Couple of weeks ago openSUSE-project released their latest desktop-Linux. That is the distro The Man himself, Linus Torvalds had a dispute about security policy of needing a root access to add a new wireless network. He actually said that openSUSE-people are morons. A year ago, they were very defensive and insisted that Mr. Man had it wrong. In reality: no other operating system requires demi-god permissions to do such a trivial task. In 12.3 the morons finally got it, connecting to a new wireless LAN does not require any special permissions.
My hardware for running a desktop-Linux is a very old Apple MacBook. The Mac OS X system info says, that this is a 1,1 hardware, making it pretty much one of the first ever Intel Macs there exists. It has two gigs of RAM and enough hard disk to run pretty much any modern disto. Being a Mac, it also has enough Intel chips in it to fulfill any requirements that modern distros have for 2D or 3D graphics, sound or display. It definitely lacks the I/O or CPU power that any not-6-years-old laptop might have, but it is very suitable for running a desktop-Linux. Mr. Torvalds prefers Apple Airs, but I didn't want to spend that much money on an used computer.
openSUSE install just keeps on improving. I always back up the old computer and do a fresh install, I sure haven't met a working operating system upgrade ever. During installation, all the settings are there if you need the, but the defaults are very good making the entire process flow smoothly. This time there was a glitch when the Atheros WLAN-chip was not auto-detected during install. I had to manually go configure network devices and add a wireless device. At that point the ath5k driver was detected and I got the box connected to The Net for the rest of the install. No other special things there.
After install the first thing I got was the pommed-package. It makes the Apple-keys work in Linux and is definitely needed. My keyboard layout is Finnish, so I also had to compile keyfuzz to get rid of those useless Apple-keys which are called Meta-keys in Linux. I need my alts, and do the following mappings:
# Map Alt to Meta 458978 125 # Map Meta to Alt 458979 56 # Map Right Meta to Right Alt 458983 100
The final thing to do is to get the iSight-camera working. All it requires is the Apple-copyrighted firmware and it is ready to go. What I did, was to restore my previous file from a backup, but if you need to get one for yourself, there is ift-package or iSight Firmware Tools. With that you can extract the needed bits from Mac OS X device driver and place the resulting file into your Linux. There already is a Linux kernel-module isight_firmware waiting for the file to appear. As a result a brand new Video4Linux-device should appear and you can test it with MPlayer (that breaks couple of dozen copyrights and you need to get from The Net):
The 12.3 runs clearly much faster than 12.2. I have all the KDE4-desktop effects enabled and 12.2 really couldn't manage the 3D-graphics. 12.3 seems to be able to get more juice out of the Intel's 945 GPU. With all the modern software and latest Linux kernel the open-source -guys are finally getting there (with support from Novell, of course). This is actually a very usable desktop for a geek like me.
openSUSE 12.3 get's my seal-of-approval with a bonus thumbs up.