Even if it was not perfect, I liked that OS. There was definitely an improvement, in my eyes, since the previous releases.
After that, a member of OpenSuSE community Cyberorg contacted me and suggested to use his script for creation of a Live USB with OpenSuSE or Ubuntu for the BIOS of my laptop, which does not accept hybrid ISOs on a Live USB that was created with the command dd. The script worked well for me, and I wrote a separate blog post about this.
The guinea pig for the brand new method of Live USB creation was an ISO of OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE. Even though I did not intend to review this operating system initially, I now had no choice but to do this. Here we go.
The size of an ISO image of OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE is 671 Mb and can be downloaded either from one of many mirrors, or from torrent.
So, the USB stick is in the port of my Fujitsu-Siemens Amilo Pi 1505 laptop. Reboot. Choose to boot from USB. Let's go!
Booting upThe boot menu of the Live USB with OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE, created by Cyberorg's script, contained only 2 major items: boot OpenSuSE Live and boot from hard disk drive. All the rest of the options available in the normal boot screen, like selection of system language, screen resolution or additional boot parameters, were there too. I chose to go for a Live run of OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE with English (UK) language, not the default US one.
The boot process and the splash screen were no different from those of the GNOME edition, of course with the addition of a KDE-standard sequence of icons with globe, HDD, tools etc. The Gecko's head with some white moving spots was there, of course, as well as "artefacts" of sun-facing lenses, which look more like fingerprints on the screen.
The boot process was not long. Finally, the system booted up to the desktop. I immediately added my favourite set of desktop widgets: CPU, memory and network monitors. The memory widget showed that freshly booted OpenSUSE 12.2 KDE uses over 370 Mb of memory, which was a shock.
|OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE|
uses more than 370 Mb of memory
OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE uses KDE version 4.8.4 with Linux kernel 3.4.6.
DesktopThe desktop for OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE contains one folder packed with applications like Firefox, installer, LibreOffice launcher, Help shortcut and so on.
The panel is at the bottom of the OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE's desktop. The panel has standard elements on it: the menu with Gecko's head is in the left corner. Activities and Virtual Desktop switchers are next to the menu button. The right part of the panel has a notification area with elements like clocks, network monitor, USB devices monitor, volume control, clipboard tool and so on. The rest of the panel is taken by the taskbar. Visually, the panel in OpenSuSE 12.2 is slightly narrower than in some other distributions I've seen. But it is good, from my perspective, as it leaves more space for applications windows.
The default desktop wallpaper is in green tones with a net of tiny squares on it. There are the same artefacts as in the splash screen. Apart from this default wallpaper, you have an option to select KDE's standard image with stripes. If you need more images to decorate your desktop, then please be prepared to download them by yourself.
Some desktop effects are available in OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE out of the box. For example, shadows for the windows and menus worked well for me.
Network connectionOpenSuSE 12.2 KDE had no issues with configuration of my wireless network card Intel 3945 ABG. My home network was listed when I clicked the Network Monitor icon on the panel.
Usual ritual with password, and I was connected.
Keyboard layoutKeyboard layouts can be configured in OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE in the Input Devices section of the System Settings panel. It was easy for me to add Russian layout to the existing English UK one. The only issue which I'd like to highlight here, is that languages in the list are noted by 3-letter abbreviations, like rus, est or fra. I was shocked! Why are they not the full names of Russian, Estonian or French?
The touchpad was not configured to my liking by default. At least, edge scrolling did not work.
ApplicationsThe default menu in OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE has the Launcher style. Of course, you can easily switch it to Classical style in 2 clicks. Why do I mention this? Because, in my opinion, Classical style better fits the menu structure of OpenSuSE KDE. I mentioned this in my review of OpenSuSE 12.2 Li-f-e, and I will write here again: the menu has too many subsections. They are difficult to navigate in the Launcher menu style, but Classical style fits them just right.
Firefox 14.0.1 is the default browser in OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE. There is also a Konqueror browser, which is quite common for KDE-based distributions.
Apart from these 2 browsers, the Internet section of the menu contains Chokoq microblogging client, KMail and KTorrent. There is no internet messenger or IRC tool in the default distribution. Shocking, isn’t it? Don’t OpenSuSE developers like to communicate with each other?
The Office tools in OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE include KAddressBook, Kontact, KOrganizer and some LibreOffice applications: Draw, Impress and Writer. There is yet another shock: as in the GNOME edition of OpenSuSE 12.2, no spreadsheet tool is included in the KDE edition.
The Graphics section of the menu includes the same LibreOffice Draw, which I've mentioned above, plus Gwenview image viewer.
The Multimedia section of the menu in OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE has some shocking things too. I mean that the video player Kaffeine is listed there twice! Both instances start the same application. Apart from Kaffeine, there are KsCD player, KMix and multimedia manager Amarok. There is no disk burning software in the default OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE distribution.
There are 5 games in the default OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE, but for these 5 games you have (shock!) 2 subsections in the Games menu, each of them containing 2 applications. Isn't is an overkill? In addition, who would think that Miner is actually a Puzzle game?
The overkill of subsections, which I first mentioned just above, is fully visible in the System and Utilities parts of the menu. There are 7 subsections in addition to 4 applications in the "root" of the System section, and 5 subsections in Utilities. Many of these subsections include only (shock!) one or two applications. Why would you need to have a separate subsection for a single application? Just to make the menu look more complicated?
As for applications, the System and Utilities sections include a good selection of these. Usual suspects are all included: Kate editor, KRDC remote desktop viewer, Krfb desktop sharing tool, Terminal, System Monitor, Ark, Dolphin file manager and so on.
As you can see, OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE comes more or less packed with applications. However, there is a very big chance that you will use the software management tool very soon after booting the system. Many applications which would be useful in everyday life are not included, like GIMP, LibreOffice Calc or VLC.
YaST (or YaST2, to be precise) is the system management tool in OpenSuSE. It is a collection of different configuration utilities, and software manager is one of them. Once I started the software manager for the first time, it took some time to update the repositories. And... crash, boom, bang! SHOCK!
|An error when updating the repository|
Luckily (or shockingly), the error message was only a red herring. At least, Software Manager showed me a list of available applications. The short check:
- LibreOffice Calc - yes
- Chrome browser - no
- Chromium browser - yes
- Quitim - yes
- Pidgin - yes
- VLC - no
- Flash Player - yes
- Skype - no, only as a Pidgin plugin
|List of "dependencies" for Chromium browser|
I suspect that YaST2 took an initiative in its own hands and decided to update the whole system at the first possible possibility. That's a wrong approach by OpenSuSE developers, as I don't want to be imposed to decisions I cannot change. That reminds me an Apple strategy: the customer wants what it is told to want, not what he really wants. Even Windows allows you to choose which updates to install. But not OpenSuSE!
Network partitionOpenSuSE 12.2 KDE has a dedicated tool in the menu, called Network Folder Wizard (KNetAttach). This tool did its job wonderfully, and my fileserver's folder was mounted in almost no time.
MultimediaI tried to open an MP3 file from a remote partition. The default application for MP3 files is Amarok. Unfortunately, it cannot play files from remote partitions without copying them into a local library. Of course, it was not in my plan to create a copy of my music library in the Live session of OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE. I canceled the background copying.
The second attempt to open an MP3 file was made with Kaffeine. It failed to open the file, and gave me an error about a missing plugin. The error window had a button to install the missing component. That was my choice. A sequence of other windows followed, but it did not give any positive result, until I clicked the provided link. Then, yet another sequence of web pages, and I got a "one-click install" link for multimedia packages. Indeed, it was not a true "1-click install", as it required some other confirmations, but that was not difficult. But, halfway through installation, I had to stop it. The reason was that, in addition to multimedia codecs, OpenSUSE 12.2. KDE shockingly decided to update all the rest of the packages. That was not in my plan, of course. I suppose this is the same issue that I faced during my Chromium installation.
Just to test the sound abilities of OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE, I launched the Amarok player once again. As usual, it threw me a question about my location, to connect to the proper Amazon site, but I ignored that. Amarok took about 200 Mb of memory to load, which almost hanged my system. It again asked me a question about an MP3 support, plus its usual question about location of my multimedia library. At the end of the story, I was able to play the default Amarok's tune. And here I found a pleasant surprise.
The volume control elements of my laptop, which are Fn-F5 and Fn-F6 key combinations, worked fine! I've never seen them working in any other Linux distribution yet. These keys usually hanged the X-server capabilities to react to other input devices like keyboard or mouse clicks. The reason, in my understanding, is that my model only produces signals from these keys when they are pressed, but not when they are released. Hence, X-server was in the dead loop waiting for the "release" code sequence. OpenSuSE 12.2 fixed this! At last! I hope that other distributions will follow the case!
|Installation of Flash Player is not a problem in OpenSuSE|
ConclusionMy reaction to the OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE was a shock, to put it simply.
KDE is always considered as a flagship desktop environment for OpenSuSE, compared to GNOME and other desktop environments. There are quite strong links between the OpenSuSE and KDE communities.
What I've seen in GNOME and KDE versions of OpenSuSE 12.2 contradicts this fact. Where the GNOME edition was almost workable, if I were to agree with some functionality gaps of GNOME Shell, KDE left me frustrated.
The performance of the system was far from ideal, especially when several applications ran in parallel in my Live USB run. There were so many minor and major issues, that I would never recommend this distribution to any of my friends. There are too many other Linux distributions, including those with KDE, that simply leave OpenSuSE far behind.
You may disagree with my position... But then... that is my own.
Do you want to try OpenSuSE 12.2 KDE (or GNOME) to make your own judgement? Maybe oher distribution? Then, why not order a CD with this distribution from the site Buy Linux CDs? The disk will be delivered right into your mailbox anywhere in the world.
Video used in the screenshot: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUFPooqKllA