Sunday, November 16, 2008

first impressions from openSUSE

My journey with Linux begins quite a long time ago, when most people used Slackware. So did I. Until today, Slack remained my personal favorite, although I stopped using it completely about 4 years ago. Ever since my first steps, I've been using (sometimes in parallel) Red Hat, Mandrake 8.2, Debian, Oracle's UBL, Cent OS 3-5 and had some short experience with Arch and Gentoo. But more than anything else, I mainly use [K]Ubuntu (5.10-8.04).

The main reason for the switch was my work and study (and life) consumed the time I used to spend maintaining my distro, and I wanted something modern which works out of the box (and the fact some people laughed at me, because I was old fashioned and didn't have dependency management).
Unlike others, I'm quite pleased with Ubuntu. Even 64bit. It just works.

But all of a sudden, I became bored with my computer, so I decided to replace the brown/blue with green. Well, where can I find a green distro? Oh, right - openSUSE.

Didn't want to mess too much with my computer, especially since it was transformed into a gaming station (thus, runs Windows), I decided the laptop would do just fine. It's a HP nc6220, so the spec is high and it comes feature loaded. Downloaded openSUSE 11 with KDE 4 for 32 bit, put the CD in the drive, and reboot.
The live CD looks really good, and makes you want to install it. The installer is great, although I did have some problem with the partitioner which crashed the first time, and wasn't as simple as other partitioners I used.
After the installation, everything just worked, including WiFi, which is a good start (no network = inability to find problem's solutions on the internet).
Some quirks include the fact the language indicator didn't show hebrew by default (although Israel's timezone was selected, which implies I live in Israel), and the update manager noticed I need to upgrade some packages, but crashed while doing so (currently, "zypper up" is running in the background - good thing I'm not afraid of the command line).

This is definitely not the first time I use KDE 4, but it is the first time I enjoy it. The openSUSE guys made it beautiful (not black) and useable. Once the upgrade is finished, I'll try to run IM (kopete?) and other applications, and see if they're any better than previous versions.

Oh, one more thing - I noticed many applications are from KDE 3, and firefox is missing some plugins (hadn't checked for codecs yet). This is the thing that disappointed my most, as I'm used this things just work, especially in a desktop distribution. Once I finish those installations, I'll write again with my impressions.

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