The OpenSUSE 12.3 distribution is a Linux desktop solution that is working very well on my laptop. I decided to install it on that instead of on my desktop and everything is working a treat. I had problems getting this distribution working with ATI hardware, so I wanted it on my laptop. It had an unfinished installation of Windows 7 Home Premium on it and I needed something better to install than that. The Yast2 installer is a very good tool for installing and configuring your OpenSUSE system. Once the system is installed, use the commands below to update the repository information and install any pending updates.
Update repository information.
21:29:55 - john@gandalf \~$ sudo zypper ref
Download and install any pending updates.
21:29:55 - john@gandalf \~$ sudo zypper up
The OpenSUSE distribution has always been a quality choice for a Linux user who wants a good choice of software and a good looking desktop theme. I am using the Gnome Shell 3.8 desktop and it is very fast and sleek on my machine. Not all of the extensions are compatible yet, but it is getting there. I have used the SUSE distribution on and off since SUSE 9.2. Here is a screenshot of the old SUSE 9.2 KDE desktop. I remember using this distribution; it was a quality experience and everything worked. Getting the gstreamer plugins installed to enable MP3 and Xvid playback is a bit fiddly; but other than that I am very happy with the whole feel of the Gnome desktop and the software is all working perfectly. Installation was quite painless with automatic detection and shrinking of Windows partitions to fit the Linux installation with a reasonable amount of hard disk space. I used an image written to a USB drive with the Linux Mint 14 USB Image Writer and that was faster than installing from a DVD disk. OpenSUSE 12.3 has a new feature called one click install that allows you to click a button on a website that links you to various packages and the package manager will load and you may install the packages that are required very easily.
This page is an example; go here to get the multimedia codecs required for MP3 and other codecs playback: http://opensuse-guide.org/codecs.php. There are instructions on this page on how to install the codecs manually as well; using the command-line. But this does work. I cannot change the screen brightness on my laptop using the key shortcuts or the brightness and lock settings in System Settings. I found this command that you have to execute as root that allows you to change the screen brightness easily.
The number 3500 is a low setting, 3500 can be replaced by a number up to 4882, 4882 corresponding to the maximum brightness level of the screen.
gandalf:~ # echo 3500 > /sys/class/backlight/intel_backlight/brightness
This trick works instantly to reduce the brightness of the screen. Use the command sudo su - to get to a proper root prompt. So I am very happy with OpenSUSE 12.3 and it is well worth downloading and installing to try out the new Gnome Shell 3.8 desktop and the new software.