After hearing OpenSuSE 10.3 had been released and had a CD available, I decided to give it a quick test drive.
The CD is not a live CD, so I had to install it instead. The install process for the CD took about 4 hours, due to the extra software that needed to be downloaded. This time varies for your internet connection/amount of apps you choose to install.
After installing, the system booted rather quickly. I chose the KDE interface, seeing as it was the most updated desktop environment, with some KDE4 bits here-and-there.
The first thing I noticed is that there were several icons on the desktop… Not bad, but new to me, a person who had been used to a clean desktop. The KDE menu had been replaced with their own version, which had a “favorites” menu, as well as several other tabs that got me where I needed to go.
Instead of going through every feature, I will give what I liked, and disliked about the system:
WHAT I LIKED:
– The “open with firefox” menu item in Konqueror. Yeah, it’s a small feature, but VERY nice, especially when certain sites would not work.
– The “K” menu. It may have been a bit bulky, and it may have taken a while to get to the applications I wanted, my favorites were there, and I only use certain applications, not every single one. So it was nice.
– The Control panel was nice, but was a bit like using the Kubuntu control center. There was a different control center for other items, but they all could be found within the default control center. Those that were not in the default control center were the software management apps.
WHAT I DISLIKED:
– The software management. OpenSuSE may have quite a few packages, but the installation of those applications was a bit of a hassle. Basically, it was like using Synaptic. I like app installers that show applications, not library file mixed in.
– Complex gettin’ around. From Control Centers and Applications, OpenSuSE takes a bit longer to get what you want done. Not that it takes a long time, but it does take considerably longer to 1) navigate to your app and 2) start it up. SuSE is a bit heavier system, much heavier than Ubuntu (or in this case Kubuntu). The one thing that bothered me is that all the applications I was used to were installed, yet the system seemed much slower than other distros I have tried, with the same apps installed. I am sure it’s an internal thing (startup was the same as Kubuntu, though).
OpenSuSE 10.3 (on a scale of 1-10) : 6
While overall usability was nice, it’s speed was okay, and codec installation and application install was bit more difficult, with the former being near impossible. Configuring graphics/wireless drivers was very difficult as well(they could use restricted-manager). The KDE4 bits were also very unstable; I would consider it beta stage. I would recommend, if you have the time, as well as an expendable computer, to give OpenSuSE a try.