It’s very easy (and satisfying to the ego) to dismiss this as the problems of just another stupid user (me). However, convenient though that “explanation” may be, it simply doesn’t match the facts.
Let me give you a few more details: the same flaky behaviour has now shown up on multiple PC’s, with multiple hardware configs, belonging to multiple users, with multiple usage modes. One PC is my personal one at home, a Core 2 Duo/ECS motherboard machine I put together myself. Another is an HP Pavilion desktop belonging to a friend, which is based around a quad-core AMD Phenom. He is dual-booting it with Windows XP, and there are no problems with the machine while it is running Windows (i.e, there is clearly no hardware problem). A third is an HP Pavilion laptop belonging to a student who got excited when he saw me using Linux, and asked me to install it for him. The laptop is also dual-booting Windows, The remaining machines are Dell Optiplex 760’s with Core2 Duo/Intel motherboards installed in my classroom and used by my students.
So: I’m finding buggy behaviour with OpenSUSE 11.2 on a fairly wide range of PC hardware, used by several different users, and at least two of the machines are proven to have no hardware problems while running Windows. A third is now happily running Kubuntu 10.04 beta 1 with no evidence so far of any flaky behaviour, so I would say hardware problems are ruled out there as well.
Based on the facts, we’ve ruled out hardware problems, and we’ve ruled out user problems. That leaves software problems.
Why are some other users experiencing no problems? My guess would be that some portion of the software load is different. I’m using the 64-bit DVD version of OpenSUSE 11.2, with the KDE desktop and all official OpenSUSE updates applied. The Flash plugin is installed on all of the PC’s I’ve mentioned - it’s essential to their use. My home PC and my friends Pavilion both had Nvidia video cards, so I installed the Nvidia non-free drivers for those. The laptop has a Radeon video card, and the classroom PC’s have Intel graphics.
For whatever it’s worth, I’ve been using Linux since 2001, switching to it permanently in late 2001 or early 2002 with Mandrake 8.2. I’ve used FreeBSD a little, tried numerous Linux distros, and settled on Gentoo Linux as my main distro for many years, switching to Kubuntu these last couple of years as the entire Gentoo ecosystem slowly began to disintegrate. I’ve barely used Windows or OSX in a decade now, except a handful of times while visiting friends, or to play with the one Windows program I still use from time to time(an RC flight simulator).
None of that makes me a Linux expert, but since I’ve performed stage I Gentoo installs successfully in the past, clearly I’m not a raw newcomer to the OS randomly poking at shiny things on the desktop and breaking them through sheer ignorance.
I note that OpenSUSE 11.3 Milestone 2 has been released, and will keep an eye on it as it evolves. Hopefully it will combine the speed and cohesiveness of 11.2 with the traditional SUSE stability.
Enjoy your weekend, everyone.