Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dear openSUSE: Your 11.4 release is great. Thanks a lot!

Dear openSUSE,
Your 11.4 release is great. Thanks a lot!

I must admit I still feel a mixture of guilt and annoyance after the 11.3 release. Falling into a category of users you hadn't thought of, on one hand I need dual screen settings and on the other hand I decided not to invest the time in fixing it myself. In stead I created this blog to rant about such issues.

Consequently, I have felt guilt for seven months. For exposing your tiny little flaw to a wider audience than the forums.opensuse.org users. For not really helping out by trying to work around my issue myself and then sharing my experience. This time I chose an option I so often have scorned when chosen by others: whining.

Anyway, you may have even bettered automatic graphics handling now, more drivers hopefully went opensource in the mean time, installing proprietary drivers may be easier by now et cetera. But I just inserted the 11.4 DVD and clicked “update”. And lo and behold: you now have a “Save as Default” button in your resolution settings menu, not just an “apply” button like in 11.3. Allow me to forget about ATI driver downloads, fglrx and init 3 for a while.

"Size & Orientation" window in "Display and Monitor" system settings. Now with one vital button more!

Now, while logging on, the resolution of my screens change to my desired settings by themselves. Life quality, right there. And don't get me wrong: I'm not leaving you or opensource behind at all. I still regularly have to wonder how Microsoft Windows got so bogged down at work, what salvation Apple fans feel from their overpriced gadgets and generally why people continue to be so ignorant.

The handling of double screen setups in openSUSE is now – hands down – better than in Windows (doing it occationally elsewhere). The desktop graphics and functionality can easily compete or outdo Windows and Mac. And I didn't do any reading or consulting of websites at all to make this work.

To top it off, you shipped 11.4 with Firefox 4.0 beta 12. I was surprised to see beta software in a standard setup – but thanks for that too. I'm not the guy who have been ranting about browser speeds because in my experience browsers are slow when their users are idiots. But I must say Firefox 4 is significantly faster than both the previous version and the Chrome I'm running on the Mac. Has a couple of other improvements too. It didn't crash or cause any sort of problem for me yet. Even if it did I'll be fine (band-aid in the back pack kind of guy) and first of all I appreciate you took me to the bleeding edge again.

[Technical notes: Most users will probably be happier with their openSUSE after a visit to the openSUSE Community Wiki page on restricted formats. Also, once again sound disappeared for me on the first boot but a visit to YaST's hardware section and an experiment or two with the audio settings fixed that too. Note that some or all of my issues may actually be KDE issues, not actually caused by openSUSE.]

Final note: someone else did a video review of openSUSE 11.4 RC2: