installed ATI driver from AMD website and it worked like a charm.
Like any linux user, I couldn’t resist the temptation to distro hop, so decided to use my old Acer laptop as testbed. The first distro I tried was KDE version of Fedora 12. The splash screen was very impressive and more graphical than Ubuntu’s, however the boot time was painfully slow and I ran into a dependency hell while trying to upgrade using Kpackagekit.
I tried Linux mint KDE next and it was impressive, but I was still not completely satisfied.
I then tried Opensuse 11.2 KDE and I immediately fell in love with the beautiful look and feel. I was so impressed that I went ahead and replaced the ubuntu in my dell with Opensuse 11.2.
However, it was not smoothsailing when it came to hardware detection. After a lot of trials and tribulations, I managed to download Broadcom STA drivers and managed to get my wifi working.
I realized that Radeon HD was installed as default and tried to turn on compositing. KDE got stuck and even after cold reboot, didn’t recover. I had to re-install the OS and this time I tried to install ATI proprietary driver. But running the driver install script threw up lot of errors and I lost my mouse cursor. I had to re-install the OS again, generate RPM for the ATI driver and install it along with Kernel source, headers, gcc, make, etc… Finally I was able to activate compositing.
I then installed Xen and when I booted to Xen kernel, my mouse cursor again dissapeared, most likely due to non-compatibility of ATI driver. I had to uninstall Xen. I then tried to upgrade the kernel to 2.6.31-15 and again my mouse cursor dissapeared. I had to re-install the entire OS again. I’m so frightened of Kernel updates now. I never had such problems with Ubuntu kernel updates, maybe ATI is more pro-active in releasing new versions of drivers when it comes to Ubuntu.
In-spite of all my hardships, I’m so much in love with Opensuse and KDE. I love it so much that it now runs on both my Dell and Acer. I’ve removed all the other distros from my Acer. It has been quite a long time since I tried any other distro and I don’t even have the faintest desire to distro-hop. Infact, for the past few days I’m so worried about the news of Novell takeover. I really don’t want Opensuse to die. It will be a big loss for Linux users.
I take this opportunity to thank the developers of both Opensuse and KDE for delivering such a wonderful product. Just wish the installation and driver support could be more out-of-the-box experience like in Ubuntu.
Sorry for the long post