OpenSUSE 12.2 Beta1, after a few days

I have been using Beta1 for several days now, for at least part of what I normally do on a computer.  And, thus far, it has mostly been working quite well once I got beyond the installation woes mentioned in an earlier post.  I’ll comment more on installing toward the end of this post, in case you are looking for guidance.

Beta1 comes with KDE 4.8.3, Gnome 3.4 and XFCE 4.10, though you don’t have to install all of those.  I also installed LXDE, but I haven’t checked the version on that nor have I spent much time testing it.

KDE 4.8.3

This version of KDE did not seem greatly different from earlier versions.  The main difference that I noticed was in the power manager.  It seems simplified, and easier to configure.  There’s now a box, checked by default, for dimming the display after it has been idle for a few minutes.  I unchecked that on my laptop with Intel graphics, because past experience is that dimming the display can sometimes cause the system to freeze up.  And, indeed, freezes have been rare with that setting.

Most other parts of KDE seem rather similar to the previous version.

Gnome 3.4

I still don’t like Gnome, but it is getting better.  Perhaps a few more releases, and they will actually have something that I like.  I suspect that I will always prefer fallback mode on a laptop or desktop, though perhaps the full Gnome 3.x experience is better on a tablet.

I have not spent much time working with this Gnome version, so I can’t comment much on the applications.  There is no an “Advanced Settings” application, where I can set the mouse to “sloppy focus” mode.  Previously one had to search the web for undocumented configuration settings.  Unfortunately, it does not seem to have a provision to raise a selected window after it gets focus.

XFCE 4.10

I have not noticed big changes with XFCE.  The most obvious small change, is in how I logout.  With 4.8, I would use the icon at the right of the panel.  That has now been replaced with the login user’s name, though you can still click on that to get a more mimimalistic logout menu.  I found myself using the logout selection from the main menu, when I wanted the full options.

NetworkManager

This now works well, but only because of the changes that I made, and posted about.  Without those changes, the root password is required altogether too often.

Plymouth splash

It is there, but I haven’t used it.  In Beta1, it interferes with prompting for Luks encryption key, so I have had to disable it in the kernel boot line.  Perhaps I’ll be able to test it in the next release (rc1 is due soon).

On installation

And now some more comments on installing.

I eventually reinstalled on both test systems, using the DVD.  With the benefit of earlier experience, I disabled install from images.  On the newer machine, with Intel graphics, this went well except for the booting.  It failed to install grub2, so I had to switch that to grub1.  Thereafter most everything worked as it should.

On an older Toshiba with Radeon graphics, grub2 actually installed without problem.  I’m guessing that the difference was that “/boot” is a primary partition on the system where grub2 installed, but a logical drive on the system where it failed to install.

I had other problems on the older Toshiba.  KDM would startup, but when I tried to login, the session crashed.  This was repeatable.  I eventually tried an Icewm login, and that worked until I tried to load nm-applet, which crashed the session.  I could use icewm if I avoid the applications that crashed it.  It seemed to be a problem communicating with dbus.  I was able to start an xterm, then do “su” in the xterm, and run “yast2” from there.  Then, with the software manager, I installed “plymouth-plugin-label”.  This was missing from the DVD, and caused a non-fatal error in the building of the “initrd” during installation.

Once having installed that plymouth plugin, I ran “mkinitrd”, to get a clean build.  Then, after a reboot, X-windows started behaving.

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About Neil Rickert

Mathematician and computer scientist who dabbles in cognitive science.

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