If you’ve followed my dents on identi.ca, you may have noticed that I asked people for their recommendations for a good KDE4 Linux distribution. Well after a bit of thought I decided that I would move away from Kubuntu to openSUSE. Why the change?
- KDE4 is the desktop environment that gets all the attention and polish. Kubuntu is great and valiant effort by the community to bring the Ubuntu experience to KDE4. However, there is a lot of polish and integration missing that openSUSE provides.
- A system that supports my hardware. From some weird reason, the Ubuntu kernel maintainers removed a flag that cause my DVD burner not to see CDs. This is not the case in openSUSE. I actually tried to burn something off a LiveUSB before installing openSUSE. Yes, I could of recompiled my kernel with the right flags. But if I wanted to do that, I wouldn’t have moved off Gentoo to Kubuntu.
- A system with lots of packages and community repositories. This is why I didn’t choose some of the lesser known distributions. openSUSE (and Fedora) do a good job at this.
- A stable system. Fedora does not do that. The upcoming release of Kubuntu LTS et al, seems to break things. openSUSE is extremely conservative in this manner.
- Something I am familiar with. This was not a hyper-important point, but I do like the fact that I’ve used SuSE in the past. So installing openSUSE is a bit like going back to an old and comfortable place.
And so far I am pleased. The desktop looks polished, quick and a great KDE4 experience. All that said there are somethings I don’t like:
- Configuration is weird. I am not a huge fan of YaST. It is good, but somehow my brain has gotten used to thinking either configuration files or KDE’s System Settings.
- Leaving Upstart. Upstart is really, really neat way of dealing with services. Now I’m forced to think in terms of rc.d runlevels and I’m not a happy bodkin.
- NXServer installation breaks things. Oh yes it does. I fought for quite a while with getting my OpenSSH server starting at boot. It looks like the bootscript for nxsensor (nxserver’s statistics gathering engine) screws up runlevels. Never ever had this issue in Ubuntu.
- No DEBs. I miss DEBs, aptitude and various DEB tool. I’m hoping that zypper and yast manage RPM dependencies in a saner manner than what I remember from 2004-2006ish.
Somethings I look forward to trying out:
- How easy updates work. openSUSE 11.3 is in the works, and I can hardly wait until it comes out in July. I got a taste of KDE 4.4 via a backport PPA in Kubuntu. And I want that that goodness, without my system acting weirdish after the update.
- Easy to do backups. I could not for the life of me setup a decent backup scheme under Kubuntu. openSUSE provides a backup module right into YaST.
- Better performance. So far openSUSE feels snappier than Kubuntu. We’ll see what will happen once I restore all data from a backup.
- Developing and distributing KDE and Qt with ease. This is a huge one. I want to get into programming in Qt and enhancing the KDE experience. I’m hoping that the tools and build system in openSUSE makes this braindead easy.