Observations about milestone 3

I installed opensuse 12.2, milestone 3 on a couple of systems.  In both cases, the installs were of the 32 bit version, using the DVD image as written to a USB flash drive.  I’m planning to try a 64 bit install tomorrow.

Here are some of the things I have noticed:

Kernels and memory:  There still appears to be only a default kernel for the 32 bit version.  That’s fine on the older system where I installed it.  But on a newer system, where it is installed in alternate partitions, I am not able to access all of the RAM.  Of course, I could have installed the 64 bit version there, but then I wouldn’t get to test whether the 32 bit version had support for larger memory.

Grub2: The grub2 install went without a hitch, this time.  And it does now have a menu screen with several options, including a Windows boot.  That was missing with M2.  On my newer system, where M3 is entirely in logical drives, it defaulted to installing grub2 on the extended partition, and that worked (that had failed for M2).  There is still no GUI support for editing the boot menu.  I’m hoping that will be corrected by the time of 12.2 final.

Graphics:  My system with Intel graphics is back to working properly with M3.  For M2, I had to use “nomodeset” because the graphics driver was unstable.  That problem seems to be mainly solved.  There is still the problem of occasional system freezes, due to bugs in the Intel driver.  I have had one such freeze since I started testing.

KDE:  M3 comes with KDE 4.8.1.  Startup seems a bit faster than with previous version, though I have not actually time it.  I have synaptiks setup to disable the touchpad if another mouse is connected, and I am judging the startup time by how long it takes before the touchpad stops working.

In the power settings for KDE, there is now a simple toggle for whether to dim the display after an idle period.  I prefer that to having separate time intervals for dimming and for screen blanking, and never being sure how those two times relate to one another.  Since my problem with system freezes usually occurs when dimming the display, I have turned off that dimming option.  Thus far, I have not seen any freezes while KDE was running.  The one freeze that I did see was on the switchover from the device manager screen to the KDE screen shortly after login.

Gnome: This release uses Gnome 3.4, which seems to work reasonably well.  I still don’t much like it, so mainly use forced fallback mode.

There’s now an “Advanced Settings” icon, which I can use to set sloppy focus.  That’s a big improvement.  Previously, I had to do a google search to find the hidden magic incantation needed to turn this on.  Unfortunately, the Advanced Settings don’t have an option to raise the window receiving the focus, and that’s a bit of a problem.  Maybe there’s a hidden magic incantation for that, but I haven’t yet looked very far.

When first testing, with settings derived from opensuse 12.1, the sloppy focus and window raising still worked as it did in 12.1 (after the hidden incantations).  But once I cleared out all of the user settings and started afresh, the same incantation failed to work.

With 12.1, I was able to turn off the touchpad in Gnome, using the Fn key combination.  That is not working with 12.2 M3.  I can probably start synaptiks as an alternative.

Those are my comments for now.  I’ll be doing more testing, and if something important comes up I will post on that.

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About Neil Rickert

Retired mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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