I wanted to see if it is true that openSUSE is ready to replace Ubuntu, and it looks like it is not, at least from my point of view. Before I go into details, I will mention that running openSUSE alongside Vista and Ubuntu on the same PC. I don’t remember when was the last time I switched to Vista, as I spend 99% of the time on Ubuntu.
- Centralized management (Yast)
- Better compatibility with MS Office documents. I have been able to verify this with several documents that have many tables and formulas.
- Very polished look.
If I plug a digital camera into my PC, a window pops up under Ubuntu offering me to import pictures/video clips. On openSUSE there is no such thing. I have to start F-spot under Gnome. I don’t even know what would be the KDE application as I’m not using it. One might argue that this is not important, but for a linux novice it might be a big deal.
Restricted multimedia packages. I don’t know where to begin here. Under Gnome, installing the restricted meta package does not help, you have to go and add few more gstreamer plugins to be able to see all video formats with totem. Under KDE it works, but if you enable desktop effects the video goes black. Then you have to thinker with Gstreamer video input until you find that X (or whatever works for you) helps.
More on multimedia: I tried ffmpeg from packman. It is compiled to support many formats, but the ffmpeg package will not install all libraries (e.g., libmp3lame, etc.). Under Ubuntu, if you enable Medibuntu repository, when you install ffmpeg it comes with all these libraries as dependencies, so that you don’t have to chase them separately. You install it and use it.
Audio: The volume control icon didn’t work for me (just wouldn’t open) until I added myself to the pulse group. It took me a while to get microphone to work (I had none of these problems on Ubuntu, things just worked on the same PC). Then I tried to use Ekiga. Aside from the fact that I did not figure out yet what ports to set in firewall, after closing Ekiga, volume control doesn’t work again until I log out / log in again. Ekiga just works fine under Ubuntu, and since I’m sharing /home partition, it uses the same settings.
KVM: On both Ubuntu and openSUSE it comes compiled to use /dev/dsp for audio instead of alsa (it puzzles me why this is the case). This works fine for some applications, but not for all of them. So, I downloaded the latest KVM, version 70, and it was not a problem to compile it with ALSA support under Ubuntu. Under openSUSE, after I chased all the libraries, it started to compile, and somewhere in the middle of it there was an error. I just gave up, because I spent a lot of time just to find all the libraries, only to find out that that was not enough.
Some more on multimedia: It is easy to capture/edit videos from camcorders by using Kino. openSUSE decided not to provide binaries any more. I downloaded the latest Kino, and after reading through README file I saw that I will need a lot more libraries, so I’ll leave that for some weekend when I have more time at my hands.
In conclusion, I didn’t really spend much time with openSUSE, but all these things are putting me off simply because everything works on Ubuntu. Does the openSUSE community really believe that multimedia and easy of use are not important? Perhaps version 11.1 will be better.