Wednesday, May 1, 2013

openSUSE is Configuration Torture

I was having a lot of crashes with Linux Mint 14 on my laptop, so I considered trying a distro I didn't try yet. So I went for openSUSE. I regret it.

First, you notice that the wi-fi isn't enabling. This is very weird, because the live CD had it working out of the box. I had to turn on some option in YaST and then things went back to normal. This was a warning of things to come...

Then, there are crazy instructions to install JDK. Your eyes may bleed. So I did what any self-respecting geek would do, I installed the RPM from Oracle, and put together a script to automate the alternative-setting. However, that script isn't perfect and it gave me trouble trying to build LibreOffice.

The pain wasn't over. There are 3 interfaces to set up an HP printer - YaST, the KDE gui, and HP-Setup. Which one should you use? The right answer is HP Setup - not obvious. But if its a non-HP one, then you have to use YaST.

Note that you may need to reconfigure your firewall if you have a network printer. Instructions to do so are pretty unclear, and there is no wizard/magic GUI to do it for you.

Then, there is the fact that the SSH key/password daemon is not supplied out of the box. You need to install ksshaskpass. But the official package doesn't install. But, lucky you, the unofficial one does work.
But that doesn't make it enabled yet, you need to mess with many configuration files.

TrueCrypt doesn't work out of the box, so you need to mess with another configuration file.

Skype didn't work out of the box either, I had to manually pick the audio settings.

And, weirdly, I don't see any pop-up telling me to install updates, which the live CD was showing. No, you need to install an applet for that. But wait, it conflicts with Apper. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa? Oh, and even funnier: YaST doesn't update all the repos you have set up, so you end up using two package managers. Double WAT!

If I wanted this kind of pain, I'd have installed Arch. And I'm doubting that Arch may be more sane...

I seriously can't recommend this distribution for my friends and family. The ease of setting up a printer in Ubuntu/Mint and Fedora is leagues ahead of openSuse. And as a sidenote, I'm not sure I actually got my printer to work reliably yet.

And about those stability issues? Well, I got a few crashes and freezes too...

My gut feeling right now is that I'll install Mint 15 when it is released this month.


  1. I think you should try Mint-Debian. At least some of those issues wouldn't have happened and I find it quite stable with MATE, but not as good as Gnome 2.x yet ;-(

  2. Agreed with KeithCu. I have pretty old laptops around the house and my wife's is set up with mint-debian. No complaints from her. I run updates as they come out. I'm running Slackware on a couple of systems, Debian Wheezy on another....think I have all my kids on some flavor of Mint.

  3. I feel your pain. Every so often I decide to give openSuse a try. Currently I have openSuse 12.3 mostly running on a Lenovo X120e that is triple booting with Mint 14 and CentOS. OpenSuse was by far the worst to set up and configure. The mishmash of Yast and KDE configuration is a nightmare. I found Arch far easier to set up, but inevitably, things would break after an update. Maybe it is time to try Slackware.

  4. I had nothing but trouble with Mint-Debian. It just was as unstable as it could be. The regular Mint release was far better. As far as openSUSE goes, I did not have the same experience. I installed it and set it up pretty quickly and easily. My only problem with it was a strange permissions problem that prevented Amarok to use my music volume that's on an NTFS volume. I set permissions to all of the files as root and would not let me change them, no matter what. I could play each file individually but not add them to the library. I'm currently running PCLinuxOS 64 bit and it's a godsend. I love it.

    1. It set the files to root, not me. LOL Typo... I tried to set it to user, but it just wouldn't work.