Saturday, March 31, 2012

Hello openSUSE

Or should I say "Goodbye Ubuntu?"  I have been using Ubuntu steadily since 4.10 Warty Warthog.  Ubuntu installed easily and I even got my laptop wireless card to work at a time when it required crazy configuration and extracting Windows drivers.  I still tried other distros during that time even running some for a good while.  I tried out Fedora Core, Freespire, Linspire, Mandriva, Mint, openSUSE, and even TurboLinux (well before Ubuntu though) amongst others.  No matter what I have tried, I have come back to Ubuntu.

After Gnome 3 and Unity were shown off, I switched off to Kubuntu for the KDE desktop.  KDE works well on Ubuntu but I still wasn't pleased that Canonical continues to focus on Unity.  I also contemplated a switch to Mint but when the Mint Gnome Shell Extension was announced, my heart sank.  MGSE just continued to mask the problems with these new desktops.  There was plenty of discussion about the issues with Gnome 3 (or Gnome Shell) and Unity on the web so I won't get into the poor multitasking.

Deciding to stick with KDE distros, I looked at Fedora and openSUSE.  Fedora still focuses a lot on Gnome though and has a poor history with stability.  Cutting edge is alright so long as it works.  I've never had good luck there though.  openSUSE on the other hand...  Well, I've really liked it in the past.  The last time I tried it, it was around version 11.1 or 11.2 maybe.  I had issues with installing codecs and some software.  The system otherwise worked well.  Since 12.1 was due soon, I waited for openSUSE and read some reviews of 11.4.  It was time to take the plunge.  Word on the webs told me the openSUSE team had worked out the issues plaguing me before.

It was time to ditch Ubuntu, hopefully for good.  I had 11.4 downloaded and burnt as a back up, then I let 12.1 work its magic.  The installation was super smooth and quick.  It detected my old partitions and imported it all perfectly.  The new system booted fast.  Updates downloaded and installed without problems.  Even more remarkably, I added additional respositiories and installed additional software, including some required codecs, without trouble.

The ability to add additional repos on openSUSE is a feature I love dearly and wish more distros would incorporate.  It made a lot of the setup easier.  The other helpful tool was the site openSUSE Guide.  The guide isn't complete and its not the most detailed.  But it will give you the basic tools to start your system right.

Once I've used the system more, I'll drop a few screenshots and maybe a more detailed review.  If you've tried openSUSE 12.1 or if you're ditching Ubuntu, let me know what you think.