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Goodbye openSUSE. Hello Linux Mint. January 8, 2009

Posted by Nigel Ajay Kumar (NAyK) in Confessions, Linux, Linux Mint, OpenSUSE, openSUSE 11.1, Recommendation, Reviews, Working on Linux, Working with Linux.

Disclaimer: openSUSE 11.1 is reported to be an excellent upgrade. However on “my” Lenovo laptop openSUSE 11.1 has been a total disaster. This report is therefore a personal report rather than a universal indictment against openSUSE which I still think is one of the best distributions. (this is also not an openSUSE vs Linux Mint post, even though it feels like one)

Linux MintEnough is enough. After numerous attempts to get openSUSE 11.1 working, including many many reinstalls, I finally erased everything in favour of Linux Mint 6 (Felicia… whatever that means!).

My previous escapades with openSUSE have been documented in earlier posts… except that my last post I actually ended in a happy note. I had finally reinstalled openSUSE 11 and then upgraded to openSUSE 11.1. My boot system was still creating problems with the CD, but things were working so far… so I began to use the system. But things just became bad to worse… no audio… no easy program installations… search not working… and the killer lack… no CD recognition!

So I decided, because I actually NEEDED linux to work (especially for CD burning) I choose to install Linux Mint 6. Why Mint? Because Ubuntu couldn’t recognise my wifi driver/connection (and I ONLY have a wifi connection… no ethernet)… so I was pretty handicapped with Ubuntu. Linux Mint on the other hand (using the oft-used-cliche) just worked.

And I must agree… as so many others have discovered… Linux Mint is Ubuntu done right!

The installation was not as fast as I remembered it… but it was effective. Also, I didn’t like the default partition options… (here I just missed openSUSE that does such an excellent default boot option). But that was fixable using the advanced mode. Also I was disappointed with such limited options during the install… (again missing openSUSE), but it was functional. (basically, it would be nice if Linux Mint depended on more than Ubuntu and learned a few things here and there from openSUSE).

When it installed, I missed KDE… but I don’t think I’m going to try KDE until things become clearer between KDE 3.5 and KDE 4.1 (just not comfortable with the in-between life). However the Linux Mint desktop was pretty and usable enough, so that was ok.

Linux Mint recognised my wireless connection immediately.. which was a huge relief. However, when I tried to make a VPN connection (of my college)… I was just not able to find an easy accessible way of doing it. But that’s ok… I didn’t urgently need it (though that’s another thing keeping me dependent on Windows… yes it was easier to do in Windows). There were huge updates to install… but thankfully my fast internet connection could handle it pretty quickly… I shudder to think what I’d do with the older slower connection I used to use… (which I may be returning to next year!!!… due to financial and other reasons). I wish the .iso files were remastered with the updates… (like it’s possible to buy Windows with the service packs… actually I only know the XP experience, not the VISTA).

And then, problems with skype. And sadly, the audio didn’t work and it seems that both openSUSE and Mint… have problems with something called pulseaudio. I can’t understand how default installations are facing such problems… for so long. In my earlier experience with Mint I had the same audio problems… and the fix was similar… but why is the problem still there, I don’t know.

…I must agree… as so many others have discovered… Linux Mint is Ubuntu done right!

Anyway… my mic is not working… yes it’s working in Windows. And no it wasn’t working in openSUSE (even in 11)… but certainly not here. can’t figure out why… but that’ll probably be another story.

But everything else is ok. I had to install (and use) the K3B programme… and that worked.

Also once the MintInstall messed up… and didn’t allow me to install a new programs (I had to go through Synaptic). And then attempt to reload MintInstall many times (over a few reboots) to allow me to reload… and it’s working now. But I feel that the openSUSE one-place-for-everything approach seems better than the LinuxMint way that has several applications… one for update, one for installations, one for… mintNanny (whatever that is!).

And also… another problem I faced in Mint is that because I installed Mint with the external USB harddisk (accidently) connected… the external harddisk interrupts the Grub when it is plugged in. So I have to remove the harddisk and then boot and then plug it again… a bit of a pain, but it’s ok.

And finally… a big problem… which is not a problem but is still a problem… is the automatic (default) Linux modified google search instead of the pure google search. I was first upset about it until I read this post which said that is the way Linux Mint makes its money (by the default search). Hmmm. Ok. I was less upset when I read it, yet I feel it is problematic since there was no information about it or even a choice offered to participate in it. It’s kind of dictated to you… and at best it feels like a bug… at worst it feels like an invasion. Still… I am now keeping the default search, by choice… but I feel there should be a choice to participate in it or not… but that’s just me.

So, now I have a brand new Linux Mint installed. Apart from the above, it’s been working pretty well… no major problems… unlike openSUSE… and that’s a relief.

I must say that I’ve extremely impressed by the graphics experience of Linux Mint. I don’t have a heavy-duty graphics card… but the basic 3D? graphics are pretty cool… and even helpful… which I mean the desktop switcher (between different workspaces). It is really practical and it works. (no, it didn’t work in my openSUSE!). Also I really like it when the workpaces are switched and you have a FULLY FRESH desktop without the applications from other desktops visible in the panel… openSUSE still has the other desktop applications visible, which I think defeats the purpose. Nice Ubuntu? Linux Mint touch.

Also, I was very impressed with the time/date AND WEATHER! applet installed in the panel by default. It’s the kind of thing that makes you wonder why other distros didn’t think of that (ie. without depending on third-party plugins). Really nice.

My new desktop (yes, I still like flowers) looks like this, below.



1. Sathya - January 8, 2009

Well I said goodbye to openSUSE 11.1 as well. Wanted something with KDE, didn’t want Kubuntu so I gave Sabayon a shot – the DVD version is pretty awesome – you get all codecs + nvidia driver (not nv) and looks pretty neat

2. NAyK - January 8, 2009

To Sathya: You won’t believe it… but I was really going to go for Sabayon as well… almost did… but chickened out… basically lack of time to do this whole thing again… but I am intrigued by Sabayon… hope I will get to it someday. (I was also considering Mepis… but they have a release coming out sometime, so I might wait for that).

3. linuxcanuck - January 8, 2009

Congratulations on your choice and success! Mint is coming out with a KDE version, but why wait? You can install KDE 4 from the repositories since Mint 6 uses Ubuntu 8.10’s repositories. KDE 3.5 is gone the way of the dinosaur if that is what you are looking for. I am using KDE 4.2 and it is great. I few minor crashes of plasma, but it restarts right away. It is still in development, but is quite usable.

BTW, you will find Synaptic and apt in general better than RPM. I always found SUSE to be the least stable of the RPM distros for some strange reason. It would always break after a short while. Their dialogue for resolving dependency problems sucks. It is a great idea, but it does not work. Resolve one problem and you create another.

Anyway, welcome to the Debian way of doing things. I use Ubuntu 8.10, but I am sure that Mint will be to your liking. Afterall, openSUSe = green = Mint. You must like the colour.

4. Brent - January 8, 2009

I tried Ubuntu, Open Suse, and Mint (in that order). And I am sticking with Mint. Ubuntu had all kinds of problems with sound and graphics (I had to reconfigure after every update), Suse doesn’t support any proprietary formats out of the box (mp3, rented videos, etc.), and I couldn’t find any way to make it support them. But Mint – just – worked – Install it and you’re done.
Great Distro.

5. NAyK - January 8, 2009

to linuxcanuck: Green, yes, oh yes, that WAS the clincher! ;)

6. Sathya - January 8, 2009

NaYK – Sabayon 4.0 r1 comes with KDE 3.5, though I’d read it comes with 4. anyways regarding Skype – well I’ve had the same problem.open the mixer/volume control application , switch to input/switches, and see what’s the (Digital) input source. By default it will be set as Analog Mics. Just change it to Digital Mic 1. Mic in Skype should work now.

7. laosboyme - January 10, 2009

Nice desktop…

Anyways Whats Mint? >_<

8. Boycott Novell » Hard Times with SUSE - January 10, 2009

[…] One person did the right thing and moved to a distribution that’s not associated with Novell. […]

9. epicurious - January 14, 2009

You probably ought to kiss goodbye to pulseaudio. It’s very unlikely that you’ll need it, and you’ll find Skype (and the rest of your audio) might work better.

10. clhodapp - March 1, 2009

Pulseaudio is actually pretty nice (it lets you set volume levels for specific applications and move audio from one device to another easily mid-play). What you want to do is first, makes sure all audio is set up to use pulseaudio. Then, you want to launch the device chooser (device chooser is key). Go into the volume control and set the default devices for both playback and recording (hit the little arrow and say “set default”). Also, you want to change the default controlled volume on the volume control applet and set the device chooser to start automatically (can do this from its “preferences” menu). If this doesn’t help, please respond with a more specific set of problems. I may not be able to help, but I did manage to get pulseaudio set up to work perfectly and am enjoying some benefits from such.

11. rudyjuandi - April 18, 2009


Previously i used mint GNOME, but i think thats appearance so boring…

so i’m choosing opensuse 11.1 now, because it has KDE 4.1.3…

and i think i will come back to MINT now…. with KDE version… 4.2 cause it’s so hard to upgrade KDE openSUSE….

12. dinos - June 9, 2009

I have a lenovo r61. used to have mic problems with felicia…all solved with mint 7 gloria!! Seems that in every single version it keeps getting better! And reduced boot times too! Mint is the prefect distro for linux initiation, and its a bless tha t we have a multitude of distros to choose from instead of 1…

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