Sunday, September 9, 2012

new opensuse

openSUSE 12.2 was released a few days ago. I've been running 12.1 in multi-boot set-ups on my desktop pc and notebook since around April. 12.1 turned out to be fine here; I decided to replace it on both machines with fresh installations of the new release.

Optional downloads include a hefty 4.7 GB DVD image, KDE and GNOME live CD images, and the "Network" image (downloads the installation system and all packages from online repositories). As I did with 12.1, I downloaded the KDE live CD image, which turned out to be about 671.0 MiB. I used Xfburn in SalineOS to burn the CD.

For 12.2, openSUSE has gone to the Linux 3.4 kernel, and the GRUB2 bootloader is now the default. They've got KDE 4.8.4, GNOME 3.4, XFCE 4.10, LibreOffice 3.5, and Firefox 14.0.1 (which got updated on my system to 15.0 right after I did the installation). I found Chromium 22.0.x in the repos, and installed that to use instead of Firefox.

For me, openSUSE isn't the easiest distro to install and set up, but experiences may vary depending on different things, like the type of hardware, etc. I've struggled a bit to get things right on my multi-boot set-ups; also, things seemed to go a bit more smoothly on my Compaq Presario notebook than they did on my Dell desktop pc.

I managed to get everything set up the way I wanted; one problem I'm still having on my desktop pc is that when I try to reboot, the computer never goes down all the way and never restarts. The monitor goes dark, I hear two beeps from the computer, the light on the power button stays on, and then... nothing. I end up having to press the power button, and then fire it back up. Haven't figured out what to do about that issue yet, so right now when I have to do a reboot, I'm shutting down the computer instead of clicking on "Restart," then turning the computer back on. None of that is a problem on my notebook.

I prefer to use YaST for my package management instead of Apper and PackageKit, so I turned off Apper Monitor, which is enabled by default. The only repository I've added so far is the one for nVidia drivers, which I needed for the desktop pc. I installed Geany to use instead of Kwrite. For the desktop pc, I added Geeqie for image viewing.

I liked KDE's Smooth Tasks widget; in KDE 4.8.4, installing that isn't necessary because now there's the Icons-Only Task Manager widget if you'd rather use that instead of the default Task Manager widget.

So far, openSUSE 12.2 (KDE) looks good, overall. The next version, 12.3, is set to come out in about six months. 12.2's release was delayed by two months; it'll be supported for two release cycles plus two months. But the openSUSE project is reviewing its engineering and release processes, and it looks like schedules are likely to be changed.

For a casual review of the KDE spin (updated to KDE 4.9) at Muktware, see "openSUSE 12.2 KDE Review: Fast & Furious."

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