Saturday, August 06, 2011

Installing openSUSE 11.4 KDE

Lots of people complain about how hard installing Linux is. But, is it really? In the early days that might be true, but the Ubuntu install is so simple and straightforward I find it easily compares to Windows 7's installation process. Simpler than that even; faster too.

So, here I'll give installing openSUSE a try. Even if Ubuntu's easy to install there's no guarantee that other Linux distributions are the same. Here's the tools I'll be using for the installation:

1. VirtualBox 4.0.8. I've setup a VM with 1GB of RAM and 20GB of HDD space for testing purposes. Eveything else is default.

2. openSUSE 11.4 KDE LiveCD x86_64. I'll be testing with the 64-bit version of openSUSE. This is the current stable version.

Installing openSUSE

The initial boot splash
Here's the actual installation.

openSUSE's boot menu
I must admit I like openSUSE's artwork. I don't normally like green all that much but the art team did a great job here.

Installation welcome screen
I've opted to go straight to install instead of booting to a usable live desktop. I originally created a VM with 512MB RAM (the same as with my Ubuntu VM) but the openSUSE fails to boot to live desktop and the installer says I need at least 1GB RAM. This isn't a big deal nowadays but users with older PCs that are still very much serviceable will face problems here. By contrast, the Ubuntu installation can handle having only 512MB RAM.

Selecting your time zone

First comes time zone selection. Nothing too hard here. In fact, with a clickable world map I'd say it's actually better than Windows which only has a single drop down list.

Partitioning your hard disk
Next up is partitioning your hard disk. From personal experience, I'd say this is the hardest part of any operating system installation. Lots of people have trouble understanding what a "partition" is, or why there's even a need for one. But then again, those who perform OS installations tend to be more knowledgeable than that. Barring first time installers, most people doing a OS install should already have a clue.

In my case, I've never tried a LVM-based installation so I have no idea what to expect there. I stuck to using the default partition-based installation. Ubuntu's installation doesn't have these options, sticking instead to the tried and true partition-based setup.

User account setup
With partitioning out of the way, we go straight to user account setup. This should be the easiest part of any installation. It's just filling out your user information and selecting a password for your account.

Confirming your installation settings

That's it! That wasn't so hard. Now it's just confirming your settings are just the way you like them.

Wait for the installation to complete then reboot
After installation completes. You'll need to reboot to complete setup. Unlike Ubuntu which installs everything in a single pass, openSUSE seems to follow the Windows two pass installation.

First boot

First boot automatic configuration process
On first boot, there's a automatic configuration stage akin to the Windows first boot. There's nothing to do here but wait, really.

Finally, the openSUSE's KDE desktop
Once initial setup is complete, you'll finally get to see the default KDE desktop as seen on openSUSE. That wasn't so hard, was it?