Switching to openSuse


I have been an ubuntu user for about 2 years now and have become very familiar with the OS.

I was told by a friend at my university that openSuse is better than ubuntu. I want to make the switch however I have a choice of ubuntu 10.10 (being released next monday) and openSuse 11.3.

I want to make the right choice and the reason for not downloading (I don’t have access to an already created DVD) both is that my bandwidth is capped at 2GB.
So can someone please let me know if it is a good choice to switch to openSuse and if I can get some input on user experiences, would be great thanks.

Another question regarding software:
Is there an alternative to APTonCD for openSuse and will my ATI HD3200 work well with 11.3 (I have heard that ATI is not so well supported by openSuse, is this true?)

Would be nice to get some input on this subject.

Thanks :slight_smile:

If your mate at university has openSUSE already, ask him to burn you a CD/DVD. Then you can try both :).

ATI cards work fine on opensuse. My laptop has ATI HD4750 and works fine. You have choice of using the open source ati driver which is out of the box or the closed source driver (fglrx) which is what I use. I find that in games I get more FPS by using the closed source driver. However it is a bit complicated install the closed source driver ATM because you have to patch the driver manually to install. But it is possible

Yeah he doesn’t have the DVD or ISO anymore.

Could you please let me know how to install (patch) the fglrx drivers?

Here is my little how to for fglrx. First make sure you have downloaded the driver from ati.amd.com

  1. First install all required dependencies for fglrx (as root):
zypper in kernel-source kernel-syms module-init-tools make gcc libstdc++ libgcc glibc-32bit glibc-devel-32bit fontconfig freetype zlib* patterns-openSUSE-devel_kernel kernel-devel patch
  1. Go to directory where you have downloaded the driver. e.g:
cd /home/user/Downloads
  1. Download the patch
wget http://www.sebastian-siebert.de/downloads/ati-10.9-replace-function-compat_alloc_user_space.patch
  1. Extract the fglrx driver:
sh ati-driver-installer-10-9-x86.x86_64.run --extract ati-10.9
  1. Patch driver:
patch -p0 <ati-10.9-replace-function-compat_alloc_user_space.patch
  1. Go to fglrx directory:
cd ati-10.9
  1. Build fglrx driver:

For 32 bit:*

./ati-installer.sh `./ati-packager-helper.sh --version` --buildpkg SuSE/SUSE113-IA32

For 64 bit:

./ati-installer.sh `./ati-packager-helper.sh --version` --buildpkg SuSE/SUSE113-AMD64
  1. Install the driver. e.g. 64 bit.:

cd ..
zypper in fglrx64_7_5_0_SUSE113-8.771-1.x86_64.rpm

  1. Generate xorg.conf

aticonfig --initial

Then you are done. :slight_smile: - just restart and you will be using fglrx

Credit to this website for patching instructions:
openSUSE 11.3 – proprietären Grafik-Treiber ATI Catalyst 10.9 als RPM installieren

Please take a look at our FAQ’s in the new user area: New User How To/FAQ (read only)

You may also find the openSUSE concepts wiki of use to read: Concepts - openSUSE

I confess I am no longer a believer in calling one distribution “better than another” but I do note there are differences in the focus for different distributions, making some more suitable to ones views than others. … needless to say I like openSUSE. :slight_smile:

Reference the ATI drivers, there is some truth to what you have heard. Both Fedora and Ubuntu have applied fixes to their drivers/X window/kernel for ATI hardware where those fixes are NOT yet upstream. Hence openSUSE does NOT yet have those fixes as openSUSE packagers are less likely to use fixes that are not upstream, as opposed to Fedora (and in this case also Ubuntu) who are willing to risk applying such fixes. Fedora is typically very good at sending their fixes upstream. Ubuntus record for this is not so good (some say dismal), as they tend to send their fixes to Debian, where they can languish for a long time and possibly never make it upstream.

Hence for some ATI hardware, the current releases of both Fedora and Ubuntu work better than openSUSEs current releases. Once the fixes make their way upstream, then openSUSE will benefit and have the same functionality.

You will find Package management in openSUSE different from that of Ubuntu. I hope your friend can guide you here. For Software Management, openSUSE users use a Command Line application called “zypper” (as opposed to “apt” in Ubuntu). OpenSUSE users use the GUI in YaST for GUI based software management. My experience is new users to openSUSE should limit their PC to the essential software repositories, which are the “official” Novell/SuSE-GmbH repositories (OSS, Non-OSS, Update) and only one 3rd party repository (Packman). Some users add respositories for a proprietary graphics card driver (in your case it would be an ATI driver respository) while many others prefer to simply build the proprietary driver themselves, which is pretty easy to do. I have never used the ATI driver repository, always prefering to build the graphic driver myself.

It takes a bit more effort to be familiar with how openSUSE multimedia can be updated. Its actually very easy, but ones hand is NOT held via openSUSE as it is packaged, but rather one needs to follow a guide (such as provided here). There are good legal reasons for this difficulty, where Ubuntu have chose to “cut the line very fine” wrt the reasons (and they risk being sued), but Novell/SuSE-GmbH refuse to take that risk. I amm a believer in the Novell/SuSE-GmbH approach.

If your friend can support you on openSUSE that will make this much easier for you. If not, then please post on our forum asking for help.

Welcome to openSUSE and to our forum.

Thanks guys for your input. I think I will be making the switch to openSUSE tomorrow :slight_smile:

The only question which still remains is:

Is there an alternative application for APTonCD (APTonCD) for openSUSE?

Look at this here:

regarding an openSUSE alternative to AptOnCD. I have never tried AptONCD or the openSUSE alternative so I can’t provide feedback on how good it is.

Hey ah7013
I did what you told me to do in regards to installing the ATI drivers but now everything lags.
Any fixes for that? if not how do I remove the ati drivers (in /usr/share/ati/ only two folders are present namely amdcccle and lib64)

On openSUSE for Software Management we use an application called “zypper”, … and it has a GUI front end as part of YaST.

ah7013: and when I say lag I mean EPIC LAG, scrolling in firefox is like running my entire installation from my mobile phone. Do you have any ideas why?

The only time that I had serious lag problems when scrolling firefox, was when the automatically configured screen parameters did not match the lcd display. Once I got that fixed, the problem went away.

How would i do that?

Slow scrolling in FF is 99.9% of times caused by (lack of, or wrong) video card drivers. Follow oldcpu’s link to the guide.

I was told by a friend at my university that openSuse is better than ubuntu. I want to make the switch however I have a choice of ubuntu 10.10 (being released next monday) and openSuse 11.3.

This comment is a little late, since you already have installed oS, but: why do you switch a system just because someone states a certain system is “better”? Believe me, you will always find someone who thinks a distribution is superior for some reason, but what counts is whether you are satisfied with your system. I don’t quite understand why you did not stay with Ubuntu.

Hope you don’t mind if I jump in here. Needing more RAM for 11.4 and something faster I went ahead and bought a refurb with (as I found out when I got it home) AMD Athlon 64X2 Dual Core Processor 3800+. Now all I need is 11.4 for 64 bit. The 11.4 that I had bought for the old PC was, naturally, 32 bit and somewhat aged in any event. Can I twist the arm of someone to burn me one and save me the cash outlay and long wait for delivery by mail? :stuck_out_tongue:

You can download openSUSE for free: openSUSE.org

If downloading is a problem: you can also install the 32bit version on the new machine. No problem at all to install a 32bit OS on a 64bit machine. The other way around is not possible.

That’s bad news - it means that the 11.4 I bought here is screwed. It gives me problems on this PC and I thought it was due to low RAM. With 512K router I cannot download. Will have to try another source. >:(