My fathers openSUSE 13.1 success story

So my father who has an ancient laptop (a Toshiba Satellite A105-S4201) is concerned with the loss of XP next year and really cant afford a new laptop any time soon.
Now my father is no stranger to linux, I gave him a few distros and I think I finally hit the nail on the head.
Surprising enough the distro that seems to make it run nice again as like if was brand new is openSUSE 13.1 and under KDE no less!
Seriously its running like a dream, I had fears it would not run as the computer is a pre vista model and while the sticker says it could take vista my father never took the plunge into it and kept XP for all this time.
But it turns out that those promises of KDE running less heavy are true in this case, me I cannot say anything as my specs are much higher and newer and never felt the need to look at KDE’s memory consumption.
But for my fathers computer all seems well, sure not everything is up to full speed (old specs after all) but its almost running as good as my current machine and thats a testament on how great KDE has become and how openSUSE has not only met expectations but totally surpassed them and is running like its on a brand new computer.
The shocking bit is that KDE on my fathers system is actually running better then it did under XFCE in both xubuntu and solydx.
Quite a feat for something that can barely run standard ubuntu or Linux Mint’s cinnamon.
But even KDE with desktop effects turned on seem to run smooth as ice on my fathers old girl.

I can believe it. I have a 9+ year old laptop that has run openSUSE pretty well (one hiccup right now) and even KDE. Ubuntu Unity is a bit heavy on it (and the chipset cannot run Ubuntu post-12.04 but that’s another issue) so I switched to Fedora and openSUSE. Fedora was a dream and openSUSE was working great until my recent “glitch” somewhere has messed it up (but I can fix that I guess).

One of the advantages of KDE4 was that it reduced the memory needed (if you turned off special effects). I ran it with just 256 Mb on my previous machine and then upgraded to 768 Mb. I’ve been running it in 1 Gb on my current machine very happily.

Well even with effects turned on it still runs much better then one would expect.
I am thinking the main issue with my fathers performace under Cinnamon, Unity and Gnome Sjhell is probably the graphics card.
After all this is an old Intel GMA 950 video card and is rated at best for openGL 1.4
Not sure if Mutter Compiz or Muffin needs something like openGL 2.0

Yeah, the graphics card I think makes a difference.

I have a system that was running openSUSE 13.1 Xfce very easily yet the same exact machine is running Ubuntu 13.10 (just noticed they are both the same numbers…) is so dogged slow and choppy as to be practically unusable. I am thinking of throwing Ubuntu 13.1 w/KDE on it (or go back to Xfce).

I am suspecting the video because some system before it was likewise unusable but once I got the graphic drivers updated it ran smoothly and very well. Unfortunately I cannot remember if that was with Linux or Windows.

I had thrown Xfce on it in the first place in part because dual-monitor support with KDE and Gnome is aweful and right now I can’t even try Unity it is that bad.

yeah but dual monitors does go down to the graphics card, I mean KDE has tried to make an effort for dual screens recently but if your card doesnt work too well then it becomes muddled.
Hopefully this is something weyland can fix

KDE has handled dual monitors showing the same thing well for some time; only with the latest version has KDE tried to improve using two screens to show different parts of the output.

Well I may have to retract this, as even though initial tests suggested openSUSE 13.1 might be the one for my dad, the laptops hardware is just too old for it.
I even tried XFCE and everything runs like a slug now.
I guess I will have to give him one of the buntu’s again, perhaps linux lite or something.
Unless you guys know of a good, easy to use, lightweight, any windows user can take to it distro.
I have tried Mint on it but Cinnamon runs too heavily.
Perhaps Mate?
I dunno about that one, while I would try mate here on my machine I got the caja opening multiple windows bug.
I just need a distro that is easy for him, no frills or complex command line.
And no I wont take arch as an answer, sorry.

I have used Mint Mate 13 on quite a few older laptops for customers.

On 2013-12-13, MadmanRB <> wrote:
> I have tried Mint on it but Cinnamon runs too heavily.
> Perhaps Mate?

I’ve found Linux Mint MATE to run smoothly on old hardware. My only real beef with Linux MINT is its 8 month support
period with no option to upgrade. I wonder why they do that.

Mint 13 is LTS

On 2013-12-13, caf4926 <> wrote:
> Mint 13 is LTS

I am aware of that. I was referring to the regular releases.

Turn off Akondai and indexing services?
Lower some of the graphical eye-candy?

I meant **Akonadi **and Nepomuk. It was suggested to me to turn them off or disable them to help lighten things up.

Well, this depends. Turning them off has it’s reflections on KDE apps, like Kontact. Both of them are known / said to be memory / performance hogs, but I rarely experience this. And, in cases where I did see it, forcing them to rebuild their databases improved things a lot. Plus, I wouldn’t want my KDE without them.

Well we are giving openSUSE 13.1 another shot, I actually reset the whole install (including wiping out home after backing everything up)
And try number 2 might promise better as sometimes a clean slate can help things.
If anything old configs are gone so that may help.
My father has been using linux on the side and has tried many, the best one that worked was Ubuntu 10.04 but its dead.

Well, I still have a computer in my workshop from 2003 working with LXDE on opensuse 13.1. Running streaming video from my Dreambox’es, most of flash and so on. Not the fastest but works for me.


Well good news, try 2 is better then try 1, seems like my wipe idea worked.
Now openSUSE is running like a dream, only flash seems to have issues but cant do much about that right now (come on shumway!)
All things considered my fathers computer runs like mine right now even with the lower and older specs, it sure is a awesome sight to see the computer live again

Good luck. Please inform on us/forum. Have look at:
Lumpis Linux: A Windows User’s Dream if I Ever Did See One - FOSS Force