openSUSE 12.2: My first take

openSUSE 12.2: My first take

Summary: After several delays, openSUSE 12.2 has finally arrived and it's mostly good news. But along with all the positive experiences, you should watch out for a problem with Grub 2.


It's been over a week now since openSUSE 12.2 was released, and I have been installing it on the various netbooks and laptops around me. It has worked just fine on everything I have tried so far, and my intention was to write a glowing summary of how easy it is to install and how well it works. Then, over the weekend I ran into a small hitch. But first, the good news.

openSUSE 12.2
The openSUSE 12.2 KDE desktop running on an HP Pavilion DM1-3105EZ sub-notebook

The openSUSE 12.2 distribution is available in the usual variety of versions — KDE and Gnome 3 Live images, and a full-blown 4.7GB Installer image. The standard KDE desktop is shown above in a screenshot taken on my HP Pavilion DM1-3105EZ sub-notebook, which has a 1,366x768 display.

However, all is not green and rosy with this distribution — well, mostly green, as seen above, but not entirely rosy. This distribution seems to have experienced a particularly difficult development cycle. There were several delays in the schedule, what appeared to be a full stop in development to re-establish a grip on the process and a final release lacking the integration of a lot of package updates.

The most obvious result of these issues is that after you install from one of the live images, it is important that you then run apper or yast to install the latest updates. That update process will take a good half an hour or more because there are so many updates to install.

Once that is done you will have recent versions of pretty much everything, including Linux kernel 3.4.6, KDE 3.8.5, Firefox 15.0, digiKam 2.6.0 and such.

I can't write about openSUSE KDE — or any other KDE distribution for that matter — without mentioning my favourite netbook desktop, which is included with the standard KDE distribution. Here is a screenshot of that desktop, taken on my Acer Aspire One 522, which has a 1,024x600 screen resolution:

openSUSE 12.2 Netbook
The openSUSE 12.2 netbook desktop running on an Acer Aspire One 522

If you have a netbook or sub-notebook, there are so many reasons to use Linux instead of Windows 7 Stupor Edition, including better performance, no ridiculous arbitrary limitations such as not being able to change the wallpaper or not being able to use an external monitor with an extended desktop. This wonderful KDE netbook desktop is another excellent reason.

But there is one significant problem with the standard openSUSE 12.2 installation, which I didn't run into the first few times that I installed it.

I prefer Legacy Grub to the newer Grub 2, because I find it easier to install and maintain. I think that Grub 2 is over-complicated for my purposes, and I like the openSUSE animated boot screen. So I'm in the habit of changing the bootloader selection in the openSUSE install from Grub 2, which is the default, to Grub.

This past weekend I decided to take a look at Grub 2 again, to see how it has developed since the last time I tried it. Unfortunately, I ran into a very large problem. It failed to install on my HP DM1 system, complaining about not being able to complete the mkinitrd command.

That problem seemed strange and unlikely to me, because I had already installed it on my Acer AO522 with no problem. But another try produced the same result — and reinstalling on the Acer succeeded again. Very strange.

It turns out that the problem is that it does not properly recognise and support the AMD Radeon HD 6310 graphic controller in the DM1, but it handles the Radeon HD 6290 controller in the Acer just fine. The solution is to change the Bootloader from Grub 2 to Grub in the final installation step. Then everything works well.

Topics: Linux, Open Source, Operating Systems

J.A. Watson

About J.A. Watson

I started working with what we called "analog computers" in aircraft maintenance with the United States Air Force in 1970. After finishing military service and returning to university, I was introduced to microprocessors and machine language programming on Intel 4040 processors. After that I also worked on, operated and programmed Digital Equipment Corporation PDP-8, PDP-11 (/45 and /70) and VAX minicomputers. I was involved with the first wave of Unix-based microcomputers, in the early '80s. I have been working in software development, operation, installation and support since then.

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  • openSUSE 12.2: My first take

    Microsoft Windows 7 called, they want their UI back. That green color is absolutely awful. I couldn't work on that desktop for more than 2 minutes without wanting to poke my eyes out. Again linux sets the expectations to be low between the UI and the grub problems.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • The UI is bad but looks like Windows 7

      “Microsoft Windows 7 called, they want their UI back.”
      “Again linux sets the expectations to be low between the UI”

      See wait happens when trying to be the first commentator.
      • Except Windows 7 did it right

        and used better color schemes. As always, linux screwed it up. They blatantly stole the UI and still managed to screw it up.

        See what happens when your a linux developer.
        Loverock Davidson-
        • Are you an MS employee?

          If not, why don't you trying getting a job there and then focus on the windows you love instead of wasting time picking on linux.
          • Don't worry about my employment

            I'm perfectly fine with my current employer. Now stop denying yourself the truth about linux. Accept it and change it for the better, not for the worse which is what is happening.
            Loverock Davidson-
          • I did change for the better

            I changed to OpenSuse. It's my distro of choice. Of course, at work I use Windows 7; and I'm constantly clicking trying to find features that Windows lacks that OpenSuse has built-in.
          • What features are you looking for?

            That Windows lacks that OpenSuse has?
          • @Jazz, You caught him

            Loverock does not use any Linux distro.

            He likes to write FUD comments.
    • That is just a background you moron!

      You can change the bg or go with a gray theme i bet you thought it was like fugly metro on your throat...
      • Hah

        Chancing a wallpaper is too difficult for MS fans... They don't even know they can do it but they use the default what MS has given.
    • Your problem is with KDE, not Linux

      I've disliked KDE for a long time, for just that reason: It's built to be extremely similar to Windows (for newbies, I guess). But you don't have to use KDE to use Linux. I use XFCE, for instance.
      • Nope

        KDE isn't build like Windows, in contrary, Windows use same look as KDE.

        When KDE 1.0 was released, it was totally different to Windows 95 (and 98). It actually was more what Windows 7 and Windows 8 (desktop) is today.

        KDE 4. series started and MS toke its look for Vista and 7. And again, KDE had the smooth style what MS toke to Windows 8 desktop apps.
        • Forgive me - not usually a spelling nazi...

          ..but "took" is the word your looking for, not "toke"... Could be fixed to still include that word though:

          "MS' lead developer had a toke and then took its look for Vista and 7."
    • The Asylum Called

      The want their loverock back
      Alan Smithie
    • Green?

      Green is your big problem? Well, blue is my big problem. It took me all of 2 minutes to change the Windows 7 desktop from blue to a photo of my grandchildren and to change the color scheme to a slate grey. Took the same amount of time to do that in OpenSuse, well at least with the first desktop. I have four different photos for the four different default desktops (and I use them). Windows has no equivalent without third party add-ons.
    • UI

      My first Linux distro, in 2006, looked like this:
      This was before Vista came out, so it could not have copied the Windows 7 UI, unless it travelled through time.

      The comment about the green wallpaper is silly, as you can change it immediately. Good luck with the M$ advertising and Linux bashing.
    • quite a few Win8 tester have been asking for the Win7 UI

      i guess they now have an option to get it;-)
      Richard Flude
  • I love grub2

    Though I didn't use grub2 with OpenSuse, I use it with Ubuntu and I prefer it to grub1.

    I install Linux on my computer dual booting with Windows but always want Windows as my default boot. With grub1 I was setting the number to reflect where Windows was in the list but each time Linux installed a new kernel Windows would go down by two position and I needed to change my grub setting. I never figured out how to maintain using the label with original grub.

    With grub2, I just put the Windows string as the default and each new kernel install automatically rebuild the grub.cfg file and keeps my default on Windows.

    Though I never found a GUI application (anyway 2 years ago, still using Ubuntu 10.04 as I refuse to migrate to Unity) that would let me do that, had to do it through editing config files.
    • Grub Customizer

      How about this?
      Grayson Peddie
      • Thanks Grayson Peddie

        Thanks for that info. :)