openSUSE 11 - First Experiences

I can sum up my first experiences with openSUSE 11 in one word: disappointing. I will elaborate below, but if you don’t feel like reading details, I think this one word sums up my opinion pretty well.


Installations was fast and it worked great. The interface is beautiful, fast and intuitive. Great job! But so what… I only use the installation system ONCE - even if it is VERY VERY bad, I’d only have to deal with it once and that’s it. I know that developers put a lot of effort into it, because it is the part that scares newcomers to Linux more than anything else, but there should be a balance. I feel like the other problems should have received more attention. More about that below.

Booting and first start-up

openSUSE 11 DOES boot-up very fast. I don’t think it feels much faster than 10.3 (and it actually might not be), but it does feel a little faster. The login screen on my system looks pretty bad… The resolution is very low (and I couldn’t find a way of changing it) and as a result the fonts look far too big… The graphics generally look unfinished and unpolished… the avatars have a white background as if someone did not know how to use transparency…

A lot of things did not work on my system out of the box… For the record, I use a Dell Latitude D520 laptop. The multimedia buttons don’t work, whereas they did on 10.3 and they do in any other distro I’ve installed (including Ubuntu 8.04). The display and the keyboard layout were not recognized correctly as wasn’t my touchpad. That coupled with the buggy and unstable KDE4 (more about that below) gave opensuse 11 a very “broken” feeling - something that I am not used to with SUSE.

By far the biggest problem with opensuse 11 is KDE4. It is absolutely unusable. I will just give a short list of things that did not work correctly on my installation, but I am sure that there are MANY more…

First, the whole thing is VERY unstable! It hanged on my system more times since yesterday than KDE3 has hanged in the last several years I’ve been using it… Trying to play with the widgets always ends up in the same way - restarting of the X server or a system reboot. KGet doesn’t work. It lists the links for download, but it gets stuck in “delayed” instead of actually downloading them. Katapult (an application launcher which I love and I’ve been using on KDE3 for a long time) doesn’t work properly on KDE4. Anything that requires root privileges (like Yast) doesn’t work with it. Apropos, root privileges - I cannot start anything from the command line with “su”. When I open a konsole as user, get root privileges with “su” and try to start, say Konqueror, nothing happens.

Running Compiz with KDE4 (and KDE3 on openSUSE for that matter) is just a disaster. There are all kinds of artifacts around the windows, kicker constantly crashes, you cannot minimize or resize windows etc. It just doesn’t work properly, period. Talking about crashes - various KDE components crash all the time - kicker, plasma, knotify etc.

Superkaramba doesn’t work. the kde4 version complains about missing Kross scripting support (even though it is installed) and the kde3 version cannot be installed.

Ark still cannot open password protected RARs… will it ever? How hard is it to implement such a simple feature? Especially considering how many people use and the likes and deal almost exclusively with such files.

There are at least another ten or fifteen things I can complain about, but I think the point is clear.

Generally in terms of usability and functionality, I think KDE4 has a LONG way to go. There are many, many things I dislike, but I will list the several ones which annoy me most:

  1. Multiple selection of items on the Desktop doesn’t work. This is simply braindead. I cannot select multiple items by drawing a line around them. Ctrl + click doesn’t work either… braindead…

  2. Context menu for icons on the Desktop has vanished. What the hell?

  3. General functionality and customizability: this is what most users like about KDE and I think it’s simply gone with KDE4. You cannot customize the panels anymore for example not to mention the context menus again…BAAAAAD…


All in all I am disappointed. There are of course many improvements - Zypper is blazing fast, booting feels faster etc. Most of the things that were advertised about 11 do work as promised. The decision to switch to KDE4 however spoils the whole experience. And yes, I’ve heard the argument about giving KDE4 into the hands of users so that we can give developers feedback… It is ridiculous. Considering the effort by the whole community to get people to switch to Linux on their desktops, giving people beta (in my opinion, even alpha) software to use for daily work is just plain old stupid. KDE4 is not even close to being ready for daily use.

I have decided to give openSUSE 11 another chance with KDE3 and GNOME. However, I feel like the waiting was not worth it just for the faster zypper if I am to stay with KDE3. And if I am to switch to GNOME, Ubuntu is a much better option anyway…

No one held you at gunpoint and made you use KDE 4. KDE 3 was an option during the installation. And no, KDE 4 is not KDE 3. It’s completely different - if you wanted KDE to work like version 3, you should have used version 3.

And while I’m on that topic, nobody is going to be angry with you if you switch to Ubuntu. Heck, I won’t even be mad if you switch to Windows. What OS you run on your computer is your own business and I have no right trying to beat a preference into your head.

Interesting … maybe we had different goals. My experience with openSUSE-11 is the exact opposite.

I also thought the installation great.

I don’t agree with your “so what”. The “what” is if a user can not get past the initial install, then one has lost the user. There was a presentation given in Berlin at a Linux symposium, and the design considerations that went into the Installer were briefed extensively. And the key point is one does not want to lose a user at the install stage, and hence a lot of work was done by SuSE-GmbH on that aspect.

I also like the relative fast boot. I think it is about the same as 10.3, … Its definitely fast enough to keep me happy.

There is a wiki on explaining how to do this. Are you coming from Gnome? … I don’t know Gnome, but I’m thinking Gnome does not have the flexibility to change this, while KDE-3.5.x does have this capability. Take a look here: Custom splash screen - openSUSE
… testing is still needed for openSUSE-11.0 KDE-3.5.9, but I would be very surprised if this doesn’t work for 3.5.9.

This reads like a desktop problem … ie KDE-4 problem.

Reads like KDE4.

hmmm… KDE-4 again … I’ll stop here.

You know, this reads like a “KDE-4.0.x - First Experiences” post and not an “openSUSE-11.0 first experiences” post. IMHO you have not experienced openSUSE. … hence the post title is wrong.

Was KDE-4.0.x the main reason you tried openSUSE? If so, then I could have warned you this was going to happen. … :rolleyes:

If you wish to try openSUSE-11.0 in a stable configruation, then re-install again, and this time try KDE-3.5.9.

Another chance? :rolleyes: I do find that funny. IMHO you should have tried 3.5.x as your FIRST chance, and only if that gave you problems, try it again as “another” chance after some hiccups with a new distribution.

I confess I very much agree with andrewd18’s comments.

I am not complaining that KDE4 is different, I am complaining that it doesn’t work as it is supposed to. Regarding the usability comments, I am giving my personal opinion of how it should be - that’s why were were given a version of it, to evaluate it, right?!

Of course nobody forced me to choose KDE4 and I didn’t claim anyone did. However, most of the effort in development and in in publicizing of openSUSE 11 went into KDE4. KDE 3 looks and feels almost exactly the same as in 10.3 so this is why I am commenting on what’s new in 11, not on what’s been there for 2 years.

No I don’t come from GNOME. I’ve always used KDE. I just recently tried GNOME on Ubuntu and though I was pretty pleased with it I still prefer KDE.

I installed 11.0 with KDE4 and I commented on it, because it was the “big deal” about openSUSE 11. Most blog entries on the openSUSE site were either about the installer or about KDE4…

I understand your point about the installer and agree with it to an extent. However, as I said there should be a balance.

Anyway - don’t want to repeat what I’ve said already.

I am downloading the DVD and I will try 3.5.9 tonight. I don’t think I will be very surprised, because I know that it will work flawlessly. 10.3 was almost perfect and there’s no reason why 11.0 with KDE3 should not be even better. KDE4 however is not ready.

It is true 3.5.9 looks and feels the same as 3.5.7. The neat things about openSUSE-11.0 is in the updates underneath. For example:
b. SIGNIFICANT improvement in package management, not only in speed, but also in features and in dependency resolution.
c. Improved tablet support
d. Many new applications and libraries…

to get a list of those new features, go here:
Enhancements list to openSUSE-11.0

or for a top level overview, go here:
Product Highlights in openSUSE-11.0

If kde 4 is the problem, maybe it well help to try adding the Suse 11.0 kde 4 factory stable repo etc and see how it goes. Just my opinion.

Suse 11.0 for me is the best so far

Yeah, you have a point there. I think I am done with KDE4 for the time being however… I might give it another shot when 4.1 is out, but the way it looks I don’t think it will be usable any time soon. I am not even sure if I like the concept at all - it looks too Vista-like and it does away with so much functionality that it’s not worth it anymore… Anyway - let’s see how it goes.

Also, this has been pointed out already by others (here and in other places), but I think it would have made much more sense to have a LiveCD with 3.5.9 instead of 4.04. Making so much noise about KDE4 makes people really curious (especially newbees) and leads to disappointment when the thing is not even close to what it claims to be. I mean - for me it’s easy - I just slap 3.5.9 back on my machine and I am happy… but for someone who gives Linux and/or openSUSE a first try it might be a traumatic experience…

Anyway… just my 2 ct.

… because it’s not finished yet.

andrewd18 hides

I decided to stick with kde 3.

To be fair the installer does state to the end user that kde 4 is not as mature as the other desktop environments and has less functionality.

I would suggest you reinstall v11 with kde 3, give it another go.

On my PC, things went without any problems. The setup detected my RAID 0 nvidia nforce 4 setup and installation was quick. I like the installer, looks professional.

I am impressed with opensuse 11, as i was with 10.3. v11 seems quicker, startup, shutdown, general loading and overall system response.

I even installed the PPC version on an Apple Mac G5 without any problems.

Thanks to all those who made v11 and continue to improve it.

One of the nice (if not grand) things about the openSUSE distro is that you don’t have to choose only one DE.
I’ve got KDE4(.1) and GNOME 2.22 running happily next to one an other. This way I get to see how KDE 4.1 progresses and have a familiar and good base to work with.

Now where did andrew18 go? He was here a minute ago and he just has seems to have disappeared… :smiley:

edit: P.s. I forgot to say : openSUSE 11 is EXCELLENT!! Good job done guys!

The only issue I have had with 11 was during install. I found if you are not accepting the default boot loader installation and want to install it elsewhere, the screens are rather confusing. I figured it out right away but I doubt a new Linux user would be confused. Although, I suppose a new Linux user would not have a separate boot partition and chainloading numerous distributions. I just thought it could be simplified.

Interesting observation, … of course thats ALWAYS a VERY desirable goal. Still, I think there are limits to what can be done here, without Linux losing its identity … < rant on > Many new users just expect to throw in the installation CD, without doing one bit of reading before hand, and want everything to “just work” on their hardware that they never spent one second to see if the manufacturer provided drivers, or if the open source community out of frustration (with the manufacturers) tried to hack some drivers. … sometimes I wonder if they seem to think that Linux should be the new Mac of the PC world … .:rolleyes: (ok …< rant off > ) … :smiley:

I recall before I installed Linux for the first time. I must have read a lot of documentation for 3 weeks before I even attempted it. …

:rolleyes: Things have changed a lot in the past 10 years … :slight_smile:

I agree completely. I wasn’t saying it was impossibly confusing, there were just a lot more options and the option I was looking for was on the 2nd tab…which I did not notice right away.

Furthermore, the reason I have switched to oS is that I like the options and Yast. So, if I sounded like I was complaining, I wasn’t. Just during the process last night it struck me that this could be easier. In retrospect though, maybe the other distributions I have used were overly simple. I will have to think about this more. May even do another install just to look around the installer more and all of it’s hidden options.

They just want ‘those cool beryl or whatever effects’ that’s the difference :wink:

So I reinstalled with 3.5.9 on - no complaints yet. Looks pretty much perfect… Even compiz works surprisingly well - good job! The only (usual) problem is NetworkManager… I think we should switch to Wicd - I did anyway. Oh, and the DSL configuration is somehow broken now and doesn’t accept more than one interfaces (like LAN and Wifi). I guess nobody really uses it, but I do as the only company around here that gives me 16 mbit/s connection without a 2 yr. contract doesn’t give me a router only an ADSL modem and I am too cheap to buy one :smiley: But there are small worries…

I am getting a bit tired of the same look… a new KDE theme would’ve been amazing… But OK - maybe next time :wink:

:)I installed 11 today, it’s my first upgrade since settling on 10.2 which works perfectly. I was very inpressed with how fast the installation went. After reading the first comments that where posted, I was a little doughtful at first. I perfer stability instead of cutting edge so I went with KDE 3 instead of 4, installed full multimedia support seemlessly and all the new features are execellent. My hat goes off to all on a job well done.

hey j-montana, when you upgraded from 10.2 did you do an actual upgrade install or a new clean one. I ask this because I am on 10.2 on my laptop, all my desktops have backups which make installing easier, but with wifi, nvidia running compiz and assorted other tweaks It took me a while to get my laptop “just right” I would assume it would cause a big mess concerning drivers and such.
every time I have had to do an upgrade it failed, always had to start with a clean slate, if anyone has had an experience of doing a direct upgrade without data/file loss from 10.2 I would love to hear about their experiences.

As a point of reference, when KDE 2.0 was released, it broke compatibility with KDE 1.x and brought in new changes. People bitched and complained, some moved to Gnome because of it, and yet, KDE 2.x laid the groundwork for what would eventually become the very KDE 3.5.9 that people are embracing (KDE 3.0 was not a forklift type upgrade from KDE 2.x).

And so it will be with KDE 4.x.

I guess it’s a good thing that OSS has progressed to the point where people are simply expecting it to work, rather than having to roll up their sleeves and embrace the future it promises, but it’s still kind of sad.

The KDE devs have laid the foundation for what is now one of the most powerful and flexible application frameworks in the OSS world, cross-platform at that, and will provide the basis for powerful applications to come.

Yet people complain about panels and desktop icons.

It’s background noise for now, as KDE4 develops people will re-embrace it as they did through the 2.x transition, but it’s still kind of sad.

Just my 2c…


:slight_smile: Hey KeyserSuSE After backing up all my data I did a new clean install, it was the easy way without any conflicts. Sorry I can’t help. A friend of mine has an HP laptop with the same deal, he talking about doing what you want to do. If he does I will know by tomorrow and post the results.

have A Great Day