Zypper Woes - Also Not a Band Name
Among the potential gotchas for new users is the lack of readily available NVIDIA drivers. Ubuntu and others have made it relatively easy to grab non-free drivers from their default installs, and we were somewhat surprised to find that OpenSUSE skipped on what's become (for better or worse) a fairly common hardware driver solution.
The other problem we had was with the Zypper update utility. Zypper is new and reportedly features significant speed and stability improvements. In fact, early rave reviews about Zypper had us looking forward to testing OpenSUSE. For the command line junkies there's also a "zypper" utility which offers something very similar to yum on Fedora or apt-get in Ubuntu/Debian.
Unfortunately, in the release candidate we tested, Zypper wasn't working quite right. It would find packages that had available upgrades, but for some reason would never actually apply the updates. After a bit of digging we discovered that the issue is a known bug (and it's listed as a blocker in OpenSUSE's bug tracker), so it should be fixed by the final release.
While Zypper had a few pre-release quirks, the YaST panel was everything it's cracked up to be. When Linux users tout the customization options of the platform, they often forget that new users may find the number of options scattered and daunting.
That's where YaST comes in. YaST stands for Your awesome Setup Tool (Or the less inspiring Yet Another Setup Tool - Ed), and it is indeed quite awesome. YaST is by far the simplest way to navigate through the confusion of configuration panels, installing, theming and customizing to your heart's delight.
Also worth mentioning is that the kitchen-sink-DVD option of OpenSUSE includes VMware's openvmtools, which means that setting up VMware Player is a snap. Including the tools by default is a nice touch and will no doubt be appreciated by heavy virtual machine users, who have wrestled with VMware installs on various distros. Of course, if VirtualBox is more your bag, you'll have to set that up yourself.
Overall OpenSUSE 11 is a nice evolution in the SUSE line, building on the features in 10.3, but also making the distro more approachable for Linux newbies without withholding power user tools.
The DVD distro in particular offers just about all the options one could ask for and manages to make the installation process every bit as simple and elegant as a closed source system like Mac OS X, which is no small feat.
Provided the name Novell doesn't send you running for the free software hills, OpenSUSE 11 is an easy-to-use distro and worth a closer look. ®
Linux distros of all flavors support a very wide variety of hardware, including Microsoft's Intellimouse. Keep in mind that you are hinging your support for a non-Microsoft OS on a Microsoft piece of hardware that has been optimized to work with the mysterious innards of the Windows OS and no other. Apple users also need to jump through hoops to get them to work with their systems, and versions of Windows published prior to the introduction of the Intellimouse do not exploit all of its features, either.
MS has never been friendly to anyone other than themselves. Their hardware is built for their microverse only. It is a testament to the OSS community that one can configure their non-MS OS to use Microsoft hardware, despite Redmond's best efforts to stymie them.
An excuse for not working with a non-MS OS because your Microsoft mouse may need additional configuration is like insisting on continuing to drive a Humvee because your beaded seat cover won't fit into a more eco-friendly vehicle. Simply get a new seat cover.
I am now a happy bunny continuing over 10 years of continuous SUSE use with 11.0, however, let me assure you that the 1-click install took out my X server, and then when I repaired it, for reasons I didn't know, it removed my kernel too. Luckily, "update installed system" cured that too.
If (as acknowledged by Nvidia) you are using an FX 5200 card don't use the 1- click install, use the shell script. A little note or an updated RPM from openSUSE would be useful.
If you are upgrading from 10.3 you might find this helpful too
rpm -e MozillaFirefox-18.104.22.168-5.1 --noscripts --nodeps
Try the One Click install for NVIDIA driver
"Among the potential gotchas for new users is the lack of readily available NVIDIA drivers."
"One click" install found here: http://en.opensuse.org/NVIDIA
thanks for playing, mjt - author: Inside Linux