OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE Leap 15.3 Getting Started Guide

The latest release of openSUSE Leap 15.3 brings the stability of SUSE Linux Enterprise to the community distro.

Unlike Fedora’s move to Gnome 40, this update to Leap is less drastic and far less exciting. Many packages are on the same version and even KDE Plasma has been held back to 5.18. Despite that, this distro is made for reliability.

Get Up to Date

The first step in any fresh install is to update your system. Open a terminal and enter the following command: Okay. Normally I would tell you to update your system and get all the fresh shiny packages you can. Don’t. Seriously. There is currently a bug that’s causing issues with package updates. Running an update may cause packages to disappear. So wait a little and check back here. When its safe to update, I’ll post an update.

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. The openSUSE contains excellent guides for adding additional repos beyond Packman.

zypper addrepo -f http://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/packman/suse/openSUSE_Leap_15.3/ packman

Adding adding Packman, its essential to switch packages to the Packman repo.

sudo zypper dup --from packman --allow-vendor-change

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://ftp.gwdg.de/pub/linux/misc/packman/suse/openSUSE_Leap_15.3/ packman

sudo zypper addrepo -f http://opensuse-guide.org/repo/openSUSE_Leap_15.3/ dvd

Once the repos are added, update the sources and install the codecs.

sudo zypper refresh

sudo zypper dist-upgrade --from packman --allow-vendor-change

sudo zypper install --from packman ffmpeg gstreamer-plugins-{good,bad,ugly,libav} libavcodec-full vlc-codecs

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/15.3 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/15.3

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 

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_15.3/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.

Conclusion

Leap 15.3 is another solid, stable release from the openSUSE team that brings it more inline with SUSE Linux Enterprise.

Do you have any personal tweaks or favorite programs for openSUSE?

Updates

Updated June 10, 2021 for changes to Packman repositories. Cleaned up codec installation process. Recommended against package updates until a bug is resolved.

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  • Michael

    Good article, thanks! I just flattened my Leap 15.2 laptop and did a full install from the 15.3 iso. I wanted to change partition sizes and lose the encryption I’d used for 15.2.

    I’m hoping the merging of the SLE binaries with Leap doesn’t lead to Leap going to a pay to play arrangement. I’ve been using SuSE for a long time, since the Novell days, at the least.

    Cheers!

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