openSUSE 12.3 was released last week and it continues to keep the desktop what it should be – a powerful ‘computer’. openSUSE is while known for its professional design and polish there are certain things that you may want to do to get the best of of this great open source operating system.
Here is a list of top 10 things I did after installing openSSUSE 12.3.
#1 Resolve Network Issues
Many users are reporting problems with network issues after reboot. Let’s say you installed using the network method via protected WiFi. Everything works fine until you boot into the new install. The release notes come in handy in resolving the issue. Open YAST 2, click Support, then click release notes and go straight to section 4.1.
In the terminal, the following commands will ensure that NetworkManager in Plasma works properly.
Stop the service first
# systemctl is-active network.service && # systemctl stop network.service
# systemctl --force enable NetworkManager.service
Enable the service again
# systemctl start network.service
#2 Fine tune Yast software installation
One thing that irritated me while installing or removing any app in openSUSE using the Yast software manager was that it closes after you perform an action. At time may want to do something and you will have to re-open it every time. The great thing about openSUSE is that you can fine-tune and change every aspect of it to your liking.
Open Yast and go to /etc/sysconfig Editor > ‘System’ > Yast2 > PKGMGR_ACTION_AT_EXIT
Here the default setting would be ‘close’, change it to ‘summary’.
Click ok and you are done. Now after performing any task it won’t close on its own and will give the summary of the task completed.
#3 Make LibreOffice look great
The menu-bar of Libreoffice looks ugly under Plasma. But there is an easy way to fix it.
1. Remove libreoffice-kde4 packages
2. install kde-gtk-config
3. install gtk3-engine-oxygen
Now, go to
desktop settings > application appearance > Gtk configuration
Here select oxygen-gtk in both GTK2 and 3 themes. Now, you Gtk apps will look beautiful and KDEfied.
#4 Enable extra repositories
openSUSE has thousands of applications and packages, but by default all these repositories are not enabled due to patent or licensing reasons. Pacman is one such repo which will give you access to packages and applications like VLC.
So, open Yast and go to software repositories. Then click on ‘Add’ button and select ‘Community Repositories’. You will be presented with a list of available repositories and you can select ‘pacman’. Click on OK and It will refresh the repositories. Now you can easily install applications like VLC and others.
#5 Get more applications through OBS, openSUSE’s PPA
New openSUSE users may not be aware that openSUSE has something called openSUSE Build Service aka OBS which works like Ubuntu’s popular PPA. However, OBS is used by the larger GNU/Linux community to build packages for other distros as well. Yast again openSUSE’s goal remains to ‘collaborate’ with others and to create tools to help others as well instead of ‘for Ubuntu’ kind of approach. These things simply makes openSUSE more respectable when compared with others.
According to latest stats openSUSE Build Service hosts 30759 projects, with 202193 packages, in 47041 repositories and is used by 35114 confirmed developers.
OBS offers a very powerful online search where you can search for the package you need and then install with one click. This is yet another edge openSUSE has over Ubuntu which doesn’t have any easy way to search and install applications from PPAs. There is no need to open the terminal or copy-paste the repo URL as you have to do in Ubuntu. Everything is click next.
#6 Get your Android device working under openSUSE (KDE)
Independent developers have done an incredible job at bringing Android support to GNU/Linux. In order to be able to connect and access your Android devices from Plasma’s Dolphin, open software.opensuse.org (OBS) and search for kio_mtp (select the version of openSUSE you are running). If the package is still in ‘testing/unstable’ stage, openSUSE will ask you to deliberately click on the button ‘Show unstable package’ so that you are aware of the fact) and then the rest it one-click install.
It will also add and enable that repo where the packages is hosted so you can get future updates automatically. Do the same process for ‘libmtp’ and once both these packages are installed, reboot your system. Now you can connect and access your Android devices from openSUSE.
#7 Need ATI/Nvidia drivers?
If you are running openSUSE the chances are that you don’t need to install the non-free Nvidia drivers as the open source drivers work out of the box. But if you do want to use Nvidia drivers as there can be some tearing in videos, you can easily install them with one click. Visit this page and choose the appropriate driver.
If you have AMD/ATI cards then you can easily install drivers for these cards from this page [install ATI/AMD drivers], as usual it’s a 1-click affair.
#8 Install media codecs
I never needed to install extra codecs once I installed Amarok and VLC. But if you do need to install media codecs, you can easily do that with one click from this page [install media codecs in openSUSE 12.3].
You can also turn your openSUSE system into a powerful media server to stream movies, music and images over the local network. Check out this guide to install Plex Media Server on openSUSE.
#9 Unleash the power of Plasma, use Krunner
Many new Plasma users may not be aware that there is this powerful tool called Krunner, which can be triggered by Alt+F2 key. You can do quite a lot from this tool – click on the ‘wrench’ button to see all the options there. That’s the ‘power’ you expect from a ‘computer’ not some ATM machine like functionality. You can open indexed files, perform tasks like calculation, conversion, open files and much more. You can get Unity’s HUD like feature in Plasma (which was actually developed almost a year before HUD was introduced) by installing appmenu-Qt [check out the appmenu section in this article]. If you use Telepathy, you can use Krunner to connect to a person.
So this is pretty much what you need to fine tune your openSUSE installation. If you want to tweak it further, you can check out the great wiki which will have answers to most of your questions.
That’s the beauty of a ‘pure’ GNU/Linux based distributions like openSUSE and KDE – they make your computer personal again!