OpenSuse 10.3 Has Its Good Points
Last week I posted a harsh review about OpenSuse 10.3, but I also pointed out that there were some good things about it. Here is a quick summary of what I enjoyed during my excursion with this GNU/Linux distribution. I will not be talking about the features that have existed for some time (like the NetworkManager), because everyone is probably familiar with them. However they do deserve a quick mention, because they make Linux more autonomous and more adaptable in different environments. If I had a laptop, I would be running OpenSuse on it.
The artwork in OpenSuse 10.3 was one of the main reasons I decided to try it out. The wallpaper, the splash screen, and the bootup logo is just stunning. I really like the contrast that the green color creates. Also the color makes the desktop look more professional, unlike a certain brown scheme.
KickOff is an initiative by Novell to redesign the big K in the corner of your KDE desktop that acts as a Start menu. I think they have done an exceptional job with it, because it integrates several features together that make it more easy for me to find my documents, and start my applications. I will also be installing this menu on my Gentoo installation. Some of the features that caught my eye were:
- Integration with Beagle. I can find my documents and applications just by typing in their name. Adding this feature to a place that I use to start my applications makes it a great step towards improved user friendliness.
- Newly Installed Applications. When I install new applications, I don’t always know where they have been placed. The KickOff menu gives me a seperate tab with all the new apps, as shown by the attached screenshot.
- Most commonly used apps on the front page. This is one of the best features, because I commonly use the start menu to launch 5 applications. If they are on the front page, in big letters, it’s easier for me to find them and click them
- Organization by functionality. The Start menu traditionally houses several different types of links: recent documents, applications, settings, search functions, computer maintenance functions. The KickOff menu placed each of them in different tabs, that are visible along the bottom of the menu as large squares. This makes them very easy to locate quickly, and click them without wasting too much time.