Okay, I have spent more than a week with openSUSE 11.3 KDE4. Right now I am downloading Linux Mint 9 KDE. I have not decided on my perfect KDE4 distro, but openSUSE 11.3 is a really strong contender. In this short writeup I will explore some reasons why I might NOT switch to it as my default OS.

Minor Irritations

Good as openSUSE 11.3 is, there are some papercuts that get irritating after a while. openSUSE has a lot going for it, but as I pointed out in my review, things can get very complicated very quickly.

It sports some of the most powerful administration and user tools that comes with any Desktop Linux Distro, and is really, extremely, rock, solid.

If you want a dependable distro that will not break on you openSUSE is it.

But there are those papercuts…

Let’s Be Specific.

Here are some specifics for you:

  • Firefox scrolling is slow.
    If you scroll with the mouse-wheel in Firefox the scrolling is slow, I have not experienced this with this laptop in a long time. When you are done scrolling the actual scrolling motion continues on the screen for a good few seconds. Dragging via sidebar to scroll is as quick as usual.
  • Sudo is weirdly implemented.
    In Ubuntu and openSUSE you can run some commands with root privileges via sudo, in Suse the choice of commands that need sudo is a bit weird at times. Commands that I grew used to running sans the need for sudo needs to be elevated with SUSE. Traceroute and Tracepath are just two good examples.
  • Some commands don’t work without full path.
    If you type traceroute you get the following output:
    Absolute path to ‘traceroute’ is ‘/usr/sbin/traceroute’, so running it may require superuser privileges (eg. root).
    Fair enough, I already mentioned you need sudo to run it, but run it as “sudo traceroute” and you get this:
    sudo traceroute
    root’s password:
    sudo: traceroute: command not found

    Riiight. You just told me that it is there!! Fine, you have to do it like this:
    “/usr/sbin/traceroute” – and then it will run. Want to do the same with tracepath? The path is different – /sbin/tracepath to be exact. This is true for quite a few commands, and I keep discovering new ones.
  • Codecs
    Installing codecs with Ubuntu is a lot less complicated. Kubuntu inherits this ease of installing Codecs. Even after I thought I had installed all of the codecs I needed I come across files that will not play, and then it is off to the software manager to try and find them. Mandriva is only a little less complicated.
  • Repository Management
    Speaking of the software manager – dear Yast. You need to enable a few repositories to get everything you need. Try installing Skype with openSUSE 11.3 for instance, you will need libpng12 but it is not available in the default repositories – you will need to enable an extra repository to get the package.
  • Printer Management
    Adding a printer or managing printers with openSUSE is a bit more complicated than with Mandriva KDE – it needs a more intuitive utility to do this.

Summary

Some of these I might learn to live with, others not. The command issues I mentioned above is really frustrating for me – I am guessing that Linux Mint 9 KDE will feel more familiar to me in that department since it is closely based on Ubuntu.

I do have some doubts with regards to it’s stability – I have to mention the great stability of the package again, it did not crash once on me, and other system related issues where minimal.

Now to see what the next candidate brings…

Related posts:

  1. In Search of the Perfect KDE4 Distro – 4 Linux Mint 9?
  2. In Search of the Perfect KDE4 Distro – 3 Linux Mint 9
  3. In Search of the Perfect KDE4 Distro – 1 openSUSE 11.3