Sunday, November 20, 2011

My openSUSE 12 Journal - 1

openSUSE 12.1 was released earlier this week. Although I had to wait more than 24 hours before I got my hands on the the ISO binaries (4.4Gb of both 32-bit and 64-bit), it was well worth it. The lesson learnt was to use more than one download method concurrently in the event something fails. More importantly, its imperative to verify (ie md5sum) the downloaded binaries or risks having to abort an installation when the integrity of the packages are in question. tension

For this release of openSUSE, everything has been incredibly smooth from installation to productive use of my home system. In fact, I have just completed another installation on my Thinkpad W520. I am sure there are some who have encountered challenges (no software is perfect); however, at least for me, this has been the smoothest experience ever since the days of SLES 8!

To all involved with openSUSE 12.1, please accept my congratulations on a job well done! tepuktangan

One little quirk, minor annoyance
From a usage scenario, I have to report something that made me panic on the first-boot of openSUSE 12.1, to the extent that I voluntarily hit the physical reset button on my PC.

The cause, as it turns out, is the new Systemd that replaces the old System-V init. Whenever I boot up a newly installed Linux for the first time, I always hit the ESC key on boot to see the boot messages. This helps me identify any problems early and gives me an indication of how quickly and smoothly Linux boots up. When I did the same with openSUSE 12.1 on first-boot, I observed some initial messages but suddenly everything seems to just stop. I panicked after 20 seconds and hit the physical reset button (thinking I may have messed up).

Apparently, the new Systemd is not very "chatty". I only had to wait 40 seconds more and the entire system booted up and I am automatically logged into KDE4. malu

If anyone could share how one might re-enable the same level of "chattiness" when the system boots up, appreciate if you could use the comments section below.

Gnome 3.2

Post-installation, I used YaST - Software Management and installed both the "Gnome Base System" and the "Gnome Desktop Environment" patterns. Finally, I got to try out Gnome 3 for the first time ever.

I have been a Gnome 2.x user for quite a number of years until I switched over to KDE4 when it became the default in openSUSE 11.2. KDE4 is great but I do miss the simplicity of Gnome 2.x from time to time.

Happy to report I'm using Gnome 3.2 rather productively on my home PC. However, I am not fully convinced it would be my default environment just yet. Gnome 3.2 is major re-design and it's as different to Gnome 2.32 as KDE4 is to KDE3. Here are some of my thoughts at this time:
  • I liked the idea of integrating my online identity (Google & Twitter only at this time) into my desktop; but, this means I have to use Evolution... not something I liked due to past experiences (3 years ago).
  • I really liked the concept of workspace on demand. I can drag an app & move it to the next available workspace & a new empty one is created. I am ready to move on from the 4-sided (or n-sided) cube paradigm.
  • The font size and window title-bars takes up too much screen estate. It seems to run contrary to my initial impression that Gnome Shell gives me lots of screen estate since there is only one bar at the top.
  • A good buddy of mine explained that its design was geared towards mobile devices (ie tablets with touchscreens) and I start to appreciate it more; however, I think this approach seems a tad too early at best? Given how mobile devices are dominated by Apple, Android & others, I don't see any hardware vendor officially supporting (hard-bundling) Gnome as the de-facto GUI. Feels more like a spill over from Meego & netbook UI era (only 2-3 years ago).
I will be blogging more on my experiences with openSUSE 12.1 ... looking back at my blog posts, I realized it was 3 years ago that I started a similar series of posts on my experiences with openSUSE 11... how time flies...senyum


  1. Recently I am more partial to lighter UIs like LXDE. Seem to work a lot better than the mess that is GNOME 3x and KDE 4x (too many clicks just to do something useful). Nothing fancy but, they work marvellously and you know what to expect.

  2. @msian_tux_lover, you'll be glad to know (maybe you already do) that openSUSE 12.1 comes with KDE4, Gnome3.2, LXDE and XFCE supported. You choose & install your favourite one from YaST, and you're good and productive... without the need to download from source or some other 3rd-party repo. :)