I have said it over and over again, Linux installations needs a Welcome Screen. This would be a huge help for new users who often are not sure where to turn for help, or what Linux is all about. Well, OpenSuSE has one of the closest things to a Welcome Screen that you will find in all of Linux land. This Welcome Screen comes in the form of a KDE Plasmoid (obviously on the KDE desktop). It's not perfect, but it's as close as we've come so far.
In this article I will introduce you to what I consider the OpenSuSE "Welcome Tool". With this tool you can point new users to help as well as gather information about the system the OS is installed upon and start popular applications.
Remember, this "tool" is a KDE plasmoid. Specifically, this is a Folder View Plasmoid. As you can see, in Figure 1, this Plasmoid contains, by default, five icons. These icons are well thought out:
Firefox: The obvious most used browser for the Linux browser.
My Computer: Find information about your computer.
Office: OpenOffice main icon. The most used office suite for Linux.
Online Help: A link to a web page that will point the new user to popular pages for help.
OpenSuSE: Konqueror page that helps the new user get to know Konquer.
Outside of the very obvious (Firefox and OpenOffice), let's take a look and see some specifics about what these icons have to offer.
If you click (single click will do) on the My Computer icon a Konqueror window will open to the page you see in Figure 2. In this page you will find plenty of information about your setup. Not all of this page is interactive. But you can click on the device links as well as the Common Folders and you will be treated to a Konqueror window of those respective views.
With a click of the online help line Firefox will open to the OpenSuSE Help Page. This page offers the following links:
Of these, the most useful are the Web Forums, Mailing Lists, and (from the Documentation Page) the Official OpenSuSE Documentation. I would highly recommend new users first visit the Official Documentation first. And then, as issue occur, go back to the Web Forums and Mailing Lists.
Finally. What you see (in Figure 3) is what should appear on the desktop when a user first logs into their OpenSuSE desktop. Why this is only displayed at the click of a link I will never know. But the OpenSuSE link offers up a welcome screen that gives the user (especially the new user) plenty of information that will help them get started. Within this information is all of the the helpful links in the Folder View Plasmoid. So just get rid of the links and make this window appear upon login. Simple. And, as you can see, this screen also has an introduction to KDE4 - another very helpful tool for the new user (or the new to KDE4 user).
Of all the distributions, OpenSuSE has come the closest to creating that much needed welcome screen for the new user. It's only a matter of time before a distribution wakes up and realizes the importance of this tool. Thank you OpenSuSE for helping to open the eyes of other distributions.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.