Over the last few months while I've been working only on OpenSUSE as my daily driver OS, its become really apparent how far not just OpenSUSE has moved forward in the last few years but Linux as a whole.
I've been doing this long enough that buying the right hardware, choosing the right printer, wondering if a webcam would work on the Linux distro of choice at the time would be a real choice to make, as would leaving the PC on over night to run an update on the distro.
This isn't today's Linux, today i'm honestly finding it easier to get OpenSUSE up and running than OSX or Windows and thats not with any form of bias, i've been using this OpenSUSE/KDE combination for 4 months now and in that time the new hardware is plug and play and as you will see as we go through COVID19, the software I need to get on with life just works.
*Remember when reading this these are my personal opinions which mainly come from 20 years of hands on Linux experience not suggestion, here say or third party input. I’m not asking you to agree with me in any shape or form, I'm writing this as a personal journey not as an effort to start a flame war over which distro, desktop or package management tool is the best. This is just one guys journey not a personal a affront against your beliefs
Also I know I can't spell and my grammer is terrible, you don't need to tell me.*
It Just works
This isn't just a clickbait heading, having been using OpenSUSE for the last 4 months and really put it through its paces I can report that OpenSUSE does just work. I've added hardware and run software which you'd expect to run on Windows or Mac and the OS keeps on working. In addition using Dolphin and many of the other tools which come on the OpenSUSE KDE desktop just make life easier as i don't need multiple applications to do the same job.
Zoom Video Conference
Like most I've jumped on the Zoom Bandwagon, I've done this because it is cross platform so i can run it on Android, Chromebook or OpenSUSE and its been accessible and useable on all three platforms.
There has been some poor press around Zoom, some of which is down to Zoom however some of it is down to people not watching the tutorial video. Some of the complaints are well covered in the Tutorials.
Zoom on OpenSUSE picjs up my Jabra Mini Conference speaker over USB or Bluetooth, my inbuilt camera and my 1080p external USB Camera.
Microsoft released a native supported Linux DEB/RPM a few months back and this runs on OpenSUSE as you'd expect. Its on feature parity with the Windows version and I've had no issues with Video chats with one or more people. Unfortunately Teams on Linux suffers from the same problem Teams for Mac has, the CPU gets hot and the fan on the laptop kicks in.
Much like Zoom, Teams supports the mic, speaker and webcams i've thrown at it, all low medium priced Amazon fare and nothing i've had to compile drivers for or install any specific software to get running.
We had a games evening with the Team i look after and I suggested Monopoly, TableTop games on Steam was the platform of choice. I'd never used Steam before however getting it up and running was just an RPM away. There were no adverse issues and the software worked really well with 15 people playing Monopoly on it.
What I did however learn about Steam was support of games, I was under the assumption every game worked on every supported Steam platform so bought Dirt and F1 2019 only to find out that they are not supported on the Linux version of Steam.
I got a mail a few days ago from Google to get Stadia for 3 months free. Installing Google Chrome I was up and running on Stadia in seconds. As it works differently from steam and is cloud based the issue with games downloads I saw with steam isn't an issue.
As a Driving game fan I got the included Grid game and it was as smooth as silk, no glitching or stuttering issues (other than my appalling driving skill)
Other Application Examples
Some other examples of Applications which have come a long way are LibreOffice which works seamlessly with MS Office files. There is Hiri a great app as an alternative to Outlook, There is Termius for remote SSH connectivity and the native Spotify client works flawlessly for Music or Podcasts.
Where Do I get support for OpenSUSE?
No matter how solid any distro is getting support will be needed at some point, everyone at any level is going to have problems at some point. The question is where do you go for support for OpenSUSE
The first place to look for most will be Google, however unlike Ubuntu and Fedora I've found Googling for problems with OpenSUSE has been a mixed bag. There is a lot of support out there however it often gets mixed up with Suse's Enterprise offerings or very old releases of Leap.
While i'm not saying this isn't a good place to start, the more complex of issues start to get harder to find answers using this method.
This is the place to really start looking for help, there is a good amount of information both historical and current on this Forum. For most of the problems as a new user this is totally the place to go. My personal experience may be based on the slightly more technical nature of what I've asked a few times not being something most of the active supporters on the forum run into day to day.
Even if you don't ask questions on this forum, its worth keeping an eye on it as you may be able to help someone else and communities live and die by the people who answer questions.
OF all the places I've personally looked for support Reddit's OpenSUSE subreddit is the one I've had the most communication with other OpenSUSE users on. Some of it is the usual Reddit drivel, however there are plenty of grown ups on this sub to steer the conversation on the right path.
Again like the OpenSUSE forums, this subreddit is only as active as the people who help on it, and there is a lot of interesting OpenSUSE and OpenSUSE user stuff going through here to keep coming back daily.
This was a feature i didn't even know existed in Telegram before i stumbled on this page. Telegram has "Forums" or "Groups" on it. There is a really active chat channel on Telegram.
Discord is something I was advised to look at when I was looking for an alternative to Teams for a 15+ user video conference system, while it did not fit what we needed, it is another great location for OpenSUSE support, there are several discord channels which link into some of the options I've listed here. The Chat on Discord is really active and again a good place to ask and be involved in.
The last location for looking for support is Youtube Search, much like google search for OpenSuse support its a bit hit and miss, there are however some great tutorial videos here worth watching.
As I've posted some thoughts about getting support for OpenSUSE i thought sharing some useful tools for troubleshooting not just OpenSUSE but any Linux distro.
Top -> Htop -> Glances
When it comes to finding out what processes are running on your system and what resources they are consuming the commnd is top which will show you a realtime listing of your system process consumption
However there is always another tool which displays this information in a more user friendly way, that would be htop
sudo zypper in htop
htop is like top a realtime display of what is going on with your system displayed in a more colourful and visually appealing way. However htop goes far beyond what is displayed on the default screen. There is a great guide here
Then there is Glances
Glances builds on htop and provides a total dashboard for what is happening on your system expanding past the process information and providing a lot of additioanl detail on your running system.
Where top and its derivatives will tell you all about the processes running on your OpenSUSE system powertop is there to tell you what is using the power on your device.
Powertop is hugely useful for finding out whats draining your battery.
While top, htop, glances, powertop are all command line tools Netdata is the next steop up being a realtime snapshot of your system in your web browser
The installation is from the command line and will ask for sudo access when it needs it.
bash <(curl -Ss https://my-netdata.io/kickstart.sh)
Once installed you may need to open the firewall on OpenSUSE
sudo firewall-cmd --add-port=19999/tcp --permanent
Then you can access netdata using
Once the page loads up you'll find a wealth of information at your fingertips from the highlevel CPU, RAM and NET information and then drill down to see what applications are doing on the system.
The config for Netdata is held in /etc/netdata/netdata.conf and if you're so inclined you could point the data from multiple Netdata endpoints into an InfluxDB and forward that to Grafana for additional database.
If you're running btrfs on OpenSUSE then you may have noted that the du (disk usage) command may not show you all the information you need.
btrfs-du is designed to see disk usage over BTRFS snapshots
sudo wget https://raw.githubusercontent.com/nachoparker/btrfs-du/master/btrfs-du -O /usr/local/sbin/btrfs-du sudo chmod +x /usr/local/sbin/btrfs-du
the command can then be run as
which will show
There is some more reading here
This month has been all about using OpenSUSE as my daily driver and getting on with it and the OS has stood up to the task well. The software i need is available and I have found good outlets for support questions.