Monday, June 23, 2008

openSUSE 11 installation this weekend

I installed openSUSE 11 x86-64 with KDE4 on a dell latitude D630 this weekend. Overall, it is very clear that a lot of work went into this release. Congratulations to the team!

Centrino Core 2 Duo
nVIDIA Quadro NVS 135M
WXGA 1280x800 widescreen
Intel PRO/Wireless 3945AG

Some quick pluses and minuses:
+ Installation and boot-up are a lot faster. I found my jaw on the floor at one point. A DVD-based installation based mostly on the defaults took about ten minutes.

+ love how the installer used kexec to boot the installed kernel after the initial installation (instead of doing a full restart).

+ Overall the whole system seems more responsive and snappy, esp. firefox

+ like the inclusion of compiz fusion and emerald (and the new eye candy they bring, esp. the rotating cylinder features).

+ love the Expo feature in compiz (ok maybe this isn't new to you all but I hadn't played around with it until now)

+ Configured wifi card with no problems

- Had to manually download and install the nvidia driver and use sax2 -r -m 0=nvidia to set it up - there's a tool for this in SLED but didn't see it in openSUSE/KDE4 -- anyone know if it's there? -- anyway I was hoping it would add the nvidia repo and do all that for me

- compiz performance with the nvidia card is choppy at best --- that may not be the distro's fault per se --- tried playing with the settings in the nvidia config tool but it didn't seem to help --- if
you are running this, what are the recommended settings?

- NetworkManager didn't detect my access point; had to type it in.

- had to do rcnetwork restart /and/ manually startup NetworkManager after waking from suspend-to-ram --- anyone got it working?

neutral observations:
* the widgets are interesting but don't do anything for me productivity-wise
* Noticed a new compression scheme is used in RPMs such that 10.x RPMs wouldn't work directly (release notes).
* it now takes two ctrl-alt-backspaces to bounce X (instead of just one) (release notes)

still to try:
* 3G modem on AT&T - this took some finagling in ubuntu. I've read about how well NetworkManager integrates with EV-DO and UMTS modem cards. I have a usb-connected phone that doubles as a modem.
* WebEx Training Manager
* Xen
* iPod

In summary: a great effort, lots of neat features. I'm not sure it would replace my hardy heron laptop yet. Looking forward to 11.1.