OpenSUSE 15.2 Leap Getting Started Guide

OpenSUSE remains my favorite Fedora alternative.

If you’re still on the fence about which distro to run, check out my list of the best distros for 2020 or see why the Top Reasons to Use openSUSE. If Tumbleweed is more your speed, there’s a guide for that too.

Get Up to Date

The first step in any fresh install is to update your system. Open a terminal and enter the following command:

sudo zypper refresh && sudo zypper update

After updating, its a good idea to reboot.

Basic Commands

Adding Repos via Terminal

Packman conveniently groups several third party repositories together and is the largest group of third party packages built for openSUSE. Packman can be easily enabled via the Terminal.

sudo zypper addrepo -f http://packman.inode.at/suse/openSUSE_Leap_15.2/ packman

Packman can also be easily removed.

sudo zypper removerepo http://packman.inode.at/suse/openSUSE_Leap_15.2/

Adding Repos via YaST

Packman can also be enabled via the YaST Software Repository Tool. Hit the Super key (aka Windows key) and search for Software Repository. Click on Add. On the next window, choose Community Repositories. Select the preferred repos from there. I would recommend choosing Packman and Libdvdcss to enable movie DVD playback. YaST will prompt to import keys for each repo. Click Trust and carry on.

Multimedia Codecs

Only free and open codecs are installed in OpenSUSE by default. YaST has a convenient 1 Click Installer to enable the proper repositories and install the necessary codecs for multimedia playback. YaST One Click Installers only work with Firefox. To ensure the packages install correctly, always select with Vendor Change.

Codecs can also be installed with the command line. First, add the necessary repos. If you’ve already added Packman there’s no need to do so again.

sudo zypper addrepo -f http://packman.inode.at/suse/openSUSE_Leap_15.2/ packman
sudo zypper addrepo -f http://opensuse-guide.org/repo/openSUSE_Leap_15.2/ dvd

Once the repos are added, install the codecs.

sudo zypper install --allow-vendor-change ffmpeg-3 lame gstreamer-plugins-bad gstreamer-plugins-ugly gstreamer-plugins-ugly-orig-addon gstreamer-plugins-libav libavdevice58 libdvdcss2 vlc-codecs

Finally, ensure the packages are coming from Packman.

sudo zypper dup --allow-vendor-change --from http://packman.inode.at/suse/openSUSE_Leap_15.2/

Graphics Drivers

While there is a 1 Click for this, I don’t recommend it. If you know you have an Nvidia card, use the Terminal. Add the Nvidia repo first.

sudo zypper addrepo -f https://download.nvidia.com/opensuse/leap/15.2 nvidia

Then use the following command to install the driver. It should install the correct one automatically.

sudo zypper install-new-recommends --repo https://download.nvidia.com/opensuse/leap/15.2

AMD and Intel graphics are well supported in Linux. The included drivers should work well.

Install Apps via Terminal or 1 Click

Most of these applications can be found in the Software Center but, frankly, this is just easier. So copy and Ctrl+Shift+V right into the Terminal. OpenSUSE is also awesome for the 1 Click Install system. Hit the 1 Click links and watch YaST do the rest.

Use caution with 1 Click. Stick with default repos whenever possible. It’s very easy to add extra unnecessary repos when using 1 Click. Those extra repos can add up, slow down updates, and cause problems due to version differences. If in doubt, use the terminal.

Gnome Tweak Tool makes it easy to modify the system. 1 Click

sudo zypper in gnome-tweak-tool 

VLC is a popular media player. 1 Click

sudo zypper in vlc 

Multimedia Codecs

sudo zypper in libdvdcss2 libxine2-codecs libxine2-pulse lame gstreamer-0_10-plugins-ffmpeg gstreamer-0_10-plugins-bad gstreamer-0_10-plugins-ugly gstreamer-0_10-plugins-ugly-orig-addon totem-browser-plugin gstreamer-0_10-plugins-good libxine2 libdvdplay0 libdvdread4 libdvdnav4 libmad0 libavutil51 sox libxvidcore4 xvidcore libavcodec52 libavdevice52 libvlc5 totem-plugins nautilus-totem lsb pullin-flash-player vlc-codecs gstreamer-0_10-fluendo-mp3 gstreamer-0_10-plugins-fluendo_mpegdemux gstreamer-0_10-plugins-fluendo_mpegmux gstreamer-0_10-plugins-base gstreamer-0_10-plugins-good-extra libquicktime0 gstreamer-0_10-plugins-bad-orig-addon

Archive tools

sudo zypper in rar unrar p7zip tar bzip gzip

GIMP. 1 Click

sudo zypper in gimp 

QBittorrent – Bittorrent client. 1 Click

sudo zypper in qbittorrent 

Audacity – audio editor. 1 Click

sudo zypper in audacity 

YouTube production program. Not available in official repos but can be downloaded from the community. 1 Click

GParted – partition management utility. 1 Click

sudo zypper in gparted 

Chromium or Chrome. 1 Click

zypper addrepo https://download.opensuse.org/repositories/network:chromium/openSUSE_Leap_15.2/network:chromium.repo
zypper refresh
zypper install chromium

OR if you want to install full blown Google-ized Chrome. If you want to install a different version, change the package from -stable to -beta or -unstable.

sudo zypper ar http://dl.google.com/linux/chrome/rpm/stable/x86_64 Google-Chrome
wget https://dl.google.com/linux/linux_signing_key.pub
sudo rpm --import linux_signing_key.pub
sudo zypper ref -f
sudo zypper in google-chrome-stable

Non Repo Software 

AppImageLauncher is an AppImage management utility. It makes it easier to track which AppImages have been installed on your system, helps to integrate them, and allows the user to easily remove them. It is available for download as an AppImage, DEB, RPM, and Tarball.

Bitwarden is an open source password manager akin to LastPass or 1Pass. It integrates nicely on Android and has autofill ability. It syncs passwords across Android, Linux, ,iOS, OS X, and Windows. Bitwarden can be installed through AppImage, DEB, RPM, and Snap. DEB and RPM packages do not auto update. CLI Tools are available along with browser extensions for most browsers.

Simplenote is a free note taking app developed by Automattic (the WordPress people). Simplenote syncs across virtually everything and supports AppImage, DEB, and RPM. Part of the appeal of Simplenote is markdown support but the other cool thing is WordPress support. Simplenote can be tied to a WordPress account for easy WordPress posting.

Standard Notes is a lot like Simplenote. Its free. Its open source. Its crazy cross platform. If the Automattic/Wordpress relationship makes you uncomfortable or maybe you just don’t need it, try Standard Notes instead. Standard Notes has one big advantage over Simplenote: extensions. Yes, the extensions do cost but they effectively turn Standard Notes into a mini office suite with support for markdown, rich text, LaTeX, and HTML to backup support for Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive.

Try a secure email service like Protonmail or Tutanota. Or even Msgsafe. Gmail, Outlook, and other free email services offer tons of storage. In exchange, they mine your data to show you ads. Secure email services encrypt your data so they are unable to read it. Tutanota offers a free AppImage desktop client while Protonmail enables IMAP with a paid plan.

Gnome Extensions

OpenSUSE is the KDE distro. I don’t dispute that for one moment. I like Gnome though. So being a Gnome guy, I have to throw some extensions in here. I don’t recommend using many Gnome Extensions. They allow easy customization of the desktop but more than a couple may hurt system performance.

GSConnect works with the KDE Connect app on Android. Before I go any further: Do not install KDE Connect on your Gnome system. It will interfere with GSConnect. GSConnect is the Gnome implementation of KDE Connect. The Android app works with both. Similarly, do not attempt Gnome extensions on KDE. They won’t work.

GS Connect

That said, GSConnect allows notification syncing so that your phone calls, messages, and app notifications will all appear on your desktop. Phone battery life is also displayed. It goes beyond just notifications though.

GS COnnect Messaging

Text messages can be responded to or even started from the desktop. It also opens up file transfers between devices. While I like Google Messages for RCS and web access, it doesn’t compare to the features GSConnect offers.

My other pick is Dash to Dock. Gnome’s default dock is just meh. Dash to Dock opens up more settings options like how to handle clicking on icons (minimize, preview, cycle), theme, size, and so forth.

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