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The behemoth awakens! openSUSE 10.2 review (phase 3): ready to work January 9, 2007

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in First Impressions, How-To, Linux, OpenSUSE, Recommendation, Reviews, Ubuntu, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.

Earlier I had written the installation review of openSUSE 10.2. I really enjoyed installating through the DVD (all the pleasures of a single CD with the power of a multi-CD distro). openSUSE was quite fun, and only a little painful, to install. that was PHASE ONE (1).

Then I started configuring, changing the desktop… making it green… ultimately moving away from GNOME and setting down with KDE. Man, it’s such a luxury… and so much fun to configure. The screenshots of the results of my configurations are here. Still in PHASE TWO (2), I opted for the tougher task of changing the bootsplash image/background from gross spiral blue to cool spiral green. I really struggled here… and faced minimal success, ie. my boot background as changed… but the grub image is still blue… and the login manager is still blue. Process is found here.

Finally, I’m ready to move to PHASE THREE (3), which is getting set to work.

openSUSE 10.2 is turning out to be an excellent distro. Very flexible yet a little advanced for beginners. However, I don’t think there’s anything here that a lot of patience and plenty of eye strain (working on the comp) won’t fix.

1. Setting up network. I really didn’t know how to do it… and of course when to YAST and went into network, pressed SAMBA, NFS whatever, but I was thoroughly confused and frustrated and no result. I knew in Ubuntu it seemed simpler… but I had a feeling it was possibly the same for openSUSE too, though I didn’t know how. I found out that in “My Computer” application (in the Menu there is a “My System”) there was a network folder option, where I could “add a network”. Ah! There it was. I clicked it, went to windows network, I put in the server details which I got from my system administrator, and after entering the password I had network access!

Problems? I need to enter the password each time I open the folder afresh. (not just logging on). But for now, that’s something I’m willing to live with.

2. Printer access. With network access I of course added the printer… my HP LaserJet 1320n. The drivers (yes there are HP drivers! in both openSUSE and Ubuntu!) were of 1320 and not 1320n… but because it did work in Ubuntu, I just chose 1320. However, unlike Ubuntu, openSUSE had three (3) HP 1320 drivers (two of them postscript). I of course tested all three… and chose one postscript printer driver. Ironically, just like the time I worked with Ubuntu and our office printer was not working properly (toner), the same problem is going on right now. Because the printouts of both Windows and Linux were coming light. I don’t know whether openSUSE will allow me to print in non-economy mode. But I really need this! (latest update: It works! It works! I got it to print in non-economy mode through driver options. Wow I almost have the perfect system)

3 . Setting up email. In Ubuntu I was using evolution, somehow I never warmed up to Thunderbird. Then, in openSUSE I really struggled to get evolution to work. I put in my settings etc… and struggled for a few hours… my password was just not being accepted. I felt that evolution did not give me enough access to modify/test port settings so I decided to install and try in Thunderbird. Guess what? Same problem. I was impressed with Thunderbird. I liked it’s power/options… but email was just not working. Then suddenly on Thunderbird I realised that I may have entered my username differently (with the @server.com address). And this time it did work. By then, I was sold out to Thunderbird and promptly made it my default email client. It lacked a calendar, but I installed the Lightining extension (it adds a calendar)… which is functional, but not that great. However I had faced problems with Evolution’s calendar, so this is not so bad I guess. I think I need a more mature calendar tool… which the time/calendar button on the Linux bar was more functional… actually like an app that could keep journal entries and appointments etc.

4. (ps). working with GIMP. I’m a photoshop user. And I’ve been really frustrated with GIMPS loose menus. eeeks! However, I was able to do some constructive work (editing my splash images) on GIMP and so warmed up to it a little (just a little). It’s not that mature of a program as I would want (I guess it competes with Corel’s PhotoPaint or something), but it’s a start. And that’s good.

5. Lenovo z60m Thinkpad integration. While there is some setting in openSUSE that is especially for ThinkPads, I wasn’t able to get it started because it says some module needs to run and I have no idea what it means (see what I mean by hardwork needed?… more time spent on forums). Still, openSUSE has done well on my Lenovo. It has recognised my graphics drivers (though 3D drivers are not installed). Then, it has done well in battery checks… and has automatically protected itself (shut down) when required. However, it’s suspend and restore has sometimes been shaky… but then, so has MS Windows (though Windows has been pretty reliable). Also, openSUSE’s hibernation feels a little sluggish… but more importantly, when I boot up again, it restores only to SUSE. In contrast, when I hibernate on Windows or Ubuntu, a system restarts always to the GRUB menu and I can choose which hibernated system I want. that said, even the hibernation restore in openSUSE is imperfect. For instance, just now I restarted from hibernation and the network connection was lost. I had to pull the cable and attach it again. Yes there are work-arounds… but I guess to be nit-picky… there are avenues for improvement.

Verdict: As I begin to work with openSUSE 10.2… I repent from all the evil things I may have said about earlier versions of openSUSE. I must admit that I would rather be using openSUSE than Ubuntu. I still haven’t hacked openSUSE yet… ie. made it multimedia friendly. But that is partly because it’s repository handling is still a little heavy/clunky… plus, I don’t mind working with multimedia codecs for a while. my DVDs can wait… they’re not going anyway. (And still this Lenovo is a work notebook… and my multimedia needs are met with my Desktop). So, openSUSE 10.2 is turning out to be an excellent distro. Very flexible yet a little advanced for beginners. However, I don’t think there’s anything here that a lot of patience and plenty of eye strain (working on the comp) won’t fix.

For another opinion (vastly better than mine) see this page.

Yet another (wordpress) opinion on openSUSE.



1. OpenSUSE 10.2 (DVD) installation review: (I’ll never use 5-CDs again!) « Tryst with Linux and other Alternatives - January 11, 2007

[…] (latest update: this is phase 1 of my openSUSE review. Phase II is configuration and settings details which are scattered across posts later posts. The phase 3 review of how I have found starting to work with openSUSE is found here in this post.) […]

2. sjb - January 11, 2008

Have you managed to update gimp to 2.4 from the 2.2 on the installation DVD? I’ve been having many-a-head-scratching moment trying to sort it out and would appreciate any pointers.


3. NAyK - January 11, 2008

To SJB: Sorry, I didn’t even try. I usually accept the default programmes and then update through yast. Because I’ve been having some problems with 10.3… I haven’t really tried to update recently. Sorry I couldn’t help.

4. sjb - January 13, 2008

My fault really, saw January 2007 and read it as 2008 ;)

Will get it sorted eventually…

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