Tuesday, March 15, 2011

OpenSUSE 11.4 Review

Released just a few days ago, the latest incarnation of OpenSUSE is now with us. OpenSUSE 11.4 is a strong release, at least theoretically, but how does it really do? Step in and find for yourself.

INSTALLATION & MEDIA

One welcome thing outside of testing the distro itself is the official ANNOUNCEMENT, which is so informative and detailed that I feel should be an example for other distro builders out there. Once you are ready to download, there are a few media formats available, ranging from the full blown 4.7GB LiveDVD image (the one I downloaded and will review below) to less complete options, certainly better suited for slower connections.

The installation process is not that much different to what we have seen in previous releases, which is not necessarily a bad thing. OpenSUSE was one of the first to bring forward a beautiful GUI installation wizard, and at this stage, it is a mature and solid product which works great. If anything, I wish it incorporated some of the latest enhancements and ideas we have seen in Ubuntu, like the ability to download updates during the installation.

Installing OpenSUSE 11.4 from the LiveDVD, users can choose the desktop manager to be installed, KDE being the default option. I installed GNOME first, more than anything because I was curious to learn more about GNOME Shell, but I didn't really had a chance to test it. OpenSUSE 11.4 is built on GNOME 2.32.2.1, an up to date version of the current stable environment. GNOME Shell is available, but reading through the documentation, I learnt it has already become obsolete due to the current frantic development pace. GNOME Shell aside, my only comment about OpenSUSE GNOME would be that KDE is the default and it shows. In other words, it's easy to tell when a release does a good job at implementing one desktop manager or another and when they simply offer it as an option. In this case, GNOME is clearly plan B.

After browsing around for fun, I removed GNOME and off I went to get KDE installed. I have to admit I was interested to see if OpenSUSE would incorporate the recently released KDE 4.6.1, but that was not the case. I think that is unfortunate, because KDE 4.6.0 was a major release bringing in lots of changes and inevitably some bugs, so it would have been nice to get the most relevant fixes from those March KDE updates already. If KDE 4.6.1 was not available when the production release was frozen, a method to download it as one of the first main updates could have been enabled for user convenience. I hope it happens eventually.

The installation process went by and took quite some time, but I guess that's reasonable when using such a big sized LiveDVD. In both my GNOME and KDE installation attempts, everything worked smoothly and no errors were found.

(NOTE: An interesting little fact for some, I was able to install OpenSUSE 11.4 on an external USB hard drive. That in itself would not be worth mentioning, but after getting repeated errors when trying to do the same thing with Pardus 2011, I thought I would bring it up.)

THE DESKTOP

The KDM login theme is consistent with the installation wizzard branding. It's not busy, but it doesn't look oversimplified either. The same applies to the desktop, which sports an elegant wallpaper made of vertical stripes, adding an original twist to the SUSE logo. I personally love this wallpaper and have kept it as is.


Click on image to enlarge.

Other than the wallpaper, the overall look and feel is pretty standard for a KDE desktop. The OpenSUSE community have created a custom Air theme specific for their distro, but fonts, controls and icons are all the usual.

One thing I quickly realised is that OpenSUSE is a good implementation of KDE 4.6.0. My previous experience was under Kubuntu 10.10, and well, I wasn't too impressed. KWin effects now run very smoothly, seemingly not impacting system performance in a noticeable way. In fact, the overall performance is good, with menus and applications feeling quick and responsive.


Click on image to enlarge.

My testing with OpenSUSE 11.4 also marked the first time I tried Faenza on KDE, and I must admit I love it. I am not entirely sure why, but I always considered Faenza a GNOME icon theme by definition. Having said so, it works out well under KDE as well, changing the already familiar KDE style in a refreshing and original way... It's a subtle change, but it added some new excitement to using the KDE desktop!

Good old YaST2 is in charge for most things configuration. Similar to the Mandriva Control Center, YaST2 owns software management duties, but also anything from user account management to Kernel settings, Novell AppArmor settings or Firewall configuration, to name just a few. As is the case with the Mandriva Control Center, the YaST2 interface does not look native inside KDE, giving it a bit of a rusty vibe. All in all, it does what it is supposed to do, albeit with some quirky overlaps with KDE's own System Settings.

To summarize, OpenSUSE 11.4 provides a reasonably good looking and performing KDE 4.6.0 desktop. Looks could be improved and perhaps the amount of customization could be more significant, but I have to say my first impressions were quite positive.

APPLICATIONS

Out of the box, OpenSUSE users get quite a big application catalog in KDE. There is nothing revolutionary here, but there are some interesting picks. Firefox 4.0 comes in its Beta12 suit. LibreOffice 3.3.1 takes over as the office suite of choice, continuing a trend that most Linux distros are already following. Amarok, Kmail, Ksnapshot, digiKam, Marble, GwenView and many other typical KDE choices are available, but also a few more "obscure" options, like LinPhone.


Click on image to enlarge.

Installing applications is simple(ish) with YaST2, but it is strange that very common applications still require the addition of extra repositories. For example, I was unable to install Chromium browser from the standard repositories. Fortunately, once I added the contrib ones, it was simple and I got a very up to date version, which was welcome!


Click on image to enlarge.

In case you face this issue, here's how to add the contrib repositories:

1.- From the main menu, go to Applications > System > Configuration > Add/Remove Software. Open the Configuration menu > Repositories..., then add the following URL as a new entry:

http://download.opensuse.org/repositories/openSUSE:/11.4:/Contrib/standard/

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to download other popular applications (Skype comes to mind) from YaST and was forced to download it from the application's own Website. In fact, installing Skype was one of the many problems I faced when testing OpenSUSE 11.4. I will discuss them in detail in the following section.

EXCUSES, EXCUSES, EXCUSES...

Let me be clear here: I can't recall testing a major distro release with as many issues as OpenSUSE 11.4. Hardware support problems, application installation issues, lack of stability and consistency... It's taken me many hours just to get some basic things working.

When I found out about the OpenSUSE 11.4 release, there were two main things that sparked my interest. First, I wanted to test the new 2.6.37.x Kernel series because of its supposedly enhanced hardware support, specifically the new Broadcom wireless drivers. On the hardware support department, I was also interested in checking whether this new Kernel would be able to cope with current Intel HD graphics cards while maintaining support for older models (something older Kernel versions not always managed successfully). Second was my interest on GNOME Shell, as already mentioned.

I originally installed OpenSUSE 11.4 on an external USB hard drive successfully from an HP nx7400, an old but trusty notebook which is usually a starting point for me because of its Linux-friendly hardware. No hardware support issues appeared, as I was expecting, but the great thing about installing on a USB hard drive is that I can simply plug it on any other tablet or laptop and get to test that hardware.

A Wireless Odyssey

My next target was my HP2740p tablet, whose Broadcom B4312 wireless network card and Intel HD graphics card always required a bit of extra work to get going. On the good news department, the graphics card worked flawlessly out of the box. Unfortunately, when it came to the wireless device, that was far from being the case. It seems the new Kernel series provides the open source B43 driver by default, which gets some functionality working, but not all. Scanning for wireless networks worked OK, but I wouldn't get a lasting connection, it would disconnect right after connecting. I wasn't that surprised, to be honest, because that is exactly the same behavior I get in Ubuntu with that same driver.

To provide a bit of context here, after installing and booting Ubuntu 10.10 for the first time on the same machine, it only takes a couple minutes before it notices the wireless card requires specific drivers. Ubuntu provides the open source Broadcom driver available as the primary option, but also the Broadcom STA proprietary one in case I need it. Long story short, it takes about 5 minutes to get it to work under Ubuntu, with little extra effort required from the end user. Unfortunately, that was far from being the case in OpenSUSE 11.4.

Because of my previous experience with Ubuntu, I knew installing the Broadcom STA wireless driver would get things going. After quite a long time Googling about it and finding a specific forum THREAD on the subject, I learned that installing the Pacman broadcom-wl-kmp-desktop driver was probably my best shot. Now, anyone who has ever had to overcome similar problems under Linux knows that there is a lot of hit and miss involved, for not all forum replies capture the right solutions. As a result, it took me a few hours and a lot of tries to get to the final solution.

Unfortunately, that final solution wouldn't be straightforward either. When I finally installed the apparently working drivers, I got my network card to be able to scan wireless networks again, only this time it would not connect to mine at all. Back to square one. I was scratching my head because I was running out of options. Using common sense, I thought it was very weird that my card was apparently behaving correctly but could not connect to my WPA2 encrypted wireless network, and then it hit me: "Could encryption be the problem here?." Off I went to investigate once more, and once again, I found other people experimenting similar behavior in forums. I again found workarounds, but they were specific to the B43 driver, not the Wl I was using.

I decided to test on an open (not encrypted) wireless network, just to see if encryption had anything to do with it. As I was expecting, OpenSUSE 11.4 successfully connected with that open wireless network, which was good news because it was the first time I could get a working wireless connection. However, I had no clue about fixing the encryption issue, so I decided I would try again on my encrypted network, hopeful that I would maybe spot something that could lead me to the final solution.

Long story short, after having tried on an open network, connection on an encrypted network worked as well without me changing anything else. The screenshot below shows proof, but how and why it started working all of a sudden, I have no idea. Bizarre!



Installing RPMs (or banging my head against the keyboard)

I finally got my wireless problems out of the way, time to continue testing hardware and applications. My 2740p has an integrated webcam and internal mic, which I often test through Skype. I therefore downloaded the corresponding RPM from the Skype Website and proceeded to install... Little did I know that I was about to get stuck with another problem.


Click on image to enlarge.

The screenshot above shows the error message I got when trying to install any downloaded RPMs. As they say, Google is your friend, so I started searching again, and again I was not the only one with the problem. Apparently, this issue is caused by a conflict with the PK_TMP_DIR repository, which already exists in YaST. I removed it and the installation finally completed successfully.

Skype Wars too

So, I finally had Skype installed, time to open it up... Open the main menu, click on the Skype icon... Nothing happens. "I probably didn't really click properly, let's try again...", I said to myself, but again, nothing happened. "Argh!!!." Investigation was on again, so I opened skype from the command line, just to check if an error message would show up, and indeed one did.

skype: error while loading shared libraries: libpng12.so.0: cannot open shared object file: No such file or directory

At this stage, Google is my brother, certainly closer than a friend... Anyways, I searched for this error and found that the Skype package was missing some dependencies and that installing libpng12-0 was required, which proved to be correct because it fixed my problem.


Click on image to enlarge.

At last, Skype was running and the webcam was apparently working. Unfortunately, the internal mic was not, rendering the application pretty much useless... Oh, well! (To be fair, the internal mic was successfully configured and working on my HP 2730p).

FINAL VERDICT

Leaving stability issues aside, which are somewhat expected so soon after release date, OpenSUSE 11.4 is not a bad release. The KDE 4.6 implementation is stable and responsive, and all applications on board work well. Unfortunately, issues as critical as not being able to install RPMs, having popular applications not running successfully, or missing hardware support when it actually worked on previous versions, may become show stoppers for standard (non-expert) users.

If you like OpenSUSE, I would suggest waiting a few months before downloading/installing. I think many fixes should already be on their way to hopefully provide its great foundation with some much needed reliability.

Thanks for reading!

44 comments:

  1. That may be all well and good, however personally I don't think this is such a great piece of software. I installed it on my laptop, ans acer aspire core2 duo. Rebooted after the installation to a blank screen. Restarted and found the option to boot with failsafe graphic mode. Did so, it told me the installation was not complete. I had to supply another user name and password. Did so, and rebooted, to the same issue.
    I feel that opensuse did not do their utmost to ensure a smooth installation. I'm quite sure that looking under the hood, tweaking this that and the other thing would've given me a workable setup. But that is not the point. This is 2011 folks.

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  2. Thanks for your comment, and yes, I kind of agree. My experience in the last year has been very smooth with almost any distro I have tried... To find one of the big names in Linux providing something this raw is not good.

    Having said so, most distros get the most significant piece of testing when they are released, so things should definitely improve in 2-3 months. Upgrading/installing new distro releases right after they go live is only recommended to the adventurous!

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  3. Hi Chema,

    Nice review - I picked up a few tips reading through it that will help me administer openSUSE 11.4 on my laptop. I was not aware it was so easy to install on an external drive - I'll have to try that out! If you haven't installed it in a VM, you should - amazingly smooth with all the additional VM drivers that are loaded.

    Last time I ran openSUSE extensively was early in the 11.3 release, so that had been over half a year ago, and I found it to be a bit slow for my tastes. I think that was mostly due to a poorly conceived version of KDE. However, I find this release to be very fast - noticeably faster than Ubuntu for me on the same hardware.

    I ran into the same wireless problem as you, in terms of the wireless not connecting to my router despite the drivers being installed. However, the solution was as simple as a restart, and I certainly did not put any more time into it or into trying to figure out the root of the problem. I personally go straight to the openSUSE forums with my problems rather than googling, but I know that the reverse has been true when I've tried to run Ubuntu, as I find the Ubuntu forums to be full of mindless chatter and incorrect solutions. I think when I am running openSUSE, I almost need to train myself to go to the forums first, before starting an endless google-quest.

    All in all, I'm very impressed with the speed in 11.4. I was up and running in no time, and even though I loved the KDE implementation, I installed the Xfce desktop for its lower overhead and I work mostly in that. openSUSE has a wonderful looking Xfce theme - it seems quite well branded throughout. I find it to be much more robust and responsive than either Xubuntu or the Mint Xfce spin. Right now I'm bungling my way through Linux From Scratch on the openSUSE Xfce, and having a hilarious time stumbling over all my horrible command-line habits I've developed over the years. openSUSE 11.4 is definitely up to building Linux From Scratch - but the user? Not so much...

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  4. It was a really good installation for me, bad grapes to you. I am really impressed with opensuse 11.4 . (I have tried around 20 to 30 distros no kidding, and more than 200 installs ,not VM)

    I also have 4312 wireless, not sure if you are aware, broadcom never released 4312 drivers as opensource. Please check and correct your blog. So no major distro (i mean those behind using only free software ) will ship with working 4312 except may be fedora , i ve got them working good since F13.
    Info: my opinion i noticed b43 to work better than STA,no need to install packman, just connect to the net and run
    "/usr/sbin/install_bcm43xx_firmware "

    package manager is not good,GUI wise,and confusing to noobs but does a good job and yast is really excellent ,takes a little getting used to. If you use opensuse long enough, yast is really a delight. Yes its so good.

    havent tried intel HD, but my nouveau driver is fine as with other recent linux distros i have tried.

    skypes all good.

    libpng error is irritating.I agree with you.certain GNOME apps only have issue with that.

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  5. Hi, Andy and thanks for your comments!

    Glad that your experience was less problematic, I guess it all depends on the hardware, and I reckon I purposedly chose a tablet that often struggles to get all hardware configured correctly, but that's what I expect from a distro as big as OpenSUSE.

    I agree with responsiveness, it is the fastest KDE distro I have seen so far, but I am not sure if that has to do with all the improvements that went into the new Kernel and specially KDE 4.6.0. I guess I will have to wait and test other distros with the same Kernel and KDE version to compare.

    You are right about OpenSUSE forums being great, I was impressed!!!

    As for installing on an external USB drive, it's as simple as on an internal hard drive, but there is one catch. You need to disconnect that internal hard drive, or you will get GRUB or Winboot killed by the new installation. When all you have is your USB drive, you are essentially installing on SDA1, so it's all good and fun.

    Regards

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  6. @Anonymous: Thanks for your comments!

    I did try "/usr/sbin/install_bcm43xx_firmware " and a lot more options which didn't work for me, but I didn't want to go that deep in detail because the post would be horrible to read!! ;-)

    I never said Broadcom released 4312 drivers as opensource? What I said is that starting with this Kernel series a new set of Broadcom drivers were made available, including opensource driver B43, and I was hoping I would be able to run my 4312 without adding anything else. I see no reason to correct anything. You can check this link which includes info about what's new in this Kernel series:

    http://www.linux.com/news/enterprise/biz-enterprise/394910:whats-new-in-linux-2637

    As usual, experience really depends on your hardware, and I had no issues running OpenSUSE 11.4 on two of my testing machines. Having said so, the bit I found disappointing is that many of those errors are serious and don't really convey attention to detail, which I expect from a distro this big.

    Regards

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  7. Hello Chema,
    What windeco theme are you using for those 11.4 screenshots? Is this compiz theme run directly, or via smaragd?
    Very eager to know what's the name of it! :)

    Regards,
    Alexander

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  8. Tested the 64 bit architecture Live CDs for both gnome and kde, and preferring the gnome one for its simplicity and fastness, this is, ability to get the job done. kde is too labiryntic and the netbook workspace also shows by default a very small font for whatever you need to read in a small screen. The gnome it is and will be. Now, can you post a tutorial for the damned installation on the external usb hdd? I've been trying it with a buntu but I may be running in some sort of stupid ignorance cause I never make it to go beyond an initial empty purple splash screen, followed by some lines of code and then an empty and still black screen with no further activity in the external drive.

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  9. Well, you just boot into Ubuntu installer with your external hdd plugged in. Set appropriate root partition on that hdd and check whether the grub loader is installed on external hdd, not your locald drive.
    However, if you can't boot in Linux anyway, that's the issue with specific hardware being unsupported, tha't not an issue of hdd.

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  10. Hi Chema
    I also tried the live cd's on my desktop and laptop finding most all worked fine (as it had with version 11.3) including btw secure wireless on the laptop (an HP!) so... grabbed the dvd install and installed on the desktop.
    The first problem was with the Nvidia graphics, dont know what drivers it was trying but made the screen unreadable even though it had the correct pick on the live CD by default. Managed to out guess the installer and rebooted into "failsafe" and everything looked fair even though the screen resolution wasnt optimal and did not offer to let me correct it. Used the system in failsafe graphic last night and even with KDE (Im more of a Gnome) decided I could live with it.
    I had never thought about installing to an external HDD like a previous post here I would appreciate an article on your experience with doing this (on other distros as well).
    It does seem this release is not up to the usually high standard we expect of openSUSE.
    Be Well

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  11. @ atolstoy"
    "However, if you can't boot in Linux anyway, that's the issue with specific hardware being unsupported, tha't not an issue of hdd."

    Well, that may be the problem but when I run it in live mode I can see and work with the desktop, where I'm offered to install the broadcom driver cause without it I'll get no network, and I'm also offered to install the ati driver for 3d enhancements. The issue is, after installing in the external hdd, I can't get the system running to be offered those drivers. And yes, I did a root partition and asked for the installation of grub in the external hdd mbr ... was this silly?

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  12. Thanks all for your comments!

    It seems installation on an external USB drive is interesting for a lot of people, so I will put together a little article to show how I do it.

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  13. Found your blog from Distrowatch. I'm having the same "Wireless Odyssey" as yourself. I had my WMP54GS working in 11.3 after some foul language, now broken. I had gone upgrade path for 11.4 and it killed most everything anyway. Fresh install with 11.4 fixed everything and and broke the wireless. Google, ifup, b43, fw-cutter, 2 hours at the keyboard and more foul language,nothing.... Sadly I don't have a Ph.D in computer science, and I don't really want to replace a network card that works great on my Vista boot, and my butt is sore from sitting at the keyboard. I had a great experience with 11.3 and wanted to continue using 11.4, but I gave it an honest effort. I realize old hardware must eventually be upgraded, I'm just not there yet. Thanks for listening. Fedora anyone?

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  14. It can be frustrating, huh? ;-)

    Well, I am not a Fedora fan, find it too raw myself, but I guess you didn't mention Ubuntu for a reason, so I won't bring it up.

    @atolstoy: That's all Kwin, not Compiz/Emerald. I too am amazed at how much Kwin has improved. Effects are just as smooth and cool as Compiz (although number of effects and flexibility in tweaking is still far off). I simply went into KDE settings > Workspace appearance > Window decoration > Get new themes, then sorted the list by number of downloads or rating. I then picked some I liked from the list, can't remember the name at this stage (I don't have my OpenSUSE hard drive with me now). It should be fine, though, it is extremely easy to pick options from the list thanks to the thumbnails included.

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  15. Oh, and I should have mentioned I found your review a good read, well done.

    Point taken on Ubuntu. I'll probably be able to find more community support as well.

    Cheers!

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  16. I too gave up on openSUSE after fighting the network manager with my Broadcom BCM4312. It works perfectly on anything Gnome, but fails in more than just openSUSE. Also not working properly are Mint 10 KDE, Kubuntu 10.10, Sabayon 5.5....anything with KDE 4.6.1 using the standard network manager. PCLinuxOS works perfectly, but only because it uses a different network manager.

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  17. Thanks for the kind comments!

    I am surprised you are having issues with Kubuntu 10.10 and Mint 10 KDE, both of which successfully worked for me using the BCM4312. I reckon I was using KDE 4.5.5, but I find it hard to believe KDE can actually get in the way here.

    Anyways, You might want to give Pardus 11 a go. It uses GNOME network manager in the back end, so I think that may fly.

    Good luck!

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  18. Great review, i like that you installed on HDD and not just in virtual machine.

    I have an Acer 5741G laptop and Opensuse 11.4 64bit doesn't work on it. It took me 6 attempts to finally install it, because it would always freeze after the install, during the configuration phase (4 times during network config). After configuring everything i decided to do a reboot and the system went straight to the desktop, without asking me for a username and password. I rebooted again and it was the same, runlevel was set to 5, everything was set correctly but it didn't work. I read on how good the new kernel is for the battery life, but for me the battery lasted only 45 minutes, which is ridiculous. Next i tried Ati drivers and was unable to go past grub. After that i tried the KDE version and was unable to install it, downloaded live gnome, kde, checked iso files, checked burnt cds and dvds, everything was OK but it wouldn't start, i had to disable local apic an it froze 4 times during install, so i installed Mint 10 instead. I'm not an ubunu or ubuntu-based fan but it works, the battery lasts 3 hours and 10 minutes with 2.6.37.3 kernel.

    I have Scientific 5.5 and Slackware 12.2 on my PC, it takes time to configure and set up everything to ones liking, but than it just works. I wanted a user friendly distro for my laptop but opensuse is not that. Maybe will try in a few months as suggested.

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  19. Good review, but you failed to touch on the one thing I like most about OpenSUSE. The ease of adding repos. Just go to Yast2 (yes, I agree that it's ugly and doesn't fit into KDE 4.6), package repositories, add, then choose "community repositories" and add until your heart's content. Admittedly they weren't updated correctly on date of release, but they're good to go now. Also, you can go to http://software.opensuse.org/search and search for software, 1-click install and add repos from there as well. Makes it easy to keep an older version up to date in the interim while waiting for a new OpenSUSE release. Also, not shocked you had Broadcom problems. I swear by Intel wifi for a reason!

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  20. hi gang & Chema
    Yeah I forgot to thank you for the review and yes sparking the idea of installing to an external hdd. If time permits keep that idea in mind for future work.
    I do not have time at the moment to try and sort out the problem openSUSE has with the Nvidia card in my desktop (eventhough 11.3 was fine on it and 11.4 Live CD's were good as well.) I had already intended to try Scientific Linux 6 and am installing on the desktop as I write this, will keep you informed.
    Be Well
    Dani

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  21. I have tryed it. My problem was with Yast2 I was not able to find "aMSN messenger" there. Even with all repo activated.
    I must say that the new Pardus 2011 feel more userfriendly. But I suppose power users maybe prefeer OpenSuse.

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  22. Thanks all for your interesting and kind comments.

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  23. aMSN is in Packman repository.
    And regarding the skype-bug it's not really fair to blame openSUSE for skype's inability to specify dependencies.

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  24. Well, the Skype package is available for OpenSUSE 11.1+, so it's been there for a long time. It could have been repackaged correctly and uploaded to a repository by the community, but the option of going back to Skype to request a properly packaged version makes most sense. I can hardly believe they would not do anything if complaints had been there for 2 years, specially considering the impact and size of the Open/SUSE community.

    Yes, Skype is definitely responsible, but I don't think that having such a popular application failing for so long speaks in favor of the Open SUSE community.

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  25. For those who may not be checking my blog homepage, I have published an article describing how I do the external USB installation piece. You can find it here:

    http://cristalinux.blogspot.com/2011/03/install-linux-on-external-usb-hard.html

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  26. Instalé 11.4 Gnome he probado y luego regré a 11.2 gnome + mas rpm

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  27. Keryx alternative please.

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  28. Well I have had worse experiences.

    First
    Model: "nVidia GeForce 7150M / nForce 630M"
    Vendor: pci 0x10de "nVidia Corporation"
    Device: pci 0x0531 "GeForce 7150M / nForce 630M"
    SubVendor: pci 0x103c "Hewlett-Packard Company"

    Will not display until run as console and nvidia repository is added then G02 drivers are added.

    I have not yet been able to run my Broadcom wireless module that worked fine in 11.1 but ssb and wl drivers do not seem to work.
    Model: "Hewlett-Packard Company BCM4321 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN Controller"
    Vendor: pci 0x14e4 "Broadcom"
    Device: pci 0x4328 "BCM4328 802.11a/b/g/n"
    SubVendor: pci 0x103c "Hewlett-Packard Company"
    SubDevice: pci 0x1366 "BCM4321 802.11a/b/g/n Wireless LAN Controller"
    Revision: 0x03
    Driver: "b43-pci-bridge"
    Driver Modules: "ssb"

    Oh yes and NVIDIA 7150 used to work on 11.1 from the vga port to an external monitor using the same driver. Now it does not.

    And I cannot stay with 11.1 now.....

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  29. really thanks for such interesting discussion.

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  30. To see SUSE at its worst, try installing the media codecs. When you finally track them down, they need several new repositories enabling and the dependency resolution breaks down completely. Just to get the gstreamer plugins, you are forced to take everything from the complete KDE desktop (in Gnome!) to a Russian dictionary: 230MB.

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  31. OpenSUSE has had a long history of stability problems after release. This is unfortunate because to me it indicates a lack of thorough testing and QC. Every major review of their new releases contain at least a few paragraphs about stability or config problems. What good is a system if you can't use it? If they spent more time qc'ing their product before release, they would have a rock solid product worth using.

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  32. Wow.. Great review.. I m looking to install 11.4 too..but bit scared.. Many times it kept hanging when i used 11.2.. lets see hopefully the problems are fixed.. Trying out the new version..

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  33. i am using opensuse 11.04 GNOME and in my case its more sable and much quicker than ubuntu.
    And lid switch is working (in ubu 11.04 is not recognized - and there is no solution) OTB.
    All movies,mp3s are working. Hadn't any major dependencies errors etc. There is one major flaw tho - LibreOffice is very slow. Great distribution

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  34. Awesome Review about Openuse, I'll surely install it in my system on Ubuntu 11.04, thanks for such a nice post.

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  35. I CANNOT get my NetworkManager to work at all. Can't get internet connection at all. ifup doesn't work either

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  36. Nice review, although the skype problem is an old and can easily be fixed, however i think it should be added that after the first boot after installation is necesary to configure the network interfaces correctly in order to get an internet working connection, fix the sound problem on pc`s whith multiple sound cards,even if the sound works corectly (and even on those pc`s that have an ati graphic card that suports hdmi).In previous versions of opensuse the network interface didn`t always have to be set, as the network connection was properly configured even on dsl connection,but that didn`t applied for wifi or wirless.And the most annoying fact is that compiz no longer works, and we are stock with the kde fusion compositing manager if the kde desktop is preferred.And there is one more thing, the boot time is even longer on amd machines whith sata drives working on ahci mode.And one more thing , before updating you still should set the repository`s you need, as some applications are not available by default.Doing that will save alot of time when searching for apps you would need.

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  37. Wow, lots of bad luck for people here. I have 11.4 installed on three machines and it works flawlessly. I have it installed on a desktop running an AMD system, with ATI graphics, I have it on an ASUS netbook and I have it running on an HP 6530b laptop. Only stumbling blocks I encountered was Skype on the netbook (but that was an issue in 11.3 as well), and a slight issue with the ATI drivers (but I used them directly from AMD's website vs. using the repositories). However, I have been exclusively openSUSE since 10.0, so I am fairly familiar with the system. One of the things I really liked about the last two releases of openSUSE was that it ran the touch controls on my HP 6530 laptop. In fact, I actually had more problems with those controls in Windows 7 then I did with openSUSE. Guess I just won the hardware lottery with 11.4.

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  38. I have installed OpenSuse 11.4 from the DVD.ISO Gnome version and am very much surprised to find out that several applications included in this release does not even open up. Apps, such as F-Spot - click to open, Icon shows busy and then disappears. Program does not open. To me this is a major flaw. I wanted to buy this version but will not due to the many flaws included in this release. Try to find the problems associated with this version is another problem. There is either no problems reported or OpenSuse is not being honest about it and I feel the later is true. OpenSuse used to be a good build but since Attachmate took over I feel OpenSuse has gone downhill.

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  39. Great article.

    But I have dialup so Google isn't my friend when it comes to large fixup rpms.

    I got the DVD a couple of weeks ago and went from being an ardent SuSE fan to wondering if maybe the developers should USE the system they are developing.

    kdevelop generates TONS of junk in the HOME folder for even simple "hello world" makefile-based apps. Launching kate or kwrite from the commandline spits out tons of error messages that someone should have noticed (and those problems should be solved programmatically, not by adding another "exception" or "work-around").

    Those are KDE issues, but didn't the SuSE guys even notice them?

    kwrite /etc/fstab

    from the commandline. Give it a try. Then try it as su.

    My Desktop still explodes too.

    http://tinyurl.com/69d9d6v/cdab-pixel-mixup.png

    [This is my third attempt to trim this down.. there's just so much to say.]

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  40. First serious try of using Linux. Have been working in the IT industry for 10 years but not with desktops.
    I bought an Intel SandyBridge system with ATI graphics in April.
    Tried OpenSuse 64bit bit back them ,and got nowhere with the install. I read web posts (on another computer) about all the issues.
    Waited until they were reported resolved, then installed OpenSure 11.4 64 bit last week.
    It installed but won't run up Gnome (lack of ATI Graphics drivers). All online forum advice didn't work (perhaps not suitable for 64 bit version).
    Worst user experience ever having to learn bash to try and get my video driver intalled. The experience could hardly be more hostile to the first timer. And I didn't succeed.
    The ATI drivers are a well known issue, so surely someone could have softened the blow a little bit. e.g. I note you have an ATI video card. This installation doesn't have the drivers for this card. Would you like to download them from www...? Y / N

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  41. I am sorry your experience was tough, but I guess it goes down to several factors:

    First thing to keep in mind: NEVER install without running the live image first. In other words, most distros allow for a "try" mode, where you can boot from the LiveCD/USB and check how things work out. That should help you understand whether Linux supports your hardware. Obviously, a bit of research before buying the hardware, if possible, is great to avoid later headaches.

    Second, if you are starting out with Linux, go easy on yourself and pick a distro that truly focuses on providing a smooth user experience for starters. PCLinuxOS, Linux Mint or ZorinOS come to mind. Those will do most of the configuration (i.e., hardware recognition) work for you, as well as providing a desktop that is fully ready to go from the start (even better than Windows in that regard).

    Last but not least, while I agree that a more user friendly approach to unsupported hardware is missing, it is unreasonable to expect that an opensource distro can not only provide access to proprietary software (which could have legal implications), but also keep track of where that software is, if it is safe, etc. Note that we are talking about a community of volunteers here, for the most part.

    Anyways, if you are still in the mood for Linux, please try one of those distros I recommend, I can assure you it will be a more satisfying experience.

    Good Luck

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  42. please let me know if i should download and install opensuse 11.4 kde or dvd version? please

    reallife@hmamail.com

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  43. You mean KDE CD or DVD? If so, I would recommend CD and then take it from there in case you want to add software on top.

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  44. I want to install OpenSUSeE, thanks already to guide how to install.

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