Newbie's 2c worth on OS11.1 after 1 week - a little long

Well it’s been about a week since I installed 11.1 on my Thinkpad. I’m a total newbie to Linux so wasn’t really sure what to expect. Actually I expected to have quite a few problems from the reading I had done around on the forums beforehand.

First off let me say a big thanks to the mods and people here that answered my questions and assisted me on the other forums on this board.

As a complete newbie I can see why many other newbies get overwhelmed and eventually turn away from Linux and go back to Winblows or Mac. I use my laptop intensively daily for my work and it gets docked / undocked, suspended to ram, suspended to disk, used in many loactions with varying wifi configurations, connected to projectors, etc so for me it needs to work and work well.

The installation went pretty well and everything on my Thinkpad basically worked straight out of the box so I was pleasantly surprised. Actually I was delighted. So far so good.

It’s when it came to tweaking and fine tuning things to work the way I wanted them working is where I started to hit a rough ground. My comments below are just my thoughts of my experience with opensuse as a newbie and are not a critism of the OS but as I said I can see why it turns people off.

One of the main problems which interferes with my daily work is the way docking and undocking is handled. The dock utility doesn’t seem to unmount drives or other devices connected to the dock, and will just undock so you can have potential problems with open files etc. The thinkpad eject utiltiy in XP would sound an alarm if you tried to physically undock before it was ready to release the laptop. So a lot of work needs to be done there on the Suse side. Also, I couldn’t get the docking and undocking profiles to automatically set the new screen resolution and mouse device. I’ve had to write scipts and do a lot of reading to try get it to work - unsuccessfully. I’ve since found that Gnome’s network manager may be a cause for a lot of my trouble so i’ll have to look into that. Since some Thinkpads were shipped with SLED I thought it reasonable that Suse would have had this pretty much sorted (for Thinkpads anyway).

I also found getting reliable information very difficult. In the various wikis / threads on forums I found a lot of the information was quickly outdated and it gets confusing as to what parts are applicable to my setup and what was already taken care of in the new kernel. To add to the confusion a lot of the information may be specific to another distro so while things are similar you sometimes need to find suse’s equivalent path to the config file which is quite difficult when you don’t fully understand the file and directory structure. I’ve found sometimes suse will do something in a completely different way.

I’m not affraid of the command line but as I am not a programmer I don’t know how to role up the commands into a script so i can get them to automatically execute whenever they are needed. An, e.g. would be the setting of profile info or improving the power management under battery power, which brings me onto my next point.

I found it very difficult to try tweak my system to a level of low power consumption when on battery in comparison to XP. I found a whole bunch if command line commands to execute but how is all this roled into a single script? Then you need to apply logic to when the script is run i.e. on battery or AC. Again it got very confusing as to what was already in the kernel and what I needed to install. e.g. tp_smapi, tp_acpi, etc. This sort of thing should be included in the Suse install and made configurable from a comprehensive GUI.

I’m never really sure what I’m installing when it come to installing apps with YAST. I’ve not compared other package managers from other distros but from what I’ve read YAST is supposed to be one of the best. The problem from a newbies’s point of view is that you select an app to install, it goes and selects a whole bunch of dependencies, and then does the install. But sometimes those dependanecies are more than you bargained for. E.G. installing Virtualbox installed a new kernel (default) and suddenly my grub had a new boot option. This took me by surprise. I’ve also installed apps from the “one click” option on the site only to find no luancher icon has been placed in my menus and that I had to launch it from the terminal even though in the developer’s web page it talks about launching via the GUI menu. There seems to be a lack of consistency with how things are packaged.

Now for the more positive stuff. I love the flexibility of the OS and I think a lot of my frustration stems from not being familiar with it, the commands, directory and files structures and just generally where configurations are kept. I do love the fact that there is no registry that can bloat and corrupt. I’m working at putting all my tweaks into scripts or config files so I can easily keep a backup of them and restore then if an update decides to mess things up.

I haven’t even touched on theming and experimenting with the likes of cairo dock, Emerald themes, metacity, etc, and other eyecandy but am looking forward to messing with it all once I have the fundamentals all working.

It’s taken me a lot longer than I was planning, and what I allowed myself, to try get the system working as I want it and it’s still not there. I’m hopeful I’ll get there in the end with the help of this forum and the wikis.

Anyway, want’s important is that I’ve decide to stick with it so I’m happy to say I’m a Linux convert.

Take note kids, the above post is the kind of “critic” I would like to see more.

Well written and have fun with the OS.

yes, SUSE definitely needs work in specific areas like you described. It is often difficult for newbies to adopt to Linux, especially when they don’t know its structure and how it operates or what they have to do to fix their problem as there are often multiple competing solutions. The wiki side of SUSE has been often critisized to be somewhat confusing and outdated (we had a thread about this some weeks ago) but work is being done to improve it somewhat.

As for where you put the commands, you basically create a text file, open it up and put at the very top of it the below code


then you put those ‘if’ commands you speak of (which are actually called conditions :wink: ) in the file and you have a shell script which you can run from the ternimal. If you place it inside a system path like /home/username/bin or /usr/local/bin, you only need to type its name in the terminal to execute it. If it’s not placed in a system path, each time you’ll have to use the full path to it, eg /home/username/foobar/ - don’t forget to make the file executable, right-click on it and change permissions!

This is assuming that you didn’t add your own path to the system PATH variable which can be done in /home/username/.bashrc

I agree with this statement :slight_smile:

Thanks for the tips. I’ll experiment with that. I have a couple other questions regarding scripts and their placement to get them to auto run on boot, on login, etc but I’ll ask that in the appropriate forum.