openSUSE 12.1 KDE

openSUSE is one of the most popular desktop distros available. This time around it’s version 12.1 that has been released. If you aren’t familiar with openSUSE then you should know that it comes in KDE, GNOME, Xfce and LXDE versions. For this review I’ve picked the KDE version of openSUSE 12.1. I may do a quick look at the GNOME version on Eye On Linux later though.

Speaking of the GNOME version of openSUSE 12.1, I took a quick peek at it to see if the openSUSE had made any significant changes to the dreadful GNOME 3 desktop. Unfortunately, they didn’t though they should have. The Linux Mint developers did a good job on altering the GNOME 3.2 desktop to make it usable; I had hoped the openSUSE developers would do the same. Alas, perhaps they will in the next release. The lack of GNOME 3 tweaks is one of the reasons why I decided to review the KDE version instead.

Okay, enough babble about GNOME. Let’s get on with this review of openSUSE 12.1 KDE.

OpenSUSE 12.1 KDE Desktop
OpenSUSE 12.1 KDE Desktop

What’s New In This Release
Here’s a sample of the new features in this release:

Linux kernel 3.1
KDE 4.7.2

Apper software manager (renamed KPackageKit)
KolorManager + Oyranos (color management tools)

Chromium added to the repositories (but not included in the default install)

Firefox 7

Support for ownCloud including the Mirall tool

Samba 3.6.1
Systemd for booting
Snapper for system snapshot functionality
Sax3 for keyboard, mouse, monitor, touchpad configuration

YaST bug fixes and tweaks
Latest desktop environments

openSUSE comes with Linux kernel 3.1 and KDE 4.7.2. You can find a summary of changes to the kernel here, and the KDE 4.7.2 announcement here. Highlights for the kernel update include better ext4 and btrfs file systems, as well as better memory management and data handling.

Systemd now handles the booting of openSUSE 12.1 and promises faster boot times. I didn’t notice a difference, frankly. But then again I’ve never really cared about boot times when using Linux. For the most part I rarely have to reboot anyway so I don’t really care if the boot time is a few seconds or whatever faster. But your mileage may vary and you may appreciate the inclusion of systemd in openSUSE 12.1.

The Apper software manager replaces KPackageKit in this release. Well actually, it is KPackageKit but it’s been renamed to Apper. I’ll have more to say about that in the software section of the review.


Chromium has been added to the repositories but, unfortunately, is not included as the default browser. For that you’ll find Firefox 7.1. While I still like Firefox, I’ve pretty much settled on Chromium/Chrome as my default browser on all operating systems.

This release also now supports ownCloud and includes the Mirall tool. I have more to say about them in the problems section of the review. Suffice to say though that I don’t think they are very relevant right now for most desktop users.

openSUSE 12.1 also supports the latest KDE, GNOME, Xfce and LXDE desktops. This review covers the KDE version, but you should check out one of the others if you prefer it to the KDE version of openSUSE 12.1.

Snapper lets you manage system snapshots if you’ve used btrfs for your root and home file system. Next, I’ll look at the hardware requirements and I’ll show what the install routine looks like in this distro.

Hardware Requirements & Installation

Hardware Requirements
Here’s what you’ll need to run this distro:
Pentium* III 500 MHz or higher processor (Pentium 4 2.4 GHz or higher or any AMD64 or Intel* EM64T processor recommended)
Main memory: 512 MB physical RAM (1 GB recommended)
Hard disk: 3 GB available disk space (more recommended)

Sound and graphics cards: supports most modern sound and graphics cards, 800 x 600 display resolution (1024 x 768 or higher recommended)

Booting from CD/DVD drive or USB-Stick for installation, or support for booting over network (you need to setup PXE by yourself, look also at Network install) or an existing installation of openSUSE, more information at Installation without CD

The install is easy though not as elegant as Ubuntu’s installer. Newbies should be able to get through it without a problem though. The screenshots below walk you through the install, from beginning to end.

Install 1
Install 1
Install 2
Install 2
Install 3
Install 3
Install 4
Install 4
Install 5
Install 5
Install 6
Install 6
Install 7
Install 7

Booting & Login
Here’s what the booting and login screens look like:

Boot Menu
Boot Menu

The Desktop
When you first boot into your openSUSE 12.1 desktop, you’ll get a welcome message that contains helpful links to information about the openSUSE project, as well as community support and the openSUSE Build Service. If you are new to openSUSE, it’s certainly worth your time to check out some of those links. There’s a lot of helpful information there that will help you learn about openSUSE.

The desktop itself contains icons for Firefox, My Computer, LibreOffice, Online Help and the welcome message.

OpenSUSE 12.1 KDE Desktop
OpenSUSE 12.1 KDE Desktop

Themes & Wallpaper
The wallpaper is vintage openSUSE, with the green colors with a whitish swirl and the openSUSE mascot in the bottom right corner. You can easily change the theme and wallpaper to suit your tastes. openSUSE doesn’t come with much in the way of choice, but it’s easy to go online to get more themes and wallpaper.

Default Wallpaper
Default Wallpaper
More Wallpaper
More Wallpaper
More Themes
More Themes

Admin Tools
System Management

YaST2 is openSUSE’s system manager and it’s a very comprehensive tool. In this release YaST2 has gotten bug fixes and some small improvements. If you haven’t used YaST2 before, take a few minutes and browse around it to get used to its interface. It will be helpful to you later if you decide to change your system and need to make the adjustments in YaST2.

YaST Control Center
YaST Control Center

Bundled Software
Here’s a sample of the software included in this release.


LibreOffice Draw
Gwenview Image Viewer




Software Management
As I noted earlier in the review, Apper is the latest and renamed version of KPackageKit. Apper promises to be faster than KPackageKit and offer greater stability as per the blog of its developer:

First Apper is based on my rework of packagekit-qt which is called packagekit-qt2, and this rework makes Apper much faster than KPackageKit was, the inner details is that we don’t use the huge QSharedPointer for packages and don’t create a bunch of useless stuff unless the user asks, I didn’t measured the time but first time you run it you will surely notice. This also means Apper is more stable since packagekit-qt2 has a cleaner code and a nicer API. Second Apper has several user interface changes and a much nicer integration with KDE.

It’s hard for me to say whether or not there really has been a noticeable speed increase since I never used KPackageKit for very long in the past. I’d be very interested in hearing the thoughts of regular KDE users in the comments below. Let me know if Apper is indeed faster and more stable than KPackageKit was. If so then the developer certainly deserves some praise for improving it.

I do like the fact that the left frame is gone. It makes the interface look a lot better and more cohesive. On the whole, Apper seems to be a good update of KPackageKit.

However, if you are going to install or remove software in openSUSE 12.1 you should use YaST2 instead of Apper. When I tried to install applications using Apper, I got a “simulating the install” message but the application didn’t get installed. I was able to install it via YaST2 though.

It’s potentially confusing to have what seem to be two different software management tools in a desktop distro like this. Newbies might not understand why two of them are included. So if you are going to use openSUSE 12.1, you’re probably better off skipping Apper and just going ahead with YaST2 as your software manager. Just open YaST2 and then click the Software Management icon to get started.

YaST2 Chromium Install
YaST2 Chromium Install
YaST2 Chromium Install Download
YaST2 Chromium Install Download
Chromium Install
Chromium Install
Chromium Install
Chromium Install

Sound and Multimedia
YouTube & Flash
Flash isn’t installed by default so you’ll have to open YaST2 and do a quick search for it in the software management menu. Install it and then restart your browser and you should be able to run YouTube videos, flash games, etc.

YouTube Without Flash
Flash Install
Flash Install in YaST2
YouTube with Flash Installed
YouTube With Flash Installed

Multimedia Applications
openSUSE 12.1 comes with a pretty basic number of multimedia applications. Amarok, K3B, KsCD, and a couple of others are installed by default. Don’t worry though, you can fire up YaST2 to find many more in the Multimedia section of its software management page.

Amarok MP3 Message
Amarok MP3 Message
Multimedia applications in YaST2
Multimedia applications in YaST2

Problems & Headaches
Software management was not a pleasant experience in openSUSE 12.1. I initially tried to install Chromium in Apper. I got some sort of message saying that the install was being simulated or something. Huh? The install never actually seemed to happen.

I gave up on Apper and tried to install it via YaST2. The install seemed to work but I didn’t notice Chromium in the Internet applications menu until after I ran software update and then restarted openSUSE 12.1. The same went for Banshee, it didn’t seem to appear in the menus until after I restarted openSUSE 12.1.

I’m not really sure what the problem was with the software installs, but it was a bit odd to see that happening. Let me know in the comments if you’ve seen anything similar or perhaps I was just cursed this time around with openSUSE 12.1.

One of the more interesting new features is openSUSE 12.1’s support for ownCloud. Part of its support includes the Mirall tool. However, this tool does not seem to be installed by default and there seems to be no easy or quick way to set up ownCloud without it. While I’m happy that openSUSE is supporting ownCloud, what good is it if there’s no easy way for desktop users to use it? You can get more information here about ownCloud and Mirall. Right now I don’t see it as being particularly useful for most desktop users since it’s not installed by default.

The burps above aside, I didn’t notice anything else in the way of problems with openSUSE 12.1. It was stable and relatively speedy for me. I didn’t see noticeable application or system crashes while I was using it.

Where To Get Help
Please take a moment to register for the DLR forum; everybody is welcome. Feel free to post a message in the forum and we’ll do our best to point you in the right direction. The forum contains discussions about Linux, as well as other topics. Please stop by and say hello when you have a chance.

Drop by the forum to get help, talk about Linux or just hang out.

You might also want to check out the OpenSUSE support portal page. You’ll find documentation, a support database, mailing list archives, forums and a link to IRC channels.

Final Thoughts & Who Should Use It
openSUSE 12.1 is a fine desktop distro. The fact that it comes in a range of different desktop environments adds to its appeal. With the exception of the Apper software oddities, it performed very well for me.

openSUSE 12.1 is certainly worth a look if you are looking for an alternative to Ubuntu or if you’re just a curious distro hopper that hasn’t yet used openSUSE.

Beginner, intermediate or advanced users can use openSUSE 12.1. Beginners should take time to familiarize themselves with the system management tools found in YaST2 after installing openSUSE 12.1.

What’s your take on this distro? Tell me in the comments below. Visit Eye On Linux for Linux opinion columns and distro quick looks; visit for other technology coverage. Summary Table:

Product: OpenSUSE 12.1
Web Site:
Price: Free
Pros: Comes in KDE, GNOME, Xfce and LXDE versions. Includes updated Linux kernel, KDE 4.7.2. Mirall tool provides support for ownCloud. Includes Snapper for snapshot functionality.
Cons: Newbies could be confused as to whether they should use Apper or YaST2 for software management.
Suitable For: Beginner, intermediate and advanced Linux users. Support for ownCloud and the Mirall tool will be appreciated by advanced users.
Rating: 3.5/5


40 thoughts on “openSUSE 12.1 KDE

  1. POST-SCRIPTUM: alas, more than 200 windoze running in the networks I manage… No conflicts between win and lin- users. Yet :devil:…

  2. Using openSuSE *in production* for over 5 years in two different companies, one of services, the other in real goods production. LAMP, LAMPA, LMP configs on over 20 servers. No complain. More than 100 desktops all around. No complains either. A little bit of work to be done every day for maintainance, but plenty of time to entertrain.
    You can do whatever you want, but you have to do know what you’re doing! Just go for it!

  3. I was using OpenSuse for quite a while on my laptop and was very pleased with it. The only reason I switched was because of another installation that went wrong and messed up all my partitions. Ended up trying Pinguy and it worked well so I stuck with that. I do fully intend to have another OpenSuse machine in the near future though. Tidy distro!

  4. 12.1 has given me zero troubles on my new hardware.

    In fact, I've used suse since 5.x.

    Great distro with great support.

  5. I switched to it about a day and a half ago, on learning that Kubuntu will no longer be funded by Canonical. I made things painful for myself by switching from the Radeon video driver to the proprietary ATI FireGL driver when I had issues with slow video, but overall SuSE seems pretty solid, and KDE (the window manager providing the friendly user interface with all the pretties) is very stable and very pretty. Incidentally, I should have enabled the hardware acceleration in the Radeon driver rather than switching, but that's history mow, plus I'd like to try gaming via the FireGL driver.

    For anyone who would also like to try this, I should point out that VLC 2.0 has issues with the ATI driver.

    YaST (the admin interface) is possibly nicer for system admins than casual users. It works very well, but the fact that KDE has a settings manager which occupies the same niche as YaST, *will* confuse people.

    Given the choice, I'd probably have stuck with Kubuntu. I think it's a shame that Canonical are dropping support for KDE – I think it's also a mistake, given that KDE has reached a place where it looks good and works well.

    However, SuSE seems more sorted for 64-bit use than Fedora. Hopefully, it will also be as friendly to my few games as was Kubuntu. Fingers crossed.

    1. @Doppelsonnenuhr: Do not switch to openSUSE on account of changing support for Kubuntu. Support is already being picked up by a company who is more serious about KDE than Canonical ever was, so don't worry. Future versions of Kubuntu will have Ubuntu base packages (just as Mint does, and Mint is not owned or managed by Canonical either). The former Kubuntu project leader was hired by this company (and maybe he will reassume leadership duties in some capacity in this company). Read the tech news to find out who.

      openSUSE is decent software, though. I've not had any problems with it. openSUSE 12.2 ought to be out in a month or so; look for it, and testers ought to start testing it soon; there have been at least four or five milestone builds (test cycles) already; it should be getting pretty solid now.

  6. I am an IT professional and have been a MS user since the early Windows and DOS days. It has evolved over the years as all systems have, but following XP it went slowly and surely downhill with Vista, fixes and updates and removed functionality, through to W7 which I really find to be a product of a marketing group rather than a technical one. Anyway, getting to the point, about 5 years ago I started exploring Linux and tried out many of the free distributions until hitting upon Opensuse. I just could not move on from this, I thought Opensuse version 10.3 with Gnome was absolutely brilliant and ended up outing MS on our main machine at home in favour of it (with my wife's agreement, of course!). Reading the Opensuse roadmap online, it seemed like there was a fairly long term development and upgrade strategy and so I was happy with my decision. Then came Opensuse v10.4 and there wasn't enough new stuff there to warrant moving to it. Then v11.0 – in my view half baked and a complete disaster. I chose to cross my fingers and hope that v11.1 when it came out would save the day. It didn't so I clung on till v11.2 and that again was a let down. Then thankfully v11.3 arrived and, hey, it was repaired and working again. Then v11.4 and, as per 10.4, not enough to warrant the change. But…a new dawn then arrived in the name of Opensuse v12.1, very exciting. I downloaded the Gnome version and ran from the live CD, I installed it too in case that was better but no!! They've done it again, the carpet has been well and truly whipped from under our feet. Not only has it completely changed, the continuity gone, but the Gnome interface is absolutely bad, terrible (it would take too long to add a detailed description of why!). In view of past experience, I still cling on to v11.3 in the hope that all will be well again when v12.2 arrives, but having looked at the milestone releases so far, it is still well and truly screwed and it isn't looking good for the future. Let me put this in perspective…I have tonight reluctantly been looking online at the price of a Windows 7 installation DVD. That is sad, isn't it?


    1. @JohnB: I would be interested in knowing what particular things did not work correctly in openSUSE 12.1? I do share some of your experiences; openSUSE 10.3 was one of the finest releases in the earlier series. The one issue that I still had with it was that YAST was in serious need of an overhaul. Too many tasks were done repeatedly, causing the tool to be very slow and redundant in many things that it did.

      openSUSE 11.0 was a disaster; it attempted to fix the things that were wrong with previous versions, but with such a great overhaul, there were things that it did not get right, and it took a while for it to happen. I did not even try it for a while, but when I finally tried Version 11.2, I found that the promised improvements were there and working very well. I've kept a SUSE version on my Lenovo 3000 series Y410 laptop since then. openSUSE 11.4 was excellent in every way.

      openSUSE 12.1 is, in fact, the beginning of another generation of releases. I have not encountered any specific issues with it, but given past history, that does not surprise me all that much.

      What does surprise me is that you would consider dumping Linux altogether, just because a particular implementation of it is up and down in release quality. Have you ever considered instead, trying different implementations that are known, not for racing out with the most rapid releases, at the expense of initial build quality. For instance, have you ever tried out any of the Debian-based versions. Debian itself is extremely stable. SimplyMEPIS is another one. Both are based on the Stable Debian repositories.

      The Debian Testing repositories are a bit more volatile than the Debian Stable repositories, but they still produce some pretty outstanding software. Right now, Debian Stable is called "Squeeze", Version 6.0, and there are security and bug fix updates up to Version 6.0.4. Debian Testing, the future Version 7.0, is called "Wheezy". An example of a great distribution build on Testing is antiX. ZevenOS is another one that I like.

      Debian Unstable, or "Sid", is quite a bit more volatile than either Stable or Testing, so if you like current software, it's worth a look. Debian Sid can be built by veterans, or you can try out the excellent German distribution called siduction.

      The Ubuntu family of distributions are built on a snapshot of either Debian Sid (the six month releases) or Debian Testing (the Long Term Support, LTS) releases every two years, e.g. 8.04, 10.04, and the soon-to-be released April 26 version of 12.04. You would choose Ubuntu if you prefer GNOME desktops, Kubuntu if you prefer KDE desktops, Xubuntu if you prefer Xfce desktops, and Lubuntu if you prefer LXDE desktops. There are many other variations, including an educational version called Edubuntu, a MythTV version called Mythbuntu, and many other derivatives from a variety of sources.

      There are LOTS of other distributions to try before giving up. Slackware is a classic one for software enthusiasts. Like Debian and Ubuntu, it also has many derivatives, each with their own set of characteristics.

      Try out some alternatives before giving up on Linux.

  7. ja

    i checked my brain.

    Whoops made a huge mistake about judging suse.

    downloaded and tried it.

    i take back everything.

    suse is the only true kde distro(64 bit) out there.

    superb job by suse team

    only ultimate edition, suse and sabayon 64bit are flawless distros –in that order. 😆 😆

    more than impressed with the speed, stability and ease of use –beats ubuntu

    though lacks and has solely wireless broadcom chipset problems.


    :w00t: :w00t: :smile:


  8. Please tell me why a person who says they hate a disto would go to a web site that has a view on a ditro they hate, read it, tell everyone else how bad they hate that distro. Aren't you sure u hate it? Do u hope u will get someone to agree with u? Do u think if someone else likes it and puts it on there computer that it is going to jump off screen and kill them and u just r trying to save there life. Got a idea, if your opinion isn't helpfull then save it. See my opinion is helpful, I spend alot of time sitting at this computer and u r making the thing I sit on hurt.

  9. Hi Kartik,

    Dual; boot Windows-OpnSUSE. I have dual boots with Win XP-OpebSuse and Win Vista-OpnSuse. 1. Yo have a Windows-installation on your hd already. 2. Do a chkdsk on your Windows partition (mostly station c;)to solve somje incosistencies in the filesystem. If there are inconsistenencies many times OpenSuse refuses to install. 3. Do defragmentation on the Windows partition. 4. Download partitionmanager GParted, burn a live-cd and boot your computer with it (change boot sequence in your BIOS to your dvd/cdrom station). GParted has a clear graphical UI. 4. Just slide the Windows partition to the right (decrease the partition) till the extend of your choice. 5. Delete the right part on the hd. That will be the part of the hd OpenSuse will write partitions on. 6. Boot your pc with the OpenSUSE live dvd and choose New Installation and after that automatic configuration. 7. OpenSuse installer automatically will write partitions on the free disk space. Your hd will now be called sds, the Windows partition is sda 1, the whole Linux-partition is sda2 extended, the OpenSUse system partition will be for instance sda 6, the Home partition (comparable wit the folder Documents and Settings in Windows)is sda 5 and the swap partition sda 7 (all as an example). 8. Windows partition (c:Windows) will be mounted automatically the same way as the Linux-partitions. 9. Once the installation is done and OpenSUSE has done its system and hardware configurations, change the boot sequence back to your hd and rfeboot. 9. Have fun with OpenSUSE and Windows.

  10. can any body tell me to dual boot open suse 12.1 with windows 7…i have tried it once and was stuck at the partitioning of the hard disk….it was too cumbersome…

  11. I think it's a well balanced review, but as with any review experiences always are a little bit different and more or less a little bit subjective. I use OpenSUSE since version 10.2 and I prefer this distro because of its splendid inplementation of the KDE desktop, in my view the best and most eye candy desktop existing in the Linux world.

    Also with version 12.1 the install went very smooth and easy. I always use the OpenSUSE.NET install which – in my experience – goes faster overall than from the live-dvd. Once you have imported the right third party repositories and installed the restricted format packages for multi media, you are done and you have a nearly endless warehouse of software at your disposal.

    In my experience there are many excellent applications available in the productivity, graphics and multimedia sectors.For instance the latest version of Digikam is great, like KdenLive, K3b and of course the state of the art office suite LibreOffice. Well, too much to mention.

    While the Suse-community preaches the startup of 12.1 is faster thanks to systend, that's not my experience. On the same machine the startup is much slower than with OpenSuse 11.4. But the shutdown is faster. Meanwhile the startup of most applications is faster in 12.1 than in 11.4. While every new version of KDE grows heavier, 12.1 doesn't use more memory than 11.4. At least on my machine.

    Apper is faster than KPackageKit, but I prefer YAST2 for updates and installations. Not because Apper isn't good, but all those updates when you're busy with your work is rather annoying. So I disabled the automatic startup of Apper. Nevertheless I think especially for newbies, or users who don't like scrolling through YAST2, Apper is a very handy update- and install tool.

    What I personally don't like is the default install of KMail, Kontact and Addressbook. Cause I don't like KMail. It's too many times too buggy. As I use Thunderbird I would prefer a default install of this mail client. And with its extensions Lightning and Exchange 2007/2010 you have a match with MS Outlook (sorry I mention Microsoft) and MS Exchange server.

    Concerning third party software I think the Suse community entered a bit confusing domain. I understand the idea behind it and I appreciate the efforts, but in the good old days of Packman I was sure the packages worked and I had people to refer to. Not so with the OBS developpers yet. The one click installs are comfortable, but in many cases the installed packages are orphaned because there are no default repositories for them. So any time I think there could be a newer version, I first have to look in the OBS. I might be wrong and if there are proper repositories for the OBS I would like to hear it.

    A last remark that – in fact – concerns all Linux-distro's. I think the OpenSUSE community should ditch command line-only applications. I can assure you no average end user will ever use the command line. Especially in the modern world people are visual oriented. Using the command line makes no sense at all. Still some developpers and open source diehards don't understand that. Also the chit chat in OpenSUSE-forums about how to solve simple problems with the command line, the zypper idiotism and the command line fetishism in the manuals of the KDE handbooks should be abandoned. No normal end user is helped with the command line.

    But to summarize: OpenSUSE is far better, more secure, more stable and more sophisticated than Windows.

  12. I tried the app yesterday and I like it a lot – mainly because of its ability to easily recognise my 3G modem stick.

    Otherwise, openSUSE seems to be a fun OS, everything just works

  13. Hello friends

    what is the main difference between redhat,opensuse,ubuntu,and freebsd. If anyone know please tell me tomorrow is my interview on open suse, and I am RHCE so i dont know more about the suse linux.

    please help me.

    thanks in advanced.

  14. I love openSuse.the best distro out there period,I would use it as a replacement for windows 7 but I dual boot because of the crappy fglrx drivers for linux.The fact of the matter is that no distro can match yast,I read that a lot of people don't like yast and I don't understand is yast some kind of a widget to like?No it's an administration tool that does it's job even better than Mandriva Control Center.OpenSuse is desktop agnostic and it doesn't matter if it's lxde,xfce,gnome or kde,can be turned into a rolling release,can be left stable for a long period of time and is more stable than ubuntu or fedora!That's that;Oh and I'm really annoyed on those people that have idiotic misconceptions of openSuse because of that Microsoft-Novel patent deal,that's stupid,is that a community fault? :pinch: :pinch:

  15. @ lmartin92:

    Would you mind sharing a little more info about your centralized login server? I'm looking to set up the same thing, but LDAP seems pretty complicated (writing ldif files, etc.).

    Thanks in advance!

  16. I was a linux noob untill maybe a year ago. Then I summoned the courage to get me a ubuntu 10.10 cd (they used to distribute it for free,remember?) and my journey with Linux began. I soon tried out mint (then it was a xerox of ubuntu),mandriva,fedora,redhat4 and 5,Centos,pclinuxos,slackware(I got sacred!), arch,chakra,magia(or megia! whatever..the newest mandriva fork!) and finally openSUSE 11.4 and I have looked no further. (I do play around with distros that cathches my fancy. but opensuse 11.4 is THE os of choice now)

    I did try 12.1 when it got out and I too had a few troubles. I have noticed that it runs ok on ancient configurations, but stammers on new machines. (I think repositories aren't ready yet!)..

    And I thank Mr. Lynch for the review, though I disagree on a few accounts :) (freedom of opinion eh? 😉 )

  17. Hi Bill,

    YAST, or YAST2, is a great example of a really powerful tool, which, in my estimation, while powerful, is unnecessarily complex. It and KDE go well together – great tools, but quite a bit over the top.

    Two other comments: though a determined novice COULD handle openSUSE, it is just too complicated overall to seriously consider for first time use. It is easy enough to install, I just feel it is too complicated to manage.

    The openSUSE releases that usually work best are the second, third, or fourth updates to a major release. They "cheated" here, making it look like 12.1 is an update, only there is not a 12.0, just an 11.4 that was VERY good, followed by a couple of spins – Tumbleweed, for one, which is excellent.

    @ Bill Julian:

  18. Thanks Jim! I do not have 12.1 on yet, that probably will happen this week. I think 11.4 is a very fine KDE release so we'll see how 12.1 measures against that.

    Suse always seems to build unnecessary complexity with its software management and I really do not know why they do not just do YAST and have done with it. I assume that might be because if people install KDE they get the entire package like it or not. In Suse YAST seems to me the better tool by far. Kpackagekit by whatever name will not be mourned.

    You did not mention it but new users should be alert to the fact that Suse maintains a very active and very helpful forum for new people.

    I do prefer Debian and Debian-based systems but Suse does a fine KDE. It deserves a look to be sure.

  19. Thanks for the review, Jim. I downloaded openSUSE 12.1 a week or two ago and ran it live, but I have not yet installed it. Instead, I have been experimenting with the Tumbleweed Repositories that have been installed over openSUSE 11.4, the first time I can recall the openSUSE project offering a rolling release repository, and it has been very good.

    In fact, openSUSE has been very good since about Version 11.2. Starting at Version 11.0, some major improvements were made, but it took a few updates until it settled down. But by Version 11.2, it was really good, and I'd consider Versions 11.2, 11.3, and 11.4 to be some of the finest full featured, general purpose distributions available.

    I have not really had a lot of time to either experiment with the Live version or install the new version, but based on my limited time with openSUSE 12.1, and also with the Tumbleweed repositories, I'd say this will be a solid release. If past performance is any indicator, you may want to wait one more incremental update before jumping from 11.3 or 11.4 to the Version 12 release series, but based on my preliminary tests, that may not be an issue this time around. Try it live first and see what your impressions are. If there are issues, grab 11.4 instead, add the Tumbleweed repos instead and use only stable, rolling release updates; they seem to be well tested and well proven.

  20. @ rishidev:


    take a second to check your brain. Did you just say that OpenSuSE has nothing unique to offer ? How about a stable and reliable OS which is way better than RedHat or Ubunutu IMHO.

    Why bother with anything else ? I have been using it since SuSE 4.1 and there is no other distro which comes close.

  21. For no clear reason Opensuse is one of my favourite Linux distribution, also Fedora is one of them. I always come back to Opensuse after I have played with Ubuntu and the rest. Opensuse 11.1 and 11.3 are good. Unfortunately 11.1 is now in its end of life. The newest version 12.1 is rather nice.

    Gnome 3.2 is much better than Ubuntu's Unity. KDE bores me after Ten minutes and I have rather the Gnome Desktop. Opensuse is in fact the best Linux out there however in case one is not used to it it may be a bit difficult. In no time one can set up all the codecs one need for playing flash, mp4, mp3 and god knows what we have more.

    The good thing about Suse (Novell, or rather was Novell) is that it is very flexible and plays very nice in a mix environment.

    Who ever needs a good and flexible Desktop or Laptop system I can only recommend Suse or Opensuse.

  22. openSUSE was never really a distro for newbies who are overly shy about exploring the OS. Unlike Ubuntu, lots of things are not taken care of automatically. Granted, it is still nowhere near as convoluted to get help as with pro distros. openSUSE has a great wiki, great community and even has very extensive handbooks as nicely done free of charge PDFs.

    It's easy to set it up, but requires some additional reading.

    What openSUSE tries to do though is to give everything but the kitchen sink, and users of newer novice grade operating systems, such as MacOS, Ubuntu or Windows Vista/7, feel intimidated by having e.g. 2 control centres or 2 software managers. Others who grew up when SuSE was in its heydays and when people used to install loads of applications on their pre-Windows XP machines, will certainly appreciate that.

    To sum it up: A good distro for intermediate and pro users, but also good for novices who are not shy or put off by learning new things. For the rest, there are the various Ubuntus, Linux Mint, Mandriva and Mageia, as well as loads of others.

  23. @Lazy

    Yes, there is a point in the line where we branch. Basically, instead of doing a reinstall, I did a repository switchup and manual distro upgrade on all 6 computers. Ya'll are confused about apper and printer support. We simply don't use apper because I manage the update aspect of such, I've got all codecs relevant preinstalled, printer support is as simple as hplip, and yast was only used during initial configuration. Basically I guess what I should have said is with 11.4 the release is strong and easy to use. I don't know about 12.1 because I did no do a clean install but judging from the comments it means that in the general sense, someone should set it up for a new user.

    @Christian, Lazy

    I haven't had any KDE crashes, strigi crashes or general problems that way.


    Sorry, I don't use yast and and since I manage the update aspect of using our computers no one else in the house does either which means I could not give a review on that. 11.4 is strong and I remember it well since it is what I started on, but I did not reinstall to get 12.1, just manually upgrade so I have no idea at that point I do believe


    Arch is actually not as difficult as you give it credit for, in actuality, it is very simple and easy. I used to know nothing but Ubuntu, or Mepis and I switched right straight off into gentoo and was easily super confused at that point and switched straight back to ubuntu. This is all around the year of 2005/2006 (maybe earlier). I then switched between many distros and then fell in love with Arch. Truthfully, all you have to do with it is learn a little, then you will know a lot. I also find its wiki helpful as far as doing LVM setups on any distro. Basically what I'm saying is don't turn down Arch just because it looks hard from the outside, if you see a benefit it provides go for it, it's not as hard as it looks.

    Oh, and finally,


    If you'd like wireless login before actual login, you could decide to not use NetworkManager and go with the Yast configuration of it, or maybe Wicd (I used to use it until I did manual configurations of such).

    Well, everyone, sorry for the scrambled thoughts post. It's for one the way I think, and for two, I just woke up. I do like that ya'll tried it before you commented and that's why I do believe from what you all have said that maybe others should start at 11.4 or have someone manually setup 12.1 for them. I may roll out a vm and test 12.1 that way soon, so I can see the experiences you all have went through, but as far as 11.4 I know it to be strong.

  24. @ lmartin 92 You are a power user, so you will not have the same experience as a noob. I found this Opensuse version to be hard to set up also. I was confused about Apper and Yast, which one had the media codec and printer support. Before i could download that, the repo update didnt go though properly. The KDE indexing thing crashed alot. Most my issues were solved using the command line with help from the forums. If the answer to a problem is to go the command line, then tuhe distro is not for beginners. Know that everything is set up, it works fine. If i wanted this much set up pain i would use Arch.

    1. Well, most commercial software isn’t going to be for noobs to begin with. This is a fork of Suse that is Novell. If you want something stupid simple get ubuntu/kubuntu or LinuxMint. I have been using Linux mint for about 3yrs with the Gnome desktop. I wondered to Opensuse 12.1 KDE. I really like KDE and Opensuse. It wasn’t simple easy but after a few days of playing around and tinkering I learned my way around. This doesn’t have training wheels but if you need help us Google!

  25. Have not upgraded yet as am very happy with 11.4, and have things setup just the way i want. But have been testing 12.1 and the only issue that i found that bugged me are that the wireless network does not log in automatically. Did do an upgrade of kde to 4.7.3 but that did not solve the issue :( Another thing is that in dolphin if you want the menu bar back, and you click on the spanner on the top right and then click on show menu bar, dolphin crashes, but if you use the keyboard shortcut, it works. :wassat:

  26. I'm fan of Opensus, 11.4 got me off the "buntu's". BUTT !!!!!! This 12.1 release is not complete. The initial set up is a pain in the butt. The repositories and update process were buggy. YAST is painfully slower than 11.4. Default video player crashes. SpiderOak, DropBox, and HP printer set-up was not a easy process. This issues were on both KDE and Gnome. 11.4 is miles ahead of this release. 11.4 got me off the "buntu's".

    I would not recommend this to a newby. The everything works out the box mind set, is lost with this release.

  27. @rishidev

    It is sad you wrote it off just because of one bad release. I'll just let you know that I use it personally on over 6 computers and have set up a centralized logon/storage server using it just for my house that is working extremely nicely. Arch Linux (which you mention) as well as Gentoo are both rolling release distributions and with OpenSuse Tumbleweed (which is what I use) you get the same. I need rolling release and before hand I used Arch for that matter, however I could never get a centralized login server to work in it so OpenSuse provide me with the best options of the two. On top of that, OpenSuse is a great distribution, very flexible, has great tools, and I like that (even though this is less so than Arch) it doesn't hide away a lot of the details of configuration, making it a sophisticated, accomplished, workable, and extremely useable distro. As far as unique, there are plenty of things OpenSuse does different if you are willing to look for them, however it deviates little from the standard that most use.

    I'll put it yet another more simple way. My mother who can ruin a computer by touching it has used this on her computer for over a year no problem. I on the other hand am a power user, I use a non-standard (not as well known as the other DE's and WM's) window manager (awesomewm). I use it to program, I've compiled android for my phone in the very same system. I run several vm's as servers and use the computer, the installation itself, as my desktop. There is nothing yet that I have found that OpenSuse can not do for me. If you say windows can do more, I'll just look at you and ask you how much more can it do for me that is actually relevant to me. If you say another distro can do more, I beg to differ, all distributions can do about as much as the next due to all you have to do is be willing to dabble around and compile stuff if it's not available prepackaged. However, all the software I use, excluding the tools I create (and don't get use outside of my home), come as little precompiled binaries readily under OpenSuse.

    You mention you used it four years ago. I suggest you revisit it and make a more educated comment and a more educated decision instead of judge it by its past. Everything progresses and becomes better, even though there are a few regressions here and there. I remember when I first tried OpenSuse it was slow and there were multiple reasons I hated it but that did not stop me from trying it again when I decided single sign on centralized login was a must. When it has outserved its purpose I won't hesitate to look for another distribution that does equally as well and everything I need, but until then, OpenSuse is doing everything I ask it within common sensibility with no problems. Unless you are doing something extremely estoric, it should give you no problems, and if you are, you should either already know what you are doing and how to do it or be willing to learn it and implement it in any environment presented you.

    For an up to date, sophisticated, easy to use, and not hard to configure when you want to get down to the nitty gritty distro, I have no problem recommending OpenSuse to anybody.

  28. :blink: :w00t: :dizzy: :cwy: :tongue:

    opensuse is probably the worst linux distro ever.

    tried it four years ago when it released was ok the next version thereon just sucked.

    dont even know why they bother to make such a useless distro with nothing unique about it. freebsd, arch, gentoo, ubuntu, slackware etc are all unique and each linux or bsd is nothing like the other— its like using an operating system made by 2 different manufacturers.

    if they stop making suse — will be a relief and reduce the variety bloat.

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