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OpenSUSE 11.0: A Solid, Up-to-Date Linux Desktop - page 2

openSUSE vs. Novell SUSE

  • August 21, 2008
  • By Paul Ferrill

The first thing you'll notice if you've ever installed openSUSE before is the new setup tool. Everything looks sharp, and the process is smooth. We were able to go from start to installed and ready to go in under fifteen minutes (see the thumbnails for images of the installer). Once the system is running it will check for critical updates. In our case it found a total of 17. These were downloaded and installed with a single click on the red update triangle. Total time for this process was a little under ten minutes.

You'll have to make some tweaks to the firewall if you want to directly browse shares on a Windows network. Since my network sits behind a NAT firewall I chose to just turn the firewall off, but that isn't typically the best choice for most users. That is done through the Yast control center by selecting the Security and Users menu item and then the Firewall icon. The other way to make it work is to change the default setting for your Ethernet interface from external to internal. This essentially opens up all ports.

Desktop Options

openSUSE on the desktop offers a wide range of options to fit most any taste. Both KDE 4.0 and GNOME 2.22 are supported install options along with a number of add-on window managers. If you want a Mac OS X look to your desktop, you'll want to take a look at either Cairo-Dock or Avant Window Navigator. You'll find links to these and other configuration options on the wiki site. LXDE - Light Weight Desktop Environment for openSUSE Linux, is another option targeted specifically at older machines with slower processors and limited memory. LXDE provides a number of convenience features like a quick launch key combination (ALT + F2) that brings up a run window where you can type lx to get a list of all available commands.

KDE 4.1 is available as a one-click download from the openSUSE KDE page. It uses the openSUSE build service to create a package from the latest sources. This process took longer than the basic operating system install, mainly due to the need to download a large number of packages over the network. Total time for this effort was a little over thirty minutes. The default KDE screen allows you to install widgets similar to those found with the Google desktop offering.


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