Top Linux Distros: OpenSUSE
Desktop Training - Desktop Reviews

 Lesson 8 / Lesson 10

The OpenSUSE Linux distribution is one of the most popular for a variety of reasons. For one, participation is big in the OpenSUSE community which focuses on providing an easy to use general desktop operating system. OpenSUSE offers advantages like AppArmor, a application that can limit other applications rights based on how they interact with the environment. Another big one is the YaST system management application that is used in OpenSUSE as a control center. OpenSUSE also features virtualization software like KVM, QEMU, Xen and VirtualBox.

The goals of OpenSUSE are simple:

Make OpenSUSE easy to obtain and the most widely used open-source platform.
Provide an environment for open-source collaboration.
Simplify and open the package management process to encourage development.

Suse has roots back to 1994 but in 2004, Novell acquired SUSE Linux and released the SUSE Linux Professional product as a 100% free open-source project. Earlier known as Suse or SuSE and for use as a business-only solution, now OpenSUSE concentrates on home users desktops and workstations. Great features like YAST system administration control center, easy installation and configuration, and great support has already made OpenSUSE popular among desktop users. The logo may have changed slightly but the official OpenSUSE mascot has stayed the same. A green Chameleon has been the successful distributions mascot since the beginning.

OpenSUSE belongs in the general category because it focuses on providing a well rounded selection of applications on top of a dependable daily use operating system that has tools specifically aimed at the average user and making things easier for them. Many users have found OpenSUSE running KDE to be a great replacement for Windows because of some subtle similarities in appearance. The graphical side of OpenSUSE is undeniably attractive and gets better almost every release.

Desktop Screenshot
Upon botting a fresh installation of OpenSUSE with KDE installed as the desktop environment the background, green color scheme, and clear icons make a great first impression. After taking in the surrounding desktop and moving on to the menu I was a little bit confused at first with the multi-level KDE menu that seemed to be less effective than the Gnome version. However this could be because I'm not as familiar with the standard KDE menu. Still the OpenSUSE Gnome version has more of a straight to the point interface. One thing that is very likable about the OpenSUSe desktop is its inclusion of Compiz Fusion, a 3D desktop that runs on Xgl or AIGLX. The 3D desktop effect of Compiz Fusion combined with the graphical elements of the OpenSUSE seems to be a nice fit for users that enjoy a graphical OS.

Help Resources
When you get OpenSUSE you also get a valuable resource in the community that comes along with it. Like top distros Fedora and Ubuntu the OpenSUSE community is alive and well offering information about the project, wiki, forum, weekly news releases, bug report section, invitations to participate in the project and more all at and and other blogs are a great place to pick up news, articles and tutorials that will help you conquer your problems and gain general knowledge while using OpenSUSE.

OpenSUSE currently has full support of 32 bit I586 and 64 bit x86-64 hardware as well as power PC processors. For a CPU it requires  an Intel Pentium 1-4 or Xeon; AMD Duron, Athlon, Athlon XP, Athlon MP, Athlon 64, Sempron or Opteron. OpenSUSE needs 256 MB of RAM minimum, 512 MB of RAM recommended to run and 500 MB of hard drive space for minimal system and 3 GB for standard system.

My Feeling
At first I disliked OpenSUSE as a desktop mostly because of my experience with the KDE menu on older versions of OpenSUSE. Now that I've tested more recent versions of OpenSUSE I feel more comfortable with the KDE menu but still prefer the Gnome version of OpenSUSE for its directness. OpenSUSE is easy to use and prefered by many beginners but for me I decided to stick with some other distros like Ubuntu and Fedora when getting started. I felt overpowered by the graphical display of OpenSUSE, although it was pretty it wasn't quite as functional and efficient as I was used to. In my opinion, one area OpenSUSE has fell short in the past is package management. Previous versions of OpenSUSE lagged behind while installing packages, or adding repositories. Even once the files started downloading the process was inexplicably slow. Along with other improvements, recent releases have provided some significant speed improvements and displays a download speed once the files start downloading so this is one area that is showing positive progress towards OpenSUSEs ultimate goals.

After inserting and booting from the DVD I selected Boot From Hard Disk. This brought up a window where I selected the language I wanted to use. The next screen it checked for installation media and I clicked Start Check. Then I agreed to the license agreement and clicked next. On the installation screen I selected New Installation mode and clicked next. On the next window selected the timezone and location you want to use. The next option is to choose what desktop environment you want to use. I prefer to use Gnome so I selected Gnome and then the Next button. Then we can see installation settings which can be changed by selecting the headlines. Now we can select and see suggested partitions. I selected entire disk and pressed Next. Finally confirm all settings and click on the Install button. After formatting your hard disk in the next few screens you'll also need to enter host and domain name for the machine, root password, network options, and preform an internet connection test. Now you can choose to set up on-line update settings or to skip this process. If you skip the proicess, like I did, you're finished with your installation.