Linux Distribution Review: Opensuse 13.1 KDE

I had been looking forward to the release of Opensuse 13.1. 12.3 had been the first time I had used a Opensuse distro and I was impressed – I just had to see what the Opensuse team had done to improve upon that.

The Install

Opensuse 13.1 is the fastest install of an operating system I have seen, it took 30 minutes, if that. The install was to a brand new 500Gb hdd (a gift from my nephew Scot) – I can only assume that this drive is a lot more efficient than the old one!

On first boot there were 2 problems: the open-source video driver just wasn’t up to the job and networking did not start. With a delay in the release of the 13.1 nvidia driver, I had to log in via an alternate console, do some command line voodoo to turn off ‘desktop effects’ in KDE and then reboot – kudos to the opensuse forum gurus for the advice. As soon as I was able to install the nvidia driver, graphics worked without problems. All a bit strange: 12.3 didn’t have this trouble, I used the nouveau driver without a hitch and the same driver works well in Xubuntu 13.10.

For networking, it was simply a matter of switching over to Network Manager in Yast2.

Day to day use

I really like the easy-on-the-eye green/black theme, it’s polished and very nice to look at. OS 13.1 has also benefited from the improvements in KDE4 over the last year or so, KDE feels faster and more stable. I use Opensuse  as my main desktop system, so it has to be reliable – and it really is. To date, the only problem I have had was due to a bug in the qtcurve style (gtk2 version) – I simply switched to an alternate style (oxygen-molecule) until qtcurve was updated.

Some say that KDE is getting too bloated, it certainly has a lot of configuration options but then again it would – it’s a comprehensive desktop environment. In use, it doesn’t feel bloated, it’s nimble (I am using 2Gb of ram) and the application crashes that plagued the initial release of KDE4 are a thing of the past.

Opensuse 13.1 comes with a comprehensive catalog of software to choose from- it’s unlikely that you won’t find a program to suit your needs.

Conclusions

Opensuse 13.1 is a professional, stable desktop system that represents an incremental improvement over 12.3, there are no big changes – it feels faster, lighter and more dependable.

What can I say? I would recommend Opensuse 13.1 KDE to any one that wants a solid desktop OS to do real work on. In my opinion this is the best KDE distribution around at the moment.

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