Review: openSUSE 12.2 KDE

It has been over 10 months since I reviewed openSUSE 12.1. Since then, version 12.2 has been released, so I am reviewing it now.

Main Screen + openSUSE Welcome Screen
In my review of openSUSE 12.1, I was unhappy with the fact that Skype and Google Talk would not work, especially given that they both worked in openSUSE 11.4. I want to see if those and other regressions have been fixed with version 12.2. Also, I see that the GNOME developers want to make their desktop regress further, so with few exceptions (like Pinguy OS), I will stay away from GNOME 3/Shell as much as possible; that is why I am only reviewing the KDE edition of openSUSE 12.2 today.

I did this review using a live USB system made with MultiSystem. I did not test the installation. Follow the jump to see what it's like.

After the boot menu came...a boot splash! Finally, openSUSE includes a real boot splash rather than just scrolling text; it had a really cool animation of fuzzy dots flying around the openSUSE logo. That quickly gave way to the KDE splash screen (which is the default except for the matching background), which gave way to the desktop. The desktop is almost identical to what has been present in previous versions, so I won't dwell on that too much. I will say that the Kickoff menu is now better and worse than before, in that although applications like GwenView that previously had generic menu entry icons now have their own proper icons, many applications have been nested into subcategories that exist essentially only for those applications, and this makes the menu way too cluttered and confusing. In addition, this appears to form the core structure of application menus in KDE in openSUSE, because switching to the KDE Lancelot menu didn't help. Also, I found fonts in titlebars to be as bad as before, and some fonts inside applications were worse than before, though they were generally still fairly readable. Overall, though, the desktop still works just fine.

Mozilla Firefox + LibreOffice Writer
Mozilla Firefox is the default browser, though Konqueror is still present for whatever reason. I had to use the YaST2 Package Manager to get Adobe Flash, because trying to use the tool to install plugins from within Mozilla Firefox did not work this time. After that, though, I was able to watch YouTube and Hulu fine; my laptop's volume keyboard shortcuts worked well too.

LibreOffice is included as the default productivity suite and has a customized splash screen of its own as well. Unfortunately each component of LibreOffice is hidden in a separate subcategory in the Kickoff menu for no good reason. Other installed applications include other KDE utilities and games.

The YaST2 Package Manager hasn't changed much from last time, though now its various components are buried deep in different subcategories in the Kickoff menu, which makes it more annoying just to access. It still requires the user to manually and individually deselect each package automatically selected for installation. That said, it is nice in that it prevents the deselection of packages that are dependencies of other packages that the user has specifically selected for installation; I guess you win some and lose some. I was able to use it to install Redshift and the dependencies of Mupen64Plus, after which I was able to install the binary file for Mupen64Plus 1.5. Redshift worked fine, though GTK-Redshift complained about the lack of a "pygtk" package; I think this is an issue with openSUSE package naming. Mupen64Plus and its GUI worked fine, though I wasn't ever able to find it in the Kickoff menu for some reason.

I downloaded the RPM files for Skype and Google Talk from their respective websites. Both of the files when launched with the Apper package installer selected all the other automatically-selected files for installation with no way to deselect those; the only way I could prevent those from being installed was by canceling the installation, and in both cases I was able to do so because Apper got tripped up by the license agreements for both programs.
I then issued the command "sudo zypper in [PACKAGENAME].rpm" in the appropriate directory to install each of the two packages through the CLI, and this thankfully didn't install all those other useless packages. Both worked fine, and this time the mic worked properly, which is great.

YaST2 + Desktop Cube
openSUSE used about 1 GB of RAM at idle, which sounds huge at first; however, there appears to be some process called "clicfs" which is tied to the live CD environment that uses a lot of RAM, so subtracting that yielded about 350 MB of RAM usage at idle. That is quite good for KDE and really for any DE these days. In addition, openSUSE was stable the whole time.

That is where my time with openSUSE 12.2 ended. Given that everything that I usually use worked here and nothing failed in particular, I could see myself installing and using this. That is about the highest recommendation that I can give; plus, I think it is great for newbies in its large selection of software combined with its professional approach to the desktop. In addition, I think this may be the subject of my next long-term review (which will span an equivalent number of UROP hours, but because the semester has started and I am no longer doing my UROP full-time, there will be more days logged in the review).
You can get it here.