Review: openSUSE 11.4 - gHacks Tech News

Review: openSUSE 11.4

I have to admit, over the years I haven't given openSUSE enough love or credit for being the outstanding Linux distribution is it. With that said, I wanted to give some attention to the latest release coming out of the openSUSE project. And, since the default desktop for openSUSE 11.4 is KDE, I will be giving a little extra attention to the KDE desktop. Since both might well gain some serious ground, when Ubuntu 11.04 is released, it will be nice for users to not only know of its existence, but to also know that openSUSE 11.4 is, in fact, a solid distribution worth giving a look.

What's new?

There is a lot to be said in this category. The openSUSE 11.4 release offers the following updates:

KDE Plasma Desktop 4.6: openSUSE might well be the first distribution packaging the most recent KDE desktop by default. Although KDE 4.5 probably brought to the users the single most amount of bug fixes ever, 4.6 does a great job of upping the performance ante once again. KDE 4.6 is an incredibly solid desktop that any user would be happy to have as their default.

You will also find better KDE to Firefox integration in the 4.6 release. As well KPackageKit has become the default update applet.

Web browsers: Speaking of Firefox, openSUSE 11.4 ships with Firefox 4.0 and the latest release of Konqueror (The version of Konqueror installed is the Webkit version.)  But don't think you are limited to those two browsers. You can now easily add Chromium to your desktop through the Add/Remove Software tool! Before you try to add Chromium, you will have to enable to community repos by following these steps:

  1. Open YaST2.
  2. Click on Configuration.
  3. Select Repositories.
  4. Click the Add button.
  5. Click Community Repositories and click Next.
  6. Check Main Repository (Contrib) and click OK.

Now you can search for Chromium and install it.

Office tools: I was pleasantly ssurprised to find LibreOffice pre-installed on openSUSE 11.4. I believe openSUSE might be the first of the distributions to ship with LibreOffice as the default office suite! You will also find the standard KDE office tools along side LibreOffice.

Multi-media: Banshee 2.0 has been added and is used as the default media player in openSUSE. In order to have this on your desktop by default, you will need to download the full DVD install and not the Live CD. If you do install from the Live CD you will be able to install Banshee from YaST2 by simply searching for "banshee" (no quotes) and installing. I would, however, suggest installing from the full DVD, in order to get the complete openSUSE experience.

Over all take

I have to say I was quite pleased with how well openSUSE runs. Not only is it quite stable, it's also lightning fast. The only problem I came across was with the effects engine. The machine I tested on is able to use all visual effects in both Ubuntu and Elive, but openSUSE seemed to not be able to run KDE with visual effects running. So effects had to be turned off. Outside of that small issue, the experience with openSUSE 11.4 has been quite good.

Who's it for?

Would I recommend openSUSE for a new Linux user? No. But if you are comfortable in the Linux environment, openSUSE and KDE 4.6 will be a welcome change. If, however, you are a new user who really wants to cut their teeth on something with a bit more power than Ubuntu, openSUSE might be just the distro you are looking for.

 

 

 





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    Comments

    1. Pejeno said on March 13, 2011 at 10:13 pm
      Reply

      “If, however, you are a new user who really wants to cut their teeth on something with a bit more power than Ubuntu, openSUSE might be just the distro you are looking for.”

      What makes you think Ubuntu is an underpowered linux distro? I’m just curious, not a troll.

    2. David (GNU/Linux supporter) said on March 13, 2011 at 10:41 pm
      Reply

      @ Pejeno

      One might well feel that Ubuntu has veered towards making a significant number of decisions that dumb down the user interface…decisions made with a view to ease of use but that make their distribution less suited to a more advanced/demanding user who might require access to “expert” options which tend to be far easier to access in some other distributions. Sometimes non expert users need these expert options and can’t get at them easily so don’t discount this on the basis of not being an expert user.

      @ Jack Wallen

      I’d advise a note of caution if opting to add MONO based software such as Banshee…I’m sure you know the issues relating to MONO all too well . It’s personal choice, obviously, but as KDE is clean of MONO adding it to such a system should be flagged up surely. KDE’s Amarok is an excellent alternative and does not come with these issues. I would go so far as to add mononono http://tim.thechases.com/mononono/ with use of alien for the conversion so as to make sure that MONO doesn’t intrude on my QT experience.

      1. FD said on March 17, 2011 at 6:11 am
        Reply

        @ Jack Wallen

        Just curious. Have you done the mononono install on an rpm distro with a recent mono distribution? (specifically openSuse 11.4 or 11.3)

        What do you mean by “adding it to such a system should be flagged up surely”? (english is not my first language)

    3. David (GNU/Linux supporter) said on March 13, 2011 at 11:00 pm
      Reply

      BTW I wish that Samba were in the default configurations of openSUSE and Fedora.

    4. Low Kian Seong said on March 14, 2011 at 6:34 am
      Reply

      The upgrade sucked though. A fresh reinstall was very easy. My initial findings:

      http://blog.lowkster.com/2011/03/opensuse-114-quick-disappointed-look.html

    5. darkmac said on March 14, 2011 at 11:02 am
      Reply

      I dont get it. Why you dont recommand opensuse 11.4 to a new linux user??? I mean … maybe you do not recommand any distro to a “new linux user”. Why opensuse 11.4 specific?

    6. David (GNU/Linux supporter) said on March 15, 2011 at 4:31 pm
      Reply

      @darkmac

      Some distributions have chosen to make appeal to new users one of their main (perhaps even the main) objective when constructing their releases while many more have somewhat different emphases in their target audience selections. openSUSE could, certainly, appeal to a new user but its learning curve is often considered to be steeper than those distributions who place appeal to new users as a higher emphasis in their thinking.

      Mind you it is also true that starting with distributions such as openSUSE isn’t a bad move in that you are much less likely to then have to change distributions should you need a more workhorse system and thus not have to relearn interfaces for the common tasks.

      As you can see it boils down to subjective argument in many cases…not that I’d consider suggesting, say, Arch for a newbie…in cases such as that there are clear and obvious challenges.

    7. Ron Hyatt said on April 10, 2011 at 6:45 am
      Reply

      Ubuntu isn’t really linux, it’s a hodge-podge of deviations from standards, much like Windows. There. pissed everyone off in 1 sentence.
      /thread over

    8. sully said on May 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm
      Reply

      Go FreeBSD!!!

    9. nkspro said on June 7, 2011 at 4:19 am
      Reply

      well, pardus was the first distro to include libreoffice. Opensuse might be second.

    10. suman said on June 16, 2011 at 10:21 am
      Reply

      you say opensuse 11.4 is user friendly….but i find it otherwise
      1. firefox 4.01 is not able to play tube videos
      2. banshee is not able to play mp3…i have to find ways to install vlc for that
      3. there are other problems for which absolutely no or meagre help resourses on and offline

      1. Dave said on June 30, 2011 at 9:57 am
        Reply

        @suman

        1. False. Install Flash Player.
        2. False. Install the restricted extras.
        3. The article says its not for new Linux users – which is true. It sounds like you need Ubuntu which makes things (like the two above points) obvious and easy. For people with more Linux experience 11.4 is an exceptional distro.

    11. Fred Sweet said on July 15, 2011 at 2:34 am
      Reply

      Yea well I have been using Linux distros for some time now and I am now going to try out the new Open Suse but before I have to do a major back track or go digging for drivers like I have had to do with Suse so many times before. (Main Reason I have had a boiling hatred for it) I worked in a war-zone and well that being enough said limited net usage. I just want to know if I go and start installing this on soldiers computers before they go they can use wifi, Ethernet, and watch movies and listen to MP3s/4s; WMAs, etc before I send them out. I had too many problems before and I cannot be there to hold their hands on the learning curve.

    12. John Bowling said on August 12, 2011 at 9:38 pm
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      II’ve used Suse and openSUSE for years, with KDE3, and have had all kinds of problems since KDE4, thourgh several versions of openSUSE including 11.4.

      I just switched to XFCE and went from 10 to 30 seconds opening a file to less than 2 seconds.
      All of those CRAP fancy stuff to look more like Windows 7 is just that: CRAP!

    13. sri4phy said on December 21, 2011 at 4:40 am
      Reply

      If you don’t have proper driver, unity in UBUNTU 11.10 crashes after installing Compiz. After wasting lot of time in installing proper graphic driver for 2nd gen., Intel i7 2720Qm processor HD GMA 3000, I decided to use other Linux distros. In my case OpenSUSE12.1 has all the required drivers for my notebook.

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