Last Sunday I had a few files on my system go corrupt. If I had a recent backup of my system I probably could have just restored it, but I didn’t. Some Linux fanboy I am. I tried to reinstall the components that went corrupt but I still couldn’t get X to start. If I took the time to troubleshoot it more I probably could have fixed it, but I really didn’t have the patience. I had read about people upgrading to Feisty beta to fix some of their problems in the past so I decided to give it a shot.
The upgrade was over 400MB and took over an hour to install. After all was said and done I was able to get back into Ubuntu. Everything looked ok, but I was having some (beta related) crashes. I have been wanting to try a distro that used KDE for a while so I decided to download openSUSE 10.2. Last night I burned the ISO, backed up my configuration, and started the install.
The installation went well. All of my hardware was detected properly and the process was very straight forward. First thing I noticed was that GRUB had a nice blue openSUSE theme, unlike on Ubuntu where it just gives you the black standard menu. My Windows installation was detected and I could boot to that if I wanted. The splash screen also worked on SUSE unlike Ubuntu. I have had both 6.06 and 6.10 installed on my workstation and the splash screen has never worked. If I hit escape on the SUSE splash it gives you the verbose boot, but even that has a nice black/gray themed background. Very nice aesthetics.
Because I have a GeForce 7800GT video card and a Dell 2405FPW monitor it is pretty much expected that I am going to have display issues as soon as linux boots, no matter what distro. This time was no different. When openSUSE booted I got a black screen and a mouse pointer. No problem, I booted into Windows and found out I could use the command sax2 -r -m 0=vesa -l to get into a configuration tool that would let me fix X so that I could get in long enough to install the proper nvidia drivers.
Trying to use YaST to install software was a pain after being used to Aptitude. It is a very similar tool, but not quite as good in my opinion. Plus the main repository for openSUSE is on kernel.org and that site was not responding when I went to use YaST. As a result I had to wait 5 minutes for it to time out every time I went to install software. Once I got the drivers installed though the OS looks great.
After using the OS for a day I am pretty happy with it. I think the main thing I like is KDE. Gnome was good because it is simple, but at times it is so simple it leaves you wanting more. I do find openSUSE to be a little bit quicker than Ubuntu. It seems a little snappier and more responsive. I’m not sure what would cause that. I love how the KDE applications load so much quicker than on Gnome. I used K3b and Amarok extensively on Ubuntu and since I’m running KDE now they launch in about 1/4 the time.
Installing Beryl was kind of a pain. I got it installed ok, but I was having some constant crashes when loading Beryl and Beryl-manager. I finally realized that openSUSE has a composite desktop built in that I had to disable. Once I disabled it Beryl started working without crashing. The lesson there is READ THE INSTRUCTIONS, don’t just assume you know what you are doing.
So I’m planning on sticking with this OS for a while, but after Ubuntu 7.04 is out for a while I think I might consider switching over to Kubuntu.