OpenSuse 11

So it looks like Pat and I had the same idea this weekend. That is to play around with the new OpenSuse 11.

Before I started, though, I needed a system I could install on. Live cd’s are great and all, but it’s just not the same as having the OS running on your real hardware, and I wanted to give it a fair shake, so to speak. Well, since I am broke and can’t afford a test box, I figured I would just install on my trusty lappy and see what was what. But first things first, I needed to make some freespace. I just didn’t want to blow away everything I already had on there.

gParted to the rescue. This was the very first time I have used gparted and I have to say that I am darned impressed with it. I popped in an ubuntu 8.04 install disk, which just happens to have gparted on it, and use gparted to shrink my current linux partition 20 gb to give me enough space to to a few test installs. Using the utility wass absolutely straight forward. I selected the partition I wanted and then drug the endpoint backward 20gb and hit go, and It just “did the right thing(tm)”. I was a little freaked that it was taking a while with practically no indicators of what was going on, but I just left it alone and it did it’s thing, and did it without breaking anything that I can find at least – hooray!

After I had some drive space I grabbed the OpenSuse 11 KDE Live CD to install from. I was originally going to grab the dvd image, but read several websites which said you can do a perfectly usable install from the cd image, so why bother with the multi-hour download?? 🙂

The install was pretty straight forward and the only hiccup was having to pay attention to *where* it was installed, but that was strictly a problem with my type of install to a separate partition. If you were doing a default install on the whole drive it would be a cake walk. I do want to note that after I went through a little hoop making sure this install used only a giant root partition, it did autodetect and configure itself to use the available swap partition. Bonus!

The install, from cd at least, was quite fast. After it was finished, it rebooted and did an initial configuration, and then it was ready to rock and roll. I was greeted with KDE4, which looks and seems to function quite nice. The system is very responsive as well. I was, however, presented with a couple problems. The first was OpenSuse did not autodetect my screen resolution correctly. I have a 1280×800 widescreen and was sitting at 1024×768, which was pretty ugly. I tried to fix it with the user preference manager for the monitor, but it would not let me change resolutions that way. I had to use YAST to change them. This could be a no brainer for someone who is used to OpenSuse, but I admit that I was at a loss for a few minutes just how to do that and why my monitor preferences wouldn’t change or save. After the resolution change, the real beauty of the OpenSuse look became apparent. I dig it anyway.

The bigger problem, and one that I still have is that my wifi will not work. The lappy I have uses an Atheros wireless chipset, which works OUT OF THE BOX with Ubuntu. If they can do it, why can’t OpenSuse? It’s monsterously frustrating to have come that far only to find out that you have no connectivity. The worst part of that is I thought I would be slick and just push in my old trusty bog standard Linksys wireless card, which has worked on every distribution I have tried in the past 6 years. That didn’t work either. My frustration abounds…

I will try and plug it into a hardline tonight and give some effort to finding out how to get wireless working, but if it becomes a pain in the rear to do so, I am going to have to give OpenSuse a failing grade on this one. Seriously though, there is no reason one distribution can do something that another cannot – they are all Linux and have access to the same super and subset of software and having x configuration and networking be problematic is not a great way to make people happy 🙂

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One Response to “OpenSuse 11”

  1. ankurb Says:

    Atheros DOES work with Opensuse 11, the driver needs to be added separately because it’s proprietary. Not a big deal, using Yast. Ubuntu does have it by default, since 8.04 if I’m not wrong, but does give a warning that proprietary software is being used (see under System > Administration > Hardware Drivers). It’s only in the recent edition that they got wireless right – earlier ones used to have really terrible troubles with Broadcom wireless drivers.

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