I installed openSUSE last night. I was buying a whole bunch of Christmas cards from WHSmith (robbing bastards!) when I noticed that they were selling a magazine with all five disks attached, so I got it. I don’t need it being happy with my Ubuntu installation, but sometimes I just can’t help myself when it comes to trying new Linux distributions. It’s been a while since I’ve installed a new one so I was starting to get itchy feet.

Well, it took way longer to install than Ubuntu though the procedure is pretty painless. I didn’t bother reading the magazine instructions and it didn’t mess up, so either I’m just an ace Linux genius or it really is that easy to install (guess which is true). I changed the default partitions to have a separate /home directory as I think this is essential to keep it separated from the main installation just in case you have to reinstall. It managed to update itself over my net connection before it completed, and essentially this included getting the nVidia drivers. I wasn’t looking forward to sorting that out, so it was very welcome to see that SUSE sorts it out for you.

When configuring my monitor it couldn’t find the version of Samsung Synmaster that I had. I don’t blame it for this as I have a very recent model (930BF 19″ TFT) but I just chose one that was close enough for government work and that seemed OK.

Booting in first time I was impressed by how colourful the interface is by default. Seeing as I’m used to Gnome now I wasn’t sure what to expect from KDE – I hadn’t used it since I tried Mandrake a few years ago – but it seems very nice, if a little cluttered. I’d have preferred a different Window Manager to be honest, but these weren’t available at installation. Something like Fluxbox or XFCE would have been great but maybe I can add these later.

One thing that didn’t work was DVD playback. This is hardly surprising as I’ve never seen any free Linux distribution that includes the necessary library (libdvdcss2) for this work. This is understandable due to patenting issues but is easily sorted by following the instructions from the excellent site Jem Report. I tested this with “One Night in Paris”, as you do, and the Kaffeine playback was very satifactory.

I’m going to have to read through a few more articles I think before I’m finished fiddling. I really want a better theme for KDE or even better use a less resource-hungry Window Manager. I also need to install Cedega and get World of Warcraft running on there again, though I suspect that this activity may take a little longer due to me logging back into Ubuntu to play it there.

So far, so good. It’s really improved since the 9.1 version that I tried ages ago and it’s really easy to install, so it’s recommended for people new to Linux, especially of they buy the associated magazine that I did.

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