Since it’s been quite a while since I last took openSUSE for a spin, I couldn’t resist downloading the 11.3 release that came out in mid-July. To see how the distro fares today, I installed it onto my home PC and used it for just over a week. So, read on for an in-depth look at what’s new and notable, and also for my experiences.
In testing 11.3, I essentially came off of a 5-year hiatus from using SUSE, so the big question of course is… do I leave this test impressed? I can wholeheartedly say, “Yes!”. In total, I spent about 10 days with the distro, and they certainly weren’t without issue, but at the end of the day, those issues I did experience don’t even come to mind. The overall pleasant experience overpowers those hiccups.
openSUSE 11.3, as I had hoped, is a great package. Everything from the installation to the configuration to the regular desktop use has been considered and refined, and overall, it just looks good. After my install, I had full graphics support (not full 3D), so I was able to get down to using my OS right away. Once I had a proper NVIDIA driver installed, compositing was automatically enabled, meaning I could get my fill of wobbly windows and desktop cubes.
The issues I did experience with openSUSE happened at the kick-off, where things had to be tended to right after the install. For many Linux distros, that’s not too unusual, and for the most part, the same could be said for Windows. It’s rare for anyone to install an OS and simply have it perfect… it’s just not a realistic idea. openSUSE came close, though.
I have few complaints about openSUSE, and from how far it’s been improved over the years, I can see me enjoying each subsequent release even more than the last. If there are some things I’d like to see tackled, it’d be just the small issues, like the one where I couldn’t click on a partition in “My Computer” and have it work from the start. Another hope would be to see “My Computer” spiced up a bit in the design department, as it looks like little more than an HTML page with a simple design.
I don’t have a ton of experience with current Linux distros, but that’s something that will be changing going forward, as I’d like to take a look at others I haven’t dabbled with in a while, and others I’ve never even touched (such as PCLinuxOS and Arch). I have been using Ubuntu on my notebook for the past while though, and compared to it, I can honestly say that openSUSE has been the bigger joy to use as a whole, and definitely the easier one to install.
Of course, the top desktop Linux distros are free, so you don’t have to take my word for it. Download a couple, and see what’s best for you. If you don’t want to do that, give openSUSE a try. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. And if you run into any issues, you have little to worry about, as there’s an “Online Help” icon on the desktop that will quickly bring you to online support, and only a jump away from SUSE’s rather large forum community.
If you do give openSUSE 11.3 a try, please let us know your thoughts of it in our forums! Likewise, if you run into issues, please don’t hesitate to post them as well, since we might be able to help.
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