openSuSE’s 10.3 was released on 4th October 2007, 10 months after openSuSE 10.2. I’ve been using SuSE since its version 10 and its getting better and better. I think its the only OS that is so professional in its approach and that is a perfect contender from the Community driven GNU/Linux OS projects against the desktop OS’s like Windows and the OS X variants (yup I include the latest Vista and Leopard).
I placed an order for a DVD on the same day it was released. I got it from KiranInfotech here in India. All I had to do is login to http://www.kiranInfotech.com go to their Linux CD store pick a distro from the list and it get added to your shopping cart. on checkout it has option to pay by Cheque, Online funds transfer, Paypal and few other. You can also track your current placed order status on the Account profile details. I got the DVD in 3 days. It was time to pop it in and try out the distro.
With this version openSuSE has an Installer that can be run into Windows Environment for the initial setup, so you don’t need to go into BIOS and change the boot priority. What this does is modify boot.ini(in case of Windows XP) and adds openSuSE Installer in the boot menu and restarts. On the boot menu select the Installer with the DVD in the Drive, this starts up the Installation process and are Greeted by a Lush Green screen. The colour theme is all green this time, but it looks good. Rest installation is same as in the previous versions using YaST. There are few changes as in the DVD is added as a repository, it also ask you if u want to add the community repositories, I choose not to as you can do that anytime. Package selection is done using patterns introduced in openSuSE10.2. It detected all my hardware without any issues. From the Desktop Environments this time you have 3 options KDE, GNOME, XFCE.I usually prefer GNOME. For those systems that are low on resources XFCE is the best option. It took 40 Mins for the complete setup as I installed all the three DE, and development packages.
openSuSE 10.3 boot in 25 secs flat!!!!!!!!!. A MAJOR improvement over previous distros which was around 40 – 60 secs.I logged in as root and to my surprise I was warned about logging in as root and that whether I want to continue. As I continued the login process I was greeted by the opensuse10.3 GNOME login Splash. The desktop this time looks very refreshing because of the new colour scheme. I fired up Amarok and tried playing my MP3’s and viola! MP3 support is built in. They have included the Fluendo MP3 plugin in the package list. But when I tried playing the videos in DIVX, x264, Real format it refused to play as codecs were not installed. So I got into YaST and this time YaST has a new GNOME native GTK interface rather than QT. The Menu is very well organized and goes with the Control Center Menu Arrangement. There I went to Software Repositories connected to Internet and it automatically downloaded the available repos and asked me to select the ones I need. The repos package list was downloaded and cached. Now all I had to do is start up software manager from YaST, search the packages I want and add to the Installer list. All the dependencies are automatically handled. But I prefer SMART Package Manager to YaST’s new Installer as YaST donot save downloaded packages (If there’s any way please let me know) . Also YaST refreshes the repos every time I start Software Installer, This is very slow compared to SMART. Anyways all in all its good. Other packages included on the DVD are
Amarok Media Jukebox, Banshee Music Jukebox, TOTEM Movie Player, Real Player 10, K3B CD/DVD Burning, Brasero CD/DVD Burning and Lot more.
GIMP 2.2, Inkscape, F-Spot and Lot more.
Openoffice.org 2.3, GNUCash, Evolution and Lot more.
Firefox 188.8.131.52, Pidgin 2.0.1, Kopete, Ekiga and Lot more.
Anjuta IDE, Mono Develop, Kdevelop, QT Designer, GTK Designer, Cervicia Revision Control and Lot more.
This is the best thing that could happen to the GNU/Linux. This was the much needed improvement in the Tux camp and I think all the distros should follow the same process. Lemme explain how this works. Lets say you don’t know what are repositories, how to add them and then select the packages to Install them. Just go to Build Service http://build.opensuse.org search for the package you want and click the “1-click Install Link” this will start the YaST Meta Package Handler, it will add all the repos required for the Installation, figure out all the dependencies download them and Install the packages. Its very easy and best for a newbie.
A Month Later….
I’m very happy with this distro, It has everyting any Desktop user will ever need. Ive aso downloaded few other packages like Exaile Media Jukebox, VLC Media Player, Kmplayer, Gstreamer Plugins for all the encoded videoplayback like Gstreamer ugly, bad,good, Extras. ffmpeg and others. Compiz Fusion, Avant Window Navigator few new icon Set, Wallpapers.